Jon Gruden blasts NFL for Christian Hackenberg’s struggles

By Vincent Frank

Just a couple weeks after acquiring former New York Jets second-round bust Christian Hackenberg in a trade, the Oakland Raiders released the Penn State product.

The decision to release Hackenberg enabled Oakland to keep the seventh-round pick in 2019 that it had sent to New York for the quarterback. It still doesn’t make the release any less puzzling.

In talking about Hackenberg and his short stint in Northern California, first-year Raiders head coach Jon Gruden decided to blame the NFL.

This isn’t fake news. It happened.

“Everybody is an expert out there on Hackenberg and thinks he can’t play,” Gruden said Thursday, via ESPN’s Mike Sando. “It’s unfortunate, this whole collective (bargaining agreement). How do you develop a quarterback? I don’t know how you do it.”

Gruden is referencing the collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by both the NFL and NFLPA back in 2011. It limits the number of days players can work out with their teams and be in contact with coaches during the offseason.

Even then, it’s a bit of a reach. A second-round pick back in 2016, Hackenberg did not see a single regular season snap with the Jets. This came on a team that threw out the likes of Bryce Petty and Geno Smith under center during that span.

Said collective bargaining agreement also didn’t stop the likes of fellow non first-round picks Derek Carr, Russell Wilson, Kirk Cousins, Colin Kaepernick and Dak Prescott from excelling at an NFL level.

Though, Gruden wasn’t about to hold back after making that absurd statement.

“(Hackenberg) has been working on changing his stroke, his passing motion, and I think he did that,” Gruden said. “We just didn’t have enough reps to take a good look at him. Since we were further along the road with some of our other guys, we didn’t have the space.”

What? Oakland would have lost nothing more than a seventh-round pick by keeping Hackenberg on and seeing what he had to offer during the preseason. Instead, it’s going to roll with Connor Cook and EJ Manuel under center behind Carr.

Nice try placing the blame elsewhere, Mr. Gruden.