There’s still time to make a positive impression on his new team and coach, but so far Oakland Raiders wide receiver Martavis Bryant hasn’t impressed Jon Gruden.
In fact, Gruden made a big point of calling out the receiver to “play better” in his Saturday press conference.
“He’s got to get out here and play better,” Gruden said, via the team’s official website. “He’s got to get out here. He’s in a competitive situation, and right now, a lot of the other receivers have had a nice camp.
“He’s just got to learn the offense. He’s got to stay out here. He’s had some illnesses. He’s got to get on the field. He’s got to master the offense and become more versatile, and that’s the key to making this team better.”
The Raiders picked up Bryant in a draft-day trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers this past April in exchange for a third-round pick. For that kind of draft capital, clearly Oakland had high hopes Bryant would become a major player on offense.
Over the course of his career thus far, Bryant certainly showed himself to be capable of making a big impact. He has 126 catches for 1,917 yards and 17 touchdowns in his young career, averaging a 15.2 yards per catch in three seasons.
However, it’s clear that Gruden expects Bryant to be able to do more than just stretch the field if he’s going to be a big-time playmaker for the Raiders in 2018.
“I’m not saying he’s behind,” Gruden said. “I’m saying he’s got to be more versatile. I’m not going to say any more than that. He’s in a competitive situation. Nothing is going to be given to anybody.”
Gruden did finish by saying he’s “confident” that Bryant will figure things out. That being said, the gauntlet has clearly been thrown here. Now it’s time for Bryant to respond.