Jon Gruden challenges Marshawn Lynch: ‘We need the real deal’

Oct 1, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch (24) looks on during the second half against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Marshawn Lynch is reportedly a fan of new Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden and apparently, the feeling is mutual. But in no uncertain terms, Gruden made it known that Lynch will need to be better in 2018 than he was in 2017.

Gruden, responding to a comment that Lynch didn’t get into shape until Week 10, stated in no uncertain terms that will not fly in 2018.

“We’re not going to have that,” Gruden said, per S.L. Price of Sports Illustrated  “No. I said to him: ‘I need Marshawn Lynch. I don’t need this part-time Lynch. I need full-time Lynch. … We need the real deal. … If you’re going to put those letters on the back of your jersey, man, you’ve got to back it up, Marshawn—right? We don’t need another back, we need a feature back.”

The numbers definitely do back up that Lynch was better after Oakland’s Week 10 bye. Prior to Week 10, he rushed for 323 yards on 86 carries. After that, despite playing one fewer game, Lynch carried the ball 121 times for 568 yards.

Of course, that was also coming off of a one-year hiatus from the NFL. With Lynch back in the normal swing of things, 2018 certainly should start on a better note.