The Oakland Raiders hired Jon Gruden late last winter with the expectation that he would change the culture within the organization.
At that point, no one figured that Oakland would move on from Pro Bowlers Khalil Mack and Marquette King. Once Mack himself was traded prior to Week 1, it stood to reason that some within the Raiders’ organization were not happy.
Now at 0-2 on the season and facing irrevelance, this one report from NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport notes that there’s a growing rift between Gruden and his front office.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 23, 2018
“The manner in which he (Gruden) evaluates personnel — and the people who have his ear — has led to a disconnect in a Raiders building filled with people still trying to adjust to a new way of life,” Rapoport reported. “Gruden essentially has his own staff that helps him judge talent and make decisions — most notably confidant and Director of Football Research Dave Razzano — along with a slew of interns and assistants.”
Razzano himself gained national attention on Twitter leading up to the 2011 NFL Draft by indicating that Jake Locker should’ve been the No. 1 player off the board and Von Miller would ultimately end up being a bust. Less than a decade later, Locker is out of the league while Miller is well on his way to becoming a Hall of Famer.
Interestingly, Rapoport’s report also notes that there’s no animosity between Gruden and general manager Reggie McKenzie. We can take that with a grain of salt, primarily because McKenzie has to know resistance is futile at this point. Gruden is pretty much the Raiders’ acting GM.
“Certain scouts and evaluators weened under McKenzie are frustrated that Gruden has his guys, who make up a group that spearheaded the signing of several veteran free agents, the jettisoning of many previous draft picks and the trade of Khalil Mack,” Rapoport went on to note.
Oakland is currently 0-2 on the season after a demoralizing road loss to the Denver Broncos last week. Short of coming out on top against an undefeated Dolphins team in South Beach on Sunday, its season will already be lost.
Starting 0-3 in a death knell when it comes to playoff aspirations. And in the end, that could lead to more ugly reports coming from Northern California.