The Raiders were soundly defeated this Sunday, like most Sundays, and in today’s press conference head coach Jon Gruden looked like his team played. He used to get excited about play-action passes to the fullback and pool noodles. Now he’s visorless and haggard as he announces to the assembled press that the 1-5 Raiders have released their 35-year-old captain Derrick Johnson, who was on a one-year contract anyway.
This is a guy who looks like he’s at his wit’s end, until you remember that he’s not even halfway through the first season of a 10-year, $100 million contract:
The Raiders won’t get their asses kicked this weekend, because they have a bye. A selection of Gruden quotes, starting with his thoughts on the Raiders playing like shit:
I’ll say this: We’re not tanking anything. I hear the hatred out there, some of the rumors that we’re tanking it to get a first-round pick, or a higher pick. We’re not getting up at 4 o’clock in the morning to tank it. Ain’t nobody tanking it.
On any decisions he regrets:
Sure, I regret some of them. I got a list of things I regret. I got a list of things. I’m sure you do, too. Unless you’re perfect, I don’t know. I don’t think any of us are perfect. We’re trying. We’re working hard. I’m not gonna never throw the ball on first-and-goal again. All my friends in the league do it.
I haven’t talked to him yet, no. I’m sure I will. I know [defensive coordinator] Paul Guenther did. I heard there was a Twitter report out there. You know, Melvin’s on his seventh team, I think. He’s had different techniques. Maybe he’s confused. I don’t know. I’ll talk to him. But he’s gotta play better. He’s in a competitive situation. Perhaps he’s frustrated, and I can’t blame him.
On the idea that he loves to play veterans over rookies, even if they suck:
I don’t know if there’s three rookie D-linemen or two rookie tackles playing this much on any other of the teams, but physically it’s a challenge. They’re going up against full-grown men, that are in their fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth years. They’re in the trenches and they’re seeing schemes and combination blocks that are difficult to deal with. ... So I think they’re gonna continue to get better. I know they gotta prove that. But I’m excited about the rookie class. I’ve been accused my whole life of hating rookies and liking old players, and now I’m playing, I think, 10 rookies. So what do you say to that, America? [laughs]
On Derek Carr, who was sacked six times in the 27-3 loss:
Derek Carr is sore, but we think he’s gonna be okay.
Physically, maybe, but are you sure?