Updated: Jun 28, 2018
Jon Gruden's multi-million dollar contract with the Oakland Raiders this off-season has undoubtedly ignited the fan base in the Bay area. The Super Bowl winning coach spent 10 years away from the field, hosting "Gruden's Camp" a introspective football education show on ESPN, and working as commentary for Monday Night Football for several preceding seasons. With tensions mounting out west, what will Gruden do to appease a underachieving 2017 Oakland Raiders team?
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If no one has noticed, the Oakland Raiders plummeted in 2017 after a 12-4 2016 season. Hindered by the injuries of QB Derek Carr and a questionable secondary, the Raiders sought a new head coach and several free agent acquisitions to help bring light to a very capable Raiders team. A goodbye to WR Michael Crabtree was countered with the welcoming of WR Martavious Bryant, Jody Nelson, and the return of youthful great WR Amari Cooper. With Jared Cook at TE and HB Marshawn Lynch in the backfield, the Raiders seem sizable. The question isn't however whether they can dictate the game with quality offensive strategy, it's whether they can actually halt the imposing offense with solid defense.
While Khalil Mack waits for a new contract, Raider strength LB Bruce Irvin and accompanying veterans work tediously to condition themselves in the hot conditions of Summer California. Oakland added LB Tahir Whitehead to the mix this off-season which will help bring resound in the run defense and short pass defense situations. On the back end however, deep passes will be met with the inadequate,improved, or mediocrity ofSMarcus Gilchrist, S Leon Hall, S Karl Joseph and more. Adding veterans to this team was a great idea, especially considering the AFC offensive onslaughts the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers are projected to have next season. With the rubber hits the road this fall the Raiders will look to regain their prestige at the top of the AFC West. If Gruden and company can answer some defensive question marks, they'll be able to do just that.