Raiders’ Jon Gruden says watching Atlanta film was like pulling teeth


Jon Gruden was sitting in his home office for his weekly teleconference Monday, banished from the Raiders practice facility under the latest NFL coronavirus protocols.

Gruden looked comfortable enough, with game ball mementos on a shelf in the background as well as helmets from the Raiders and the University of Dayton where he went to college. He appeared at ease, probably because a number of Raiders including running back Josh Jacobs could be good to go for their Week 13 road game against the New York Jets.

Still, watching game film of the Raiders’ 43-6 road loss Sunday to the Atlanta Falcons, however, made Gruden feel as if he’d just left the oral surgeon.

“When you go to the dentist and have to have your teeth pulled out? It’s pretty much like that,” Gruden said.

But Gruden watched anyway, and recited a litany of mistakes that led to the biggest loss in terms of point spread since he returned to the Raiders.

“Fourth-and-1, we had the ball, we go for it, we get rejected, Gruden said.  Next possession, first down, going to take a shot with an aggressive play-action protection. Sack, strip, fumble. Right before the half we’re going in for points. Sack, strip, fumble. Early in the third quarter, great field position, interception for a touchdown.”

Gruden was just getting warmed up.

“We force a kicker to miss a field goal, we rough the kicker, they end up getting seven on that,” Gruden said. “There wasn’t anything pleasant about watching the tape, but as a coach, you have to take responsibility for what you can control and we’re going to try and make the proper corrections.”

The good news is a number of players could be back on the field this week in preparation for the Jets, most notably Jacobs. The Raiders leading rusher had 27 yards on seven carries before leaving with an ankle injury.

“Josh is being evaluated with our training staff now for an ankle sprain,” Gruden said. “I talked to Josh earlier this morning. He’s confident that he’s going to be able to play. I don’t think he was 100 percent yesterday. He tried to fight through it.”

Others who could return this week include slot corner Lamarcus Joyner, defensive end Clelin Ferrell, running back Jalen Richard  and practice squad running back Theo Riddick. Joyner and Riddick are on the COVID-19 reserve list and could come off it for practice Wednesday. Richard was cleared to play but came up ill in Atlanta and had to be scratched.

Trent Brown could come off the COVID-19 list and practice Wednesday, although it’s unlikely he would face the Jets.

“I don’t believe he’ll be playing in this game,” Gruden said. “But just to get him back out there is a big lift for our team.”

Cornerback Damon Arnette, who took some friendly fire in the helmet from teammate Cory Littleton and then was removed by an official after appearing unsteady following a tackle, is in the concussion protocol.

“All signs are very good. We hope to have him available this week,” Gruden said. “But he’s got to pass the proper steps with our training staff and we’re confident he’s going to be OK.”

Raiders cornerback Damon Arnette is assisted by a member of the training staff after taking a blow to the head. AP Photo

Were the Raiders flat?

Quarterback Derek Carr thought the Raiders were flat during the week of practice. Said it more than once in the Sunday postgame. Safety Johnathan Abrams said he agreed about being flat in the game, but also said he though the practices were clean as far as assignments and execution. Wide receiver Hunter Renfrow said he thought the practices were fine, and deferred to Carr’s experience.

If the Raiders were going through the motions last week, Gruden said he didn’t notice.

“I felt our guys have been preparing as hard as they can,” Gruden said. “I can’t speak for anybody . . . I don’t think we lost th game yesterday because they were more prepared. We lost the game for some obvious reasons and we’ve got to correct them today.”

The Denver dilemma

Seeing the Broncos lose all three quarterbacks for their 31-3 loss to New Orleans has opened eyes throughout the league, including the Raiders. The Raiders will consider taking measures that further distance the quarterbacks from each other to prevent a calamity at the most important position on the field.

“(G.M.) Mike Mayock and I are discussing the possibility of rearranging how we meet as a quarterback group,” Gruden said. “It’s hard right now because this is the ultimate team game and you do like to have some face-to-face conversations with your players and coaches, but right now we’ve got to rethink things given what happened yesterday. Maybe we should think outside the box.”


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