The Raiders reported for training camp on Tuesday and that means we have our first press conference from Jon Gruden.
The team’s head coach fielded a number of questions, but his thoughts on second-year cornerback Damon Arnette might have been the most surprising. Here is what he had to say regarding the former Ohio State star and his role going forward with the team via Levi Damien of Raiders Wire:
“Well we drafted Arnette in the first round. He was our opening day starter, so he’s a big part of us moving forward. He had the virus, he had an injury to his thumb, he also had concussion injuries, so he was an incomplete performer for us last year, but he’s as good a corner as we have talent-wise on this team. We think he and Trayvon Mullen and Casey Hayward, some of the other people that are in the mix now give us depth, competition, and some interesting matchups. So, I’m fired up about the secondary.”
As Gruden mentioned, the Raiders signed veteran cornerback Casey Hayward to compete with Arnette this season for a starting job. And after a rough rookie season, that appears to be a smart move as Arnette did not fare well during his first season in the NFL.
Still, Gruden remains optimistic that Arnette can turn his career around in Las Vegas. It’s clear that the team believes he is going to be a big part of their defensive turnaround this season and after spending a first-round pick on him in 2020, they hope that he can be a starting cornerback for the foreseeable future.
Entering the 2021 season, it’s a pivotal year for Arnette as he needs to excel during camp to keep his starting job. Jon Gruden is convinced that it will happen. We shall see if Arnette can live up to his head coach’s expectations over the next few weeks.