It was a momentous occasion when head coach Jon Gruden agreed to return home to the Las Vegas Raiders, signing a massive 10-year, $100 million contract that ties him to the organization for the long haul.
Gruden is well-regarded in NFL circles for his hard-nosed brand of football and ability to coach up players, but so far, that has not translated to much on-field success as he has yet to lead the Raiders to a winning record since taking over the sidelines. His first season was disappointing as they finished with a 4-12 record but did improve year to year as they went 7-9 in 2019 and 8-8 in 2020.
Although Las Vegas has steadily gotten better each season, expectations are much higher entering the 2021 season as the roster is markedly improved on both sides of the field. Gruden will now be responsible for putting it all together and getting the most of a Raiders squad that should compete for a postseason position.
Interestingly enough, Gruden is only the fourth head coach in franchise history to make it to a fourth season though he is the only one to have a losing record, according to Warren Sharp of NBC Sports.
in the Raiders storied history, only 4 coaches made it to their 4th season
their records the first 3 seasons:
28-9-5 (75.7%) – John Madden
28-20 (58.3%) – Art Shell
28-20 (58.3%) – John Gruden pt 1
27-21 (56.3%) – Tom Flores
19-29 (39.6%) – John Gruden pt 2
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) June 30, 2021
Although Gruden’s record pales compared to John Madden, Art Shell, and Tom Flores, he came to a Raiders team that was in desperate need of a reset. Gruden and the front office have worked diligently to retool the roster and now have stocked the cupboards with young and exciting talent that should breed some optimism in the Silver and Black faithful.
Despite the losing record, Gruden’s job as head coach has to be safe given the financial commitment, but now is the time to show that he was worth such an investment. Las Vegas appears to be a team on the come-up, and Gruden needs to be the one to steer them in the right direction.
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