Friday, November 06, 2009

The Real Deal on Gruden

Jerry MacDonald had a very interesting blog post tonight detailing the Gruden saga and the unlikely conditions of his return.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the key to turning this team around is:

"The newly hired Head Coach and GM need to have the authority on all football matters"

When push came to shove, the reason that Gruden left after the 2001 season is that the original contract that had been agreed upon earlier in the preliminary stages of negotiation had been stripped of the 2 key provisions:

(1) the authority to pick his own 53 players
(2) the authority to pick his own coaches

Gruden bailing on Oakland and heading for Tampa Bay had nothing to do with a bad working relationship with Davis nor was it caused by Gruden's interest in being closer to family in Florida.

In essence it boiled down to a Head Coach who had won 2 straight divisional titles wanting to have control over the players he coached and the staff he worked with.

In order for the Raiders to attract and hire a proven, capable Head Coach candidate, a few critical elements need to be in place. A new Head Coach needs a GM on board to act as an important buffer and partner when dealing with Davis. The Head Coach needs to know that if he is going to be the cook, he should be allowed to pick the ingredients to the team members that fit his system. This imaginary Head Coach also needs to be paid fair market value.

Doling out $5M+ for a Head Coach & GM and giving authority to allow them to do their jobs is a very small price to pay to restore the franchise's luster. The alternative is an unproven Head Coach who is struggling mightily, a vacant GM slot, and more double digit loss seasons. Doesn't seem like a very difficult choice unless you factor in Davis' ego and the constantly dysfunctional management that currently permeates the building.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

go to

6:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are always at least two sides to any story, the real question isn't what really happened. Since there have never been any daggers thrown publicly, as opposed to other seperations (e.g. Kiffin), we should assume that the seperation is not irreconciliable. The real question is can the two come together. You have Davis desperate to have a winner as his legacy comes to an end, you have a franchise that has a good deal of talent that lacks leadership, some dicipline and a fire and you have a former coach who won with the franchise in its heyday, that seems to miss the competition and want to demonstrate that it was a bad move to fire him (and B. Allen) and who likely thinks he needs to get on the right page with players (see Jeff Garcia's comments on Gruden). You have the best and most loyal fan base so distraught that games are only 2/3 sold. You have Cable, an excellent line coach, unable to keep the team fired up each week to win, but with tremendous team support and one who kicked Gruden's butt on the road in Tampa to knock them out of the playoffs. The reason that this deal could happen, unlike what Jerry Mac says, is simple economics. Bring back Gruden and you will sell out the stadium. This alone as well as the extra television exposure and sales of Raider gear easily pays for Gruden and B. Allen's salary. This is not the problem. This deal will turn on the pride of both Al Davis and J. Gruden. Will each of them admit that they were better off with the other here. We all know that Al values loyalty and pride, but we all know that Al wants to "just win, baby." If both sides could somehow be brought together, there is a possibility. This is the kind of bold stroke by Al that would unite the Nation.

Gene Y.

7:53 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Gene Y -

Yes, there are always 2 sides to a story. However, I don't doubt the veracity of Jerry MacDonald's account one bit. He is a first class journalist with no axe to grind. This isn't speculation but his first hand account.

As MacDonald states:

"The only way Gruden comes back is if Davis grants him control of the 53-man roster as well as complete control of the coaching staff AND
Davis pays Gruden what he’d receive from owners with deeper pockets on the open market."

What this really boils down to is control and ego. If Davis willingly gives up some control and puts his ego in check, then there is a reasonable chance for a breakthrough.

It was a deal breaker the 1st time around with Gruden and is a major roadblock for his return.

The part that annoys me is that in my mind, Gruden earned the right to have more say in the personnel, coaches, and a substantial pay raise.

11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the record, Gruden didn't leave Oakland, he was traded.

4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice summary Jerry's article it preferable to read your blog when its fresh material.

Gruden was a great coach and brought discpline, strategy and success to the Raiders. When he was here Davis picked most of the players---Romo, Sam Adams, Rice, Wheatley---Gruden picked two good ones Garner and Gannon.

Gruden went to Tampa and won with Dungy's team. Then though he continued to be a good coach and get the most out of the bucs he basically left the team decimated of talent, the D grew old, he never developed a QB though he built some what of a good o-line thru the draft.

There are very few guys who can be both coach and GM in the NFL. Bellicheck and Parcells come to mind maybe and its a big maybe Holmgren. Guys lke Cowher and Gruden are great great coachs.

Gruden would be great but not likely to come I say Jim Harbaugh would work

Van MAn

4:53 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

For the record, I believe the ideal situation is to hire a GM first and allow the newly hired GM to be directly involved in selecting the Head Coach.

The GM & Head Coach would work in partnership in rebuilding the roster to fit the Head Coach's system, scheme, etc. The GM & Head Coach would have authority on all football operations and matters.

I also believe it is critical for a Head Coach to be able to use a GM as a buffer between himself and the owner.

It is relatively meaningless to hire a good coach (like Harbaugh) if he doesn't have authority to hire his own staff and have some control over the personnel.

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pure conjecture, but it fits your opinion based article.

Gruden had been waffling on an extension that was on the table and when his conservative play calling bit us in the tuck game, Davis yanked it off the table. Davis was pissed at his playcalling and flirting with other jobs.

Those are the facts as i know them, but feel free to embelish and rewrite to suit your paranoid Al Davis fantasy, the rest of the media does.


9:56 AM  
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