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.