I know some fans are confused by the fact that new/old Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden is not at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama this week.
I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t spend another moment worrying about it.
It’s perfectly normal, I promise.
First off, it’s just the Senior Bowl. Coaches don’t have to be there. The Senior Bowl is comprised mostly of mid-round prospects and there are a limited number of players there. The Raiders are represented in Mobile by general manager Reggie McKenzie and a bunch of scouts. That’s all they need. Reggie can handle this.
It’s much more important for Gruden to be doing what he is presumably doing – hunkering down in the office with his new coaching staff. That’s the way Gruden needs to be spending his time on these days.
What’s more important for Gruden this week: Breaking down Derek Carr’s film with offensive coordinator Greg Olson or looking at potential defensive lineman to take in the third round?
Again, Reggie can handle the defensive line prospects in January.
Gruden has to learn about his new players these days and make a plan with his new coaches. He won’t miss Mobile and Mobile won’t miss him. Yes, some head coaches do attend the combine but it’s usually coaches who are looking to fill some posts on their staffs. Gruden’s staff is essentially complete.
Many coaches never worry about the Senior Bowl. Former Denver coach Mike Shanahan never went to Mobile. He sent his scouts and some assistants. Bill Belichick is routinely busy this time of year. Do you think Belichick not going to Mobile has hurt the Patriots?
Again, it’s just the Senior Bowl. Now, the NFL Combine is another animal. Virtually every head coach goes. Gruden went to the Combine in his previous coaching life and I’m sure he will go with basically his entire staff to Indianapolis in about a month.
The combine is different. It’s a week affair and it’s the biggest, most important pre-draft gathering. Chucky will no doubt hit the downtown Indy Hooters (or at least he was known to hang there in the past).
In later February, there will not be anything more important for a new coach to do but being in Indy from the annual prospect cattle call. This week, Gruden has bigger fish to fry than to go fishing for marginal prospects on the Gulf of Mexico.
So, it’s totally cool Gruden is in his lab and not on the Senior Bowl practice field.