Sunday night, Mark Davis stood up for his coach.
Monday, Jon Gruden ate criticism, which he has richly earned this season. Remember, Gruden is under fire because he’s caused it. His team is 1-8 and perhaps the worst team in the NFL. The roster is subpar, and Gruden has a big role in that. The offense has not taken a step forward under him and that’s on Gruden’s watch as well.
It’s no surprise Davis told ESPN that he stands behind Gruden, and he thinks his head coach is the solution. This is the first of a 10-year, $100 million deal. What else is Davis going to say? He’s created this mess and he’s stuck with it for a while. Hope is all he has.
Monday, it was Gruden’s time to play damage control. The latest what-the-hell-was-that moment came in the fourth quarter Sunday when the Raiders were trying to cut their 14-point deficit with more than four minutes to go. On fourth down and five inside the Chargers’ 30-yard line, beleaguered quarterback Derek Carr, who has not improved under Gruden, drove the ball into the ground because running back Jalen Richard was covered. Carr said after the game it was the only option.
That led to two thoughts – it would have been better to throw it up for grabs to the other four receivers in motion than end the play, and why was that their only option?
Every NFL play-caller will tell you almost every play has, at least, a second option. It has to. That is especially true on fourth down.
So, either Carr wasn’t telling the truth or Gruden called the worst play of all-time.
Gruden jumped on the grenade.
“It was a terrible call by me. It was a design for Jalen Richard against man-to-man coverage. There wasn’t a lot he could have done,” Gruden said Monday. “ He could have been [QB] Fran Tarkenton and done a 360 and reversed the field a few times. There wasn’t much there. You got to credit the play-caller with that outcome.”
Here’s some advice to Davis, Carr and Gruden: Fans are tired of all the empty talk after continued unacceptable performances. It’s time for production, not more hollow talk.