Oakland Raiders Took A Black Eye With Jack Del Rio, Jon Gruden Situation [Opinion]

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The Oakland Raiders fired coach Jack Del Rio after the team finished the season with a dismal 6-10 record. As shocking as that was, the rumors surrounding the hiring of Jon Gruden according to ESPN just proves that the Raiders are looking backward instead of forward. The firing of Del Rio makes no sense at all. For the fans of the Oakland Raiders, it was perceived that the team was heading in the right direction in terms of on the field play and the moves of the front office.

When Del Rio took over the Raiders, they were just coming off a 3-13 season. What’s more is that they were a young bunch just learning the ropes. What the Raiders needed was guidance and that’s why the front office hired Del Rio. The very next season, the Raiders would go on to finish the year with a 7-9 record as talk of a possible playoff berth for 2016 began.

With the Raiders offense now locked and loaded and Del Rio’s personality adapted by the defense, the Raiders would go on to win the AFC West and qualify for the playoffs for the first time in 13 years with a 12-4 record in 2016. It was clear, the transformation was complete in just two seasons and at the helm leading the way was Jack Del Rio. Nevermind the successes of Derek Carr or Amari Cooper, it was their coach who believed in them, fought for them, and showed them how to be winners.

As the Raiders entered the 2017 season, they were poised to get back to where they were before Carr went down in 2016. But the team just couldn’t find their footing and the once bright future turned black. However, one slip is no reason to fire the coach who rebuilt the franchise. With reports that Jon Gruden wants to get back to coaching, the brass of the Raiders may have sweetened the deal by offering a small ownership stake in the team. But why?

Is this how the Raiders want to be remembered by Oakland fans? What type of messages does that send to this young team moving forward? Like hey, you can have an All-Pro year, but the minute you drop a pass or fumble the ball, you’re gone. The majority of this team has known no one other than Del Rio and now with the possibility of Gruden coming in, this could easily become a Tony Dungy and Tampa Bay Buccaneers situation all over again.

Gruden is an offensive guru, however, the offense is not the real issue with the Raiders. It’s been the defense that has been the weakness of the team the last two seasons. But still, firing Del Rio because Gruden wishes to come back may backfire. You just don’t snatch away a team’s leader because of one slippage. Building a franchise from where the Raiders were takes more than two years and to be honest, that’s all that Del Rio was given.

I mean, if Hue Jackson still has a job with the Cleveland Browns after winning just one game in two seasons, how is Del Rio gone with his 26-23 record in three seasons? It just doesn’t make sense. But hey, this is how the Raiders dug themselves into such a deep hole the past 14 years.

If they’re looking for the past to return, then Gruden is their guy. He’s the team’s most successful coach since they moved to Oakland with a 38-26 record. However, those teams were led by veteran players such as Rich Gannon, Tim Brown, and Charles Woodson. It’s a new age in the NFL and the Oakland Raiders are too busy thinking of the past.