Oakland Raiders  


Jon Gruden's scouting system led to divide in Raiders' building


Raiders coach Jon Gruden broke down film a certain way when he was preparing for games in the Monday Night Football booth. That method has not changed now that he's back coaching.

But the manner in which he evaluates personnel -- and the people who have his ear -- has led to a disconnect in a Raiders building filled with people still trying to adjust to a new way of life.

According to sources, Gruden essentially has his own staff that helps him judge talent and make decisions -- most notably confidant and Director of Football Research Dave Razzano -- along with a slew of interns and assistants.

Gruden had his own draft board and has his own pro board, separate from those used by others in the organization.

Previously a longtime and respected NFL scout, Razzano rose to prominence as a voice on Twitter with controversial takes that included Von Miller will be a bust and Jake Locker should go No. 1 in the draft. He was dubbed the "rogue scout," but now has an office near Gruden's.

And while there is no animosity with GM Reggie McKenzie -- quite the opposite -- it's clear to many of the scouts who signed on to work for McKenzie that Gruden is listening mostly to those in his circle.

Certain scouts and evaluators weened under McKenzie are frustrated that Gruden has his guys, who make up a group that spearheaded the signing of several veteran free agents, the jettisoning of many previous draft picks and the trade of Khalil Mack.

Some of the setup may be logistics, people to expedite the way Gruden watches cut-ups with a busy schedule. But none in that circle are "Reggie McKenzie's guys."

Some have suggested Gruden may start over after the season with personnel, but there is nothing to back that up now, as the coach seems pleased with this setup.

It's really a question of will McKenzie seek other options after (as our Jim Trotter has reported) turning down a chance to interview for other GM jobs last offseason.

The factions do come together for meetings and everyone is eventually heard. But several people say they are frustrated at not being listened to, adding that they've never seen a divided setup quite like this one.

In Gruden's return to football, his approach has often raised eyebrows. His approach to evaluation is the latest example.

Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter @RapSheet.



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