Around the NFL  

 

Jon Gruden: Raiders 'aren't tanking' for top draft pick

Print

A much-needed bye week arrives for the Oakland Raiders, who could use a reset after another disappointing loss.

Jon Gruden's team fell to 1-5 on the season and currently sits in position for the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 draft.

When Oakland traded Khalil Mack before the season it foreboded a season of struggle. A Raiders team with so little thriving talent is already sinking as the autumn winds just begin to bluster.

While some have suggested that Oakland's tanking in order to secure as high a draft pick as possible, Gruden flat-out rejected the idea his team would intentionally lose games.

"I'll say this, we aren't tanking anything," Gruden said Tuesday, via The Associated Press. "I hear the hatred out there, some of the rumors that we are tanking it to get a first-round pick or a higher pick. We are not getting up at 4 o'clock in the morning to tank it. Ain't nobody tanking it. I don't know who wrote that or who said that or who thinks that, but that isn't the case here. We are going to continue to work hard, continue to build our team and that was part of the message."

Maybe he's not doing it on purpose, but his team still loses nearly every game.

The Raiders are floundering mess. The offense (Gruden's forte) can't move the ball. The quarterback barely throws beyond the line of scrimmage. The defense couldn't find an opposing quarterback if it had Google Maps and an hour to get there.

The Raiders have the oldest roster in the NFL. And it's not as if the veteran group is using its savvy knowledge to make plays. Old and slow, as they say, is bad, especially in the NFL.

"We're still looking at the roster. We're looking around the league to find means to get better," Gruden said. "[General manager] Reggie [McKenzie] and I had a long meeting yesterday. I know that's a shock to some people. They don't think we have any meetings. I'm telling you, we're working hard to solidify this roster every day and improve ourselves and get the right people on the field. Those are decisions that we're looking at. We're going to continue to try to develop our young players. We're going to stay on the gas pedal and go as hard as we can."

The Raiders' on-field play isn't the only mess Gruden must clean up over the bye.

Just six games into his return, Gruden is dealing with dissent within the locker room. Cornerback Rashaan Melvin, who the Raiders signed to a one-year contract this offseason, tweeted he's "frustrated and upset" and going back to his playing style -- not the style Oakland's coaches desire.

"I haven't talked to him yet, no. I'm sure I will," Gruden said. "I know [defensive coordinator] Paul Guenther did. I heard there was a Twitter report out there. Melvin is on his seventh team, I think. He's had different techniques. Maybe he's confused, I don't know. I'll talk to him. But he has to play better. He's in a competitive situation. Perhaps he's frustrated, and I can't blame him."

Fans are also frustrated.

Someone started "IsGrudenGoneYet.com."

Nope. Still 9 years, 13 weeks and over one day left. Oh and more than $92 million.

At least things can't get worse, right? Right? Right?

Print