The Jon Gruden-Derek Carr coupling enters a pivotal Year 4 as the Las Vegas Raiders seek to get over the hump finally. It's a relationship that has been through ups and downs but has grown tighter through the battle.
Joining The NFL Rhodes Show with Lindsay Rhodes recently, Raiders general manager Mike Mayock said the QB-coach dynamic is like watching a married couple.
"They're definitely on the same page. Derek is even finishing Jon's sentences now," Mayock said, via the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "It's like a corny marriage. It's really funny."
It's not the first time we've heard this offseason how tight the bond between Carr and Gruden has grown. New Raiders running back Kenyan Drake gushed about the mind-meld between the quarterback and the coach, calling the innate connection "kind of crazy."
During Gruden's initial run as an NFL head coach with the Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he was well known as a fickle supporter when it came to his quarterbacks. The coach cycled through signal-callers, chasing the next ideal. So when he joined the Raiders for this second stint, the assumption was that the relationship with Carr couldn't last.
Heading into Year 4, however, all indications from within the building are that it's as strong as it's been since Day 1.
Mayock noted that Carr's ability to tackle anything Gruden throws at him has helped keep the relationship fresh.
"I don't know if Derek has a photographic memory or not, but his memory is mind-boggling," Mayock said. "Jon puts a lot on his plate and he handles it seamlessly. The two seasons I've been here, he's gotten better each year. I'm excited to see where he can take this thing."
The biggest determiner as to whether the Gruden-Carr relationship ultimately has staying power will be the 2021 win-loss record. If the Raiders win big in a tough AFC West this season, the partnership might have lasting power. However, another season missing out on the playoffs, the coach will surely feel the heat from fans who expected a much quicker turnaround than five years. At that point, Gruden might feel the need to move on from a "corny marriage" to one that might earn him more victories.