Jon Gruden

NFL: No Other Violations Found In Emails

The NFL’s recent email scandal will end with Jon Gruden, according to a league source who spoke with Barry Wilner of the Associated Press. Gruden, of course, resigned on Monday after his emails made national news.

[RELATED: Fallout From Jon Gruden’s Resignation]

The NFL did not identify any problems anywhere near what you saw with Jon Gruden,” said the AP’s source.

Gruden’s missteps were uncovered as a part of the league’s investigation into the Washington Football Team. Independent investigations have reportedly scoured through 650,000 emails in total, leaving many to wonder whether Gruden was just the tip of the iceberg.

Meanwhile, ex-Washington exec Bruce Allen would be subject to further investigation if he tries to return to the league, per the source. Right now, it’s hard to imagine Allen in a front office position, so that’s pretty much a moot point. The emails he received from pal Jeff Pash — the league’s top lawyer — were deemed “appropriate” and “in a different category” from Gruden.

The NFL has no current plans to release the full ~650K batch of emails, despite NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith‘s repeated requests.

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Raiders Notes: Davis, Mayock, Hudson

As a result of Jon Gruden‘s resignation, the Raiders will, of course, have plenty of difficult decisions to make this offseason, including how to fill their head coaching position. As Ian Rapoport of NFL.com writes, owner Mark Davis will assemble a small group of advisors to assist him with his HC search, which should yield a number of high-level candidates. Popular names from recent coaching cycles like Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, Bills DC Leslie Frazier, and Iowa State HC Matt Campbell are just a few of the possibilities.

Davis will also discuss with his advisors whether GM Mike Mayock — who will now have a 51% say in roster decisions — should remain with the club. If Davis is able to lure a sought-after head coach, such a person may not want to partner with a holdover GM, but Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal believes Davis will legitimately consider retaining Mayock (Twitter link).

More out of Las Vegas:

  • We recently explored the topic of how much money remained under Gruden’s contract with the Raiders and if Gruden would be entitled to any of that amount. The assumption was that Gruden and Davis had worked out some sort of severance package, but according to Rapoport, a settlement has not yet been reached. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe confirms that the contract was heavily backloaded, and that Gruden has received less than 30% of the $100MM to which he would have otherwise been entitled.
  • Per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, Davis — who Rapoport says delivered an upbeat, positive message to his club on Wednesday — is nonetheless furious with the league office for what he believes is a hit job. Davis reportedly thinks that the league office was intent on forcing Gruden out, and that it was responsible for the leaked emails to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal that triggered his resignation.
  • Davis’ ire is enflamed by the fact that those emails stemmed from an investigation into a different team (the Washington Football Team) that went back over a decade, an investigation that has not resulted in any punishment for WFT executives or officials. The NFL has denied involved in the NYT and WSJ stories, but Davis is said to be mulling a lawsuit.
  • For what it’s worth, Volin believes the leaked emails were indeed a hit job, but not one ordered by the league office. On Thursday, the NYT and WSJ independently published stories detailing embarrassing emails that the league’s No. 2 exec, attorney Jeff Pash, sent to former WFT president Bruce Allen. While those emails were not as provocative as the ones Gruden sent to Allen, it is unlikely that the league would intentionally shame one of its own top officials. Instead, the leaks might have come from someone connected to the WFT investigation who was unsatisfied with the results.
  • The Raiders saw significant turnover on the O-line this offseason, and as a result of veteran departures, injuries, and poor performance, the unit has been a disappointment in 2021. Former center Rodney Hudson, who was traded to the Cardinals in March, actually requested his release after Gabe Jackson and Trent Brown were traded, as Vic Tafur of The Athletic writes. Ultimately, Vegas — which was apparently shocked by the request — was able to swing a deal with Arizona, but it would probably like to have its Pro Bowl pivot back in the Silver-and-Black.

More Fallout From Jon Gruden’s Resignation

In the wake of Jon Gruden‘s resignation as the Raiders’ head coach, more items related to his departure continue to trickle out. With respect to Gruden’s contract, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes that the ex-HC’s 10-year, $100MM accord might have been backloaded, which means he could have left even more money on the table than initially believed (he was in the fourth year of that 10-year pact). Florio says it’s likely that Gruden and the team agreed upon some sort of severance package, but a fight over Gruden’s considerable unpaid salary could be in the offing if there was no such agreement.

For instance, if Gruden’s resignation was not a voluntary one, he could theoretically file a grievance and argue that he was constructively discharged without cause. If his grievance were successful — a dubious proposition, given that it would probably be heard by commissioner Roger Goodell — he would be entitled to all remaining guaranteed money on his contract. Of course, it has previously been reported that not all $100MM was guaranteed, and between that and the optics and likely outcome of a grievance, it would seem that Florio is correct in his assumption that the contractual matter has already been resolved. But because Raiders owner Mark Davis is believed to be perhaps the most cash-poor owner in the game — though the club’s move to Las Vegas is expected to be a boon for Davis in that regard — the details of a resolution or lack thereof are worth considering.

Meanwhile, Adam H. Beasley of Pro Football Network confirms (via Twitter) that OC Greg Olson will become the team’s offensive play-caller moving forward, and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets that Gruden’s son, Deuce Gruden, will remain Las Vegas’ assistant strength and conditioning coach. We had already learned that special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia will take over the head coaching role on an interim basis.

It appears that, shortly before his resignation, Jon Gruden told his team that he had made a number of disturbing statements. One Raiders player, speaking anonymously, said, “when we met [on Monday] we were moving on to the next game-Denver. This news now is just shocking. At the same time, he told us he said a lot. On one hand I knew it was some foul stuff, on the other hand, we know the man we work with every day” (via veteran NFL reporter Josina Anderson on Twitter).

At this point, it’s difficult to imagine Gruden obtaining another NFL-related position down the road, but if there are enough people who feel like the anonymous Raider, it may be a possibility.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rich Bisaccia Expected To Serve As Raiders Interim HC

With Jon Gruden out in Las Vegas, the Raiders are turning to their special teams coach. Rich Bisaccia is expected to serve as the Raiders interim head coach, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter).

[RELATED: Jon Gruden To Resign As Raiders Head Coach]

Following a college coaching career that spanned almost 20 years, Bisaccia joined the Buccaneers (alongside Gruden) as their special teams coordinator in 2002. He won a Super Bowl during his first season with the organization, and he later took on the role of assistant head coach in 2009 and 2010.

He spent a pair of seasons with the Chargers before a five-year stint as the Cowboys special teams coordinator and assistant head coach. Following Gruden’s hiring by the Raiders in 2018, Bisaccia joined the organization in the same roles.

The 61-year-old doesn’t have any NFL head coaching experience, but he’ll have some experienced assistant coaches that he can rely on. Adam Caplan points out on Twitter that offensive coordinator Greg Olson will be capable of running the offense moving forward. Offensive line coach Tom Cable can also provide some guidance, as he served as the Raiders head coach from 2008 to 2010.

Jon Gruden To Resign As Raiders Head Coach

Jon Gruden has notified his staff that he’ll be resigning as head coach of the Raiders, reports NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). Gruden also met with Mark Davis to inform the owner of his decision (per Pelissero).

The resignation comes in the wake of a weekend Wall Street Journal report that detailed Gruden’s use of a racial trope to describe NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith in old emails. Then tonight, the New York Times published a damning report that cited more emails showcasing the coach’s use of derogatory and offensive language. This included (and was not limited to) crude remarks about commissioner Roger Goodell, gay NFL players, female referees, and Washington cheerleaders. The emails in question were sent to former Washington executive Bruce Allen, and the league was only aware of the emails because of the previous investigation into the Washington Football Team.

That WSJ report was published on Saturday, and despite the negative reaction, Gruden was still allowed to coach during the Raiders loss to the Bears yesterday. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter), the NFL had forwarded the Raiders the emails that were cited in tonight’s NYT article, and the league was waiting for the organization to react. Per Jason La Canfora (on Twitter), the league was ready to step in if the Raiders didn’t punish their head coach.

It’s a remarkable and swift fall for Gruden, who was on the fourth year of a 10-year, $100MM contract he signed with the Raiders in 2018. Gruden wasn’t able to guide the Raiders to the postseason during his three full seasons with the organization, going 19-29 and peaking with an 8-8 season in 2020. The Raiders were 3-2 through the first chunk of the 2021 campaign.

“I have resigned as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders,” Gruden said in a statement (via Vic Tafur of The Athletic on Twitter). “I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”

Gruden got his first head coaching gig in Oakland in 1998, and he was at the helm of two playoff teams during his four-year stint. He joined the Buccaneers via an iconic trade in 2002, and he won a Super Bowl during his first season with the organization. Gruden would ultimately spend seven seasons in Tampa Bay, and he turned to a high-profile TV gig after getting fired by the Bucs in 2009.

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Raiders Notes: Ruggs, Key, Joyner

The Raiders will kick off their regular season on Monday Night Football against the Ravens tomorrow. In the meantime, let’s round up a few recent items on the Silver-and-Black:

  • The 2020 wide receiver draft class was absolutely loaded, and plenty of pundits believed Jerry Jeudy was the cream of the crop. Although no WR had been selected by the time the Raiders were on the board with the No. 12 overall pick, Las Vegas ultimately chose Henry Ruggs over Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb. As Vic Tafur of The Athletic writes, there were Jeudy supporters in the Raiders’ war room, but head coach Jon Gruden wanted his own version of Tyreek Hill, and he saw Ruggs as a player who fit that bill.
  • The Raiders selected DE Arden Key, who was once believed to be a first-round talent, in the third round of the 2018 draft. But the LSU product posted just three sacks in three seasons, and Vegas deemed him surplus to requirements in April. He was quickly scooped up by the 49ers, and he did not mince words when asked about his time with the Raiders. “To be honest, I wanted to get out of there,” Key said (via Jacob Hutchinson of KNBR.com). “I been wanting to get out of there. I wasn’t surprised. I was more happy than surprised. I wish it happened a little earlier but, hey, I got what I wanted and I’m good.” Key went on to say that the Raiders’ defensive scheme was a poor fit for him, and while he did not explicitly say so, it seems he is happy to be away from Gruden.
  • Count Lamarcus Joyner as another ex-Raider who is happy to be away from the club. The Raiders deployed Joyner — who primarily played safety with the Rams before signing a big-money free agent contract with Vegas — as a nickelback over the past several seasons, and he struggled in that role. The Raiders released him in March, and he signed with the Jets 10 days later. Gang Green will deploy him as single-high safety, and he is pleased with how things turned out. “I’m pretty sure the whole world knows that (I’m happy to be away from the Raiders),” he said. “I made that known. I’m so happy it’s over and I’m here with coach [Robert] Saleh right now” (via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com). Joyner was clear that he didn’t have an issue with Gruden personally.

Jon Gruden, Richard Sherman Have Mutual Interest?

Derek Carr had one of the best seasons of his career in 2020, but it didn’t mean much due to the abysmal state of the Raiders’ defense. Things got so bad that Jon Gruden fired defensive coordinator Paul Guenther toward the end of the year, and now he’s looking to completely revamp that side of the ball. It sounds like he’s going to be aggressive in remaking the defense, and that could mean bringing in a big name free agent like Richard Sherman.

Gruden and Sherman were on Cris Collinsworth’s podcast yesterday, and appeared to express a mutual interest in joining forces this offseason.

I’ve been fined, I’ve been punished . . . but Richard Sherman, if you are a free agent, which there is a rumor you are, we are looking for an Alpha presence in our secondary. Somebody that can play this technique . . . If you’re available and interested maybe you and I can get together at some point off air,” Gruden said, via Jerry McDonald of the Mercury News, referencing the league’s tampering rules at the top.

There is a conversation to be had for sure. I’m free and available these days — fortunately and unfortunately. But that scheme that Gus runs, and he runs it more than anybody else, there are some coaches that dabble in, and dabble out, and go man and go zone and go quarters and go there. Gus lives it. Gus lives and dies by it. Eight-man box, you’re not going to be able to run the ball, and we’re going to stop the pass. He’s like one of the Godfathers of it,” Sherman replied.

Sherman was referring to Gus Bradley, recently hired to be Vegas’ new DC. There’s a lot of familiarity there of course, as Bradley coordinated the legendary ‘Legion of Boom’ defenses that Sherman was a part of in Seattle. All fun aside, what Gruden said does appear to be tampering since Sherman is still under contract until next month with the 49ers, and it’ll be interesting to see if the league takes action.

Sherman, 33 in March, was a second-team All-Pro in 2019 but had this past season derailed by a calf injury that limited him to only five games. Still he’s played at a very high level recently, and could be worth a leap of faith for a Raiders team that desperately needs help in the secondary.

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Mark Davis Still Confident In Jon Gruden And Mike Mayock

The Raiders were a big disappointment in 2020, fizzling down the stretch after a hot start. After going 6-3 through the first nine games, they went just 2-5 in the final seven to finish at an even .500. Jon Gruden has now had three years at the helm, and while he hasn’t made the playoffs yet, it doesn’t sound like his job will be in any real jeopardy anytime soon.

Speaking to Ed Graney of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, owner Mark Davis reiterated that he’s confident in Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock. “Absolutely,” Davis replied, when asked if he still thought he had the right leadership combo in place.

In Year 1 with Jon, it was a deconstructive phase where he wanted to get things down to more salary cap control and really start building the team. We made a little progress in Year 2 but obviously not enough. Mike then came in and our drafting and player management (strategy) was a little different. I thought we made some progress there. We were really looking forward to this inaugural season in Las Vegas — our new practice facility and everything else. All the things we dreamed of were coming true.”

Davis went on to say that COVID-19 derailed things, and that “it’s really hard to put any kind of grade on the season, except to say we didn’t get to where we expected to be. But yes, I’m happy with (the leadership).” Davis reportedly gave Gruden a ten-year contract to lure him out of the broadcast booth in 2018, and it sounds like he’s intent on seeing the duration of that deal out.

Gruden’s record isn’t entirely fair to lump all on him, as he’s done a commendable job with the offense, getting Derek Carr to have by far his two most efficient seasons in the NFL the last two years. The defense has been a train-wreck though, which culminated in the firing of defensive coordinator Paul Guenther late in the year.

That DC search will now be critical for 2021, and we’ve heard them linked to Gus Bradley and a couple of other names. As for that search, Davis said “I’m involved in the interviews in a small way, but my philosophy is one thing I know is what I don’t know. And I’m going to let the guys I hired do their jobs. It’s up to Mike and Jon to determine who the person is that they feel will do the best job for the Raiders. I’ll play devil’s advocate with them and question them, but the final decision is their choice.”

Raiders Under Investigation For COVID-19 Protocol Violations

Raiders HC Jon Gruden was one of a handful of head coaches to be slapped with a $100K fine for not consistently wearing his mask during his team’s Week 2 game, and the Raiders themselves were handed a $250K fine for Gruden’s indiscretion. And the league isn’t finished with Las Vegas just yet.

Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reported several days ago that a team was under investigation for “unauthorized locker room access” (Twitter link), and as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com wrote last night, that team is the Raiders. This season, only 40 employees in each organization are allowed to be in the locker room, and an unauthorized Raiders employee allegedly entered the locker room following the team’s win against the Saints on Monday night.

If that allegation turns out to be true, then the league will impose discipline, according to Schefter. It seems likely that such discipline would come in the form of additional fines, but the NFL is apparently willing to go further if necessary.

Indeed, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says coaches who continue to violate COVID-19 protocols will not only face fines several times higher than the $100K penalty doled out this week, they could also face suspension. Even draft pick forfeiture is not out of the question, and to drive that point home, the coaches who received fines also received a letter from the NFL that included the following language: “[f]uture violations of this rule or any other league policy … will result in increased accountability measures for you, individually, as well as your club.”

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says that all coaches who were fined have filed appeals (Twitter link). That includes Gruden, who said, “I’m doing my best. I’m very sensitive about it. … I’m calling plays. I just want to communicate in these situations, and if I get fined, I’ll have to pay the fine. But I’m very sensitive about that and I apologize.” The appeals will be heard this week.

Interestingly, Gruden also indicated that he tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this year. He did not divulge many details on his experience, saying only, “it wasn’t pleasant” (Twitter link via Pelissero).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Longest-Tenured Head Coaches In The NFL

Things move fast in today’s NFL and the old adage of “coaches are hired to be fired” has seemingly never been more true. For the most part, teams change their coaches like they change their underwear. 

A head coach can take his team to the Super Bowl, or win the Super Bowl, or win multiple Super Bowls, but they’re never immune to scrutiny. Just ask Tom Coughlin, who captured his second ring with the Giants after the 2011 season, only to receive his pink slip after the 2015 campaign.

There are also exceptions. Just look at Bill Belichick, who just wrapped up his 20th season at the helm in New England. You’ll also see a few others on this list, but, for the most part, most of today’s NFL head coaches are relatively new to their respective clubs. And, history dictates that many of them will be elsewhere when we check in on this list in 2022.

Over one-third (12) of the NFL’s head coaches have coached no more than one season with their respective teams. Meanwhile, less than half (15) have been with their current clubs for more than three years. It seems like just yesterday that the Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury, right? It sort of was – Kingsbury signed on with the Cardinals in January of 2019. Today, he’s practically a veteran.

Here’s the list of the current head coaches in the NFL, ordered by tenure, along with their respective start dates:

  1. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000
  2. Sean Payton (New Orleans Saints): January 18, 2006
  3. Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers): January 27, 2007
  4. John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens): January 19, 2008
  5. Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks): January 9, 2010
  6. Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs): January 4, 2013
  7. Bill O’Brien (Houston Texans): January 2, 2014
  8. Mike Zimmer (Minnesota Vikings): January 15, 2014
  9. Dan Quinn (Atlanta Falcons): February 2, 2015
  10. Doug Pederson (Philadelphia Eagles): January 18, 2016
  11. Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills): January 11, 2017
  12. Doug Marrone (Jacksonville Jaguars): December 19, 2016 (interim; permanent since 2017)
  13. Anthony Lynn (Los Angeles Chargers): January 12, 2017
  14. Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams): January 12, 2017
  15. Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers): February 6, 2017
  16. Matt Nagy (Chicago Bears): January 7, 2018
  17. Matt Patricia (Detroit Lions): February 5, 2018
  18. Frank Reich (Indianapolis Colts): February 11, 2018
  19. Jon Gruden (Las Vegas Raiders): January 6, 2018
  20. Mike Vrabel (Tennessee Titans): January 20, 2018
  21. Kliff Kingsbury (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2019
  22. Zac Taylor (Cincinnati Bengals): February 4, 2019
  23. Vic Fangio (Denver Broncos): January 10, 2019
  24. Matt LaFleur (Green Bay Packers): January 8, 2019
  25. Brian Flores (Miami Dolphins): February 4, 2019
  26. Adam Gase (New York Jets): January 11, 2019
  27. Bruce Arians (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): January 8, 2019
  28. Ron Rivera (Washington Redskins): January 1, 2020
  29. Matt Rhule (Carolina Panthers): January 7, 2020
  30. Mike McCarthy (Dallas Cowboys): January 7, 2020
  31. Joe Judge (New York Giants): January 8, 2020
  32. Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland Browns): January 13, 2020

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