Raiders

Carr's youth, track record rare treat for Gruden

Carr's youth, track record rare treat for Gruden

Jon Gruden coached four seasons during his first stint for the Silver and Black. He never started a quarterback under 30 years old.

Rich Gannon was the man from 1999-2001. Jeff George, Donald Hollas and Wade Wilson got Gruden through 1998, before Gannon signed as a free agent and experienced a career renaissance working with the offensive mastermind.

Gruden enters a different quarterback situation this time around. The former and, as of Saturday night, current Raiders head coach will work with 26-year old Derek Carr, entering his prime and the second year of a five-year, $125 million contract.

Gruden has had options looking for an ideal return to coaching. The 10-year, $100 million contract and assumed personnel influence/control surely went a long way, but Carr was also an attraction to this new gig.

The two-time Pro Bowler, a legitimate MVP candidate in 2016, regressed some last season. Gruden and offensive coordinator Greg Olson will have to get him back on track.

Even with Carr’s struggles last season, Gruden hasn’t had a quarterback with an attractive mix of youth, arm talent, past production and experience.

Gruden’s glory days in Oakland and Tampa were spent with Gannon and Brad Johnson respectively. Both guys were in their mid-30s. Jeff Garcia was in his late 30s when he and Gruden won a division title over a pair of 9-7 seasons in Tampa.

Gruden started nine quarterbacks in Tampa Bay, never able to find stability at that important position.

Gruden drafted two quarterbacks in Tampa Bay. Chris Simms was a second-round pick in 2003, and Bruce Gradkowski was a sixth-rounder in 2006. Simms was the only quarterback drafted high enough to carry great expectations being developed under Gruden, but he dealt with significant injuries and some lackluster performance throughout his time with Gruden, though he helped win a division title in 2005.

Ultimately, Gruden struggled to find quarterback stability outside Gannon, Johnson and Garcia. He’ll have that with Carr heading into 2018.

Let’s take a look at quarterbacks who started under Gruden in Oakland and Tampa Bay:

OAKLAND (1998-2001)
Rich Gannon
Starts:
48
Seasons with Gruden: 1999-2001
Age: 34-36

Jeff George
Starts:
7
Seasons with Gruden: 1998
Age: 31

Donald Hollas
Starts:
6
Seasons with Gruden: 1998
Age: 31

Wade Wilson
Starts:
3
Seasons with Gruden: 1998
Age: 39

TAMPA BAY (2002-2008)
Brad Johnson
Starts:
33
Seasons with Gruden: 2002-04
Age: 34-36

Jeff Garcia
Starts:
24
Seasons with Gruden: 2007-08
Age: 37-38

Brian Griese
Starts:
21
Seasons with Gruden: 2004-05; 2008
Age: 29-30; 33

Chris Simms
Starts:
15
Seasons with Gruden: 2003-06
Age: 23-26

Bruce Gradkowski
Starts:
11
Seasons with Gruden: 2006-07
Age: 23-24

Luke McCown
Starts:
3
Seasons with Gruden: 2007-08
Age: 26-27

Tim Rattay
Starts:
2
Seasons with Gruden: 2006
Age: 29

Rob Johnson
Starts:
2
Seasons with Gruden: 2002
Age: 29

Shaun King
Starts:
1
Seasons with Gruden: 2002-03
Age: 25-26

Raiders 2018 schedule released: Analysis and predictions

Raiders 2018 schedule released: Analysis and predictions

WEEK 1
Monday, Sept. 10 vs. Los Angeles Rams, 7:20 p.m.

Jon Gruden goes head-to-head against protégé Sean McVay in primetime, in the season opener and on a Monday Night Football telecast Gruden was on for nine seasons. That's must-see TV. 

Prediction: L.

WEEK 2
Sunday, Sept. 16, at Denver, 1:25 p.m.

The Broncos might be the AFC West’s worst team. The Raiders have to make hay a mile up, a chore made easier with an early-season game. They avoid snow this year. 

Prediction: W.

WEEK 3
Sunday, Sept. 23, at Miami, 10:00 a.m.

The Raiders beat the Dolphins in Florida last year. It’s hard to say Miami’s much better than they were a year ago. This road win’s attainable, even in the first of four morning kickoffs.

Prediction: W.

WEEK 4
Sunday, Sept. 30, vs. Cleveland, 1:05 p.m.

The Browns should be better, but that remains a game you’ve got to win. Hue Jackson’s return to Oakland adds intrigue to these proceedings.

Prediction: W.

WEEK 5
Sunday, Oct. 7, at L.A. Chargers, 1:05 p.m.

The Raiders will have a huge home-field advantage in Carson, as they do each time they play the Chargers in Southern California. That should help against a formidable opponent that has had trouble staying healthy in recent years.

Prediction: L.

WEEK 6
Sunday, Oct. 14, vs. Seattle (at London’s Tottenham Stadium), 10:00 a.m.
The Raiders won’t make their combine their London trip with an East Coast game to make things easier from a travel perspective. Gruden doesn’t want to be away from home that long. How the Raiders handle a long flight to the United Kingdom will go a long way in determining a victor.

Prediction: W.

WEEK 7
BYE

WEEK 8
Sunday, Oct. 28, vs. Indianapolis, 1:05 p.m.

The Colts still stink, even if Andrew Luck is back healthy and throwing for this one. These are games (especially at home) the Raiders have to win.

Prediction: W.

WEEK 9
Thursday, Nov. 1, at 49ers, 5:20 p.m.
A Thursday night game offers plenty of time to get primed in the parking lot. It also guarantees a traffic mess heading into Levi’s Stadium. What could possibly go wrong? This should be a good matchup on the field, with two young quarterbacks leading the charge.

Prediction: L.

WEEK 10
Sunday, Nov. 11, vs. Los Angeles Chargers, 1:05 p.m.

The Raiders have lost two of their last three home games to the Chargers. They have to handle business at home, even against a talented squad led by Philip Rivers and Joey Bosa.

Prediction: W.

WEEK 11
Sunday, Nov. 18, at Arizona, 1:05 p.m.

The Cardinals are mired in a rebuilding mode, well behind the Raiders at this stage.

Prediction: W.

WEEK 12
Sunday, Nov. 25, at Baltimore, 10:00 a.m.

Michael Crabtree will be supremely motivated for this one, after the Raiders essentially exchanged him for Jordy Nelson. He’s pretty dangerous in those situations.

Prediction: L.

WEEK 13
Sunday, Dec. 2, vs. Kansas City, 1:05 p.m.

The Chiefs will be a great litmus test, to see if the Raiders can handle big-play threats better than they have in recent seasons.

Prediction: L.

WEEK 14
Sunday, Dec. 9, vs. Pittsburgh, 5:20 p.m.

The Raiders defense better be ready to go against Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and the Steelers scoring machine in the Oakland Coliseum slate’s best matchup. To make matters better, this one's in primetime, on Sunday night. 

Prediction: L.

WEEK 15
Sunday, Dec. 16, at Cincinnati, 10:00 a.m.

Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther will go up against the team he helped run recently. Guenther should be an expert on stopping Andy Dalton and the Bengals offense. That will help the Raiders here. 

Prediction: W.

WEEK 16
Monday, Dec. 24, vs. Denver, 5:15 p.m.

Marquette King’s coming back to Oakland. He’s looking forward to this one. So is Bruce Irvin. All this plays out on Monday Night Football, the Raiders' fourth primetime game and third at Oakland Coliseum. 

Prediction: W.

WEEK 17
Sunday, Dec. 30,at Kansas City, 10:00 a.m.

Arrowhead Stadium has been a house of horrors for the Raiders in recent seasons. Jack Del Rio could never figure how to play well there. Can Jon Gruden buck that trend?

Prediction: L.

An early quarterback run will help Raiders in this NFL Draft

An early quarterback run will help Raiders in this NFL Draft

This NFL Draft should be interesting at the top. Quarterbacks should dominate early proceedings, with teams ready to select as many as four passers in the top 10.

That would suit the Raiders just fine. Derek Carr’s their franchise quarterback. They don’t need another one.

Many other teams do, meaning Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen could all be taken quickly.

“That will really reshape the draft, particularly if there's a run on quarterbacks very, very early in the draft like many of us expect,” NFL Network analyst and former Raiders cornerback Bucky Brooks said in a conference call. “…I think the fascination for me will be what do teams do to put themselves in a position to get a quarterback, what blue chip players find themselves in a bit of a free-fall because these quarterbacks come off the board.”

The Raiders obviously aren’t considering a quarterback at the top. They’ll likely get one of, if not the best players at his position falling farther than they would in a normal year.

We’ve gone over possible selections at No. 10 overall. If you missed it, check it out here.

Quality abounds in that group, with top players at key positions of need. That includes linebacker, defensive tackle and defensive back (and maybe edge rusher) at that spot.

While having four quarterbacks go before the Raiders picks shoves top players down to No. 10, leaving one on the market would make that selection incredibly valuable.

The Raiders could offer that pick to a quarterback starved team willing to trade up to get their passer of the present and future. We’ve outlined candidates for the Raiders should they trade down in the first round, and carry on with extra selections.

The Raiders have 11 as it stands, with one pick in the first four rounds, two in the fifth, four in the sixth and another in the seventh. That’s plenty to package and trade up to land a coveted player in this draft.

The Raiders aim to get the most value from the No. 10 pick, either with an elite draft prospect or the bounty that comes from trading it. One catch: The 49ers could be thinking the same thing at No. 9, a spot earned with a tiebreaking coin flip at the NFL Scouting Combine. They also have similar needs, though they aren’t exactly the same, but should deter the Raiders too much from getting the player or trade they covet.

That’s due to the top-flight quarterbacks they have no intention of drafting.