ALAMEDA – Jon Gruden has been teaching his system to players since April. The Raiders head coach changed his terminology to streamline things a bit but the scheme remains complex, with variables aplenty to take into account.
Gruden keeps adding and installing plays at a time when refinement is typical, to set up the game plan for Monday night’s game against the Los Angeles Rams.
“I think we’re very prepared,” receiver Amari Cooper said. “Usually around this time, you have the whole offense in and you are repeating things in meetings. We’re still adding stuff and we’re staying on high alert and memorizing all these plays.”
Several players said this week they were confident with their ability to understand Gruden’s scheme. That’s most important for the quarterback.
Derek Carr feels locked in. Carr and Gruden are kindred spirits when it comes to work ethic, and both guys dork out over scheme and game planning.
Carr has responded so well to three different schemes and four offensive coordinators in five years. This go-round is different. Gruden is notoriously demanding of quarterbacks, and Carr regularly passes his pop quizzes and practice tests.
Now there are real stakes, with a result on the line against the Rams. Carr is ready for it.
“From the beginning I thought, ‘When we go out there, I want it to look like Coach Gruden and I have been together for 10 years.’ That was my goal,” Carr said. “Hopefully, obviously, there’s going to be bumps because we’re new at this, but hopefully not too many because I do feel 1,000 percent ready to play a game.
“The way that the coaches teach. The way they install. The way we walk through. The way we practice. You can ask any of our players, if they don’t feel ready to play since April, the guys that have been here, then there’s something to worry about. The way we do things, guys should be ready to play.”
The Raiders must be ready to execute at a high level against an explosive Rams offense featuring Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks.
“The year before last, they put up the least amount of points. Last year, they put up the most. It has been a huge shift for them,” Cooper said. “You never know how a game will go. It might be a shootout. We might have to score on every possession. You never know.”
The Raiders believe they’ll hit the ground running offensively. They have solid skill players and a quarterback to make every throw. There is concern at offensive tackle but, if those guys hold up, the Raiders could come out swinging on offense.
“I expect us to be excellent,” Carr said. “I expect them to know what to do. I expect us to do it. Thankfully we have a really talented group and team of not only players but coaches as well. It’s going to be good.”