NAPA – Jon Gruden used three choice words to describe what he wanted to see heading into the Raiders’ second preseason game.
“Better f---ing execution.”
“Hard Knocks” cameras always are recording, with boom mics overhead to catch the coach’s every word. A senior producer certainly smiled when he heard those words.
That reached HBO’s air during the second episode, along with dozens more curse words during an hour-long show.
Cameras also caught Gruden following up a stern conversation with Nathan Peterman by saying, “I’ve got to stop cussing.”
Derek Carr isn’t holding a breath for that to happen.
“I said, ‘Good luck, man!’” Carr said with a smile. “’I wish you the best.’”
Look, Gruden swears like a sailor. It shows his passion. It’s part of his charm. It’s a regular occurrence on the practice field, where local reporters respect an element of privacy on the practice field by not repeating what’s said.
“Hard Knocks” adheres by no such rules. They’re recording everything and editing it after – with team approval, of course – so there are lots of curse words to choose from.
Gruden doesn’t love seeing them all played back.
“I don’t like hearing all the profanity,” Gruden said on Saturday. “It’s like every time I swear it makes the show. I mean I just love football. I really have a lot of passion for this and I get way carried away sometimes. I apologize, but I’m not as foul mouth as people think. If you think I am, I’m sorry.”
His players don’t have a problem with it. Gruden’s a firey coach, but he cares about details and making sure his players succeed. If you work hard for him, he’ll work hard for you.
“What people don’t get to see enough of maybe, is he treats us like we are his kids, like he loves us dearly,” Carr said. “That guy, when he is getting on us is just because he wants us to be perfect and that’s just how he is. So, it’s fun to watch [‘Hard Knocks’] and I tell those guys, ‘Hey, man.’ I told them before, ‘He’s aggressive, he’s going to be like that and it’s all because he wants you to be the best.’ It has nothing to do with him coming at you or him thinking some type of way about you. It’s only because he wants you to be the best version of yourself.”
Prior to last season, Carr hadn’t worked with Gruden beyond an ESPN “Gruden’s QB Camp” episode, but he was ready for a gruff exterior because he trusted that support and good intentions were always behind it.
“You know how much he cares about you. You know where his heart is,” Carr said. “You just say, ‘Yes sir.’ He’s just trying to make you better, so we never had a problem. I’ve had some head coaches, I won’t throw their names out there. I’ve had some certain coaches in my life, especially in college, that were the same way, so I’ve been used to that for sure.”
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Tyrell Williams hadn’t experienced Gruden’s trademark intensity except for what he viewed on TV.
“Obviously, you see the mic’d up’s and stuff before I started playing for him,” the receiver said. “So, I mean just being around him he’s hilarious and fun to be around so it’s been awesome, just his one-liners and all that stuff is just fun and seeing him on the sidelines in games is comedy, too. It’s been a lot of fun being around him.”