Raiders

Raiders appreciate Jon Gruden's coaching style, expletives included

Raiders appreciate Jon Gruden's coaching style, expletives included

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 Tuesday 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 backup quarterback 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!’ ” the Raiders' starting QB 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 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,” he said 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.”

Gruden's players don’t have a problem with it. He’s a fiery 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, [it] 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 always were 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 -- Ive had some certain coaches in my life, especially in college, that were the same way, so I’ve been used to that for sure.”

[RELATED: Why Jacobs hasn't been seen on 'Hard Knocks']

Tyrell Williams, who signed with the Raiders in free agency, 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.”

Raiders report card: Grades on offense, defense in 34-14 loss to Vikings

Raiders report card: Grades on offense, defense in 34-14 loss to Vikings

MINNEAPOLIS – Positives for the Raiders were tough to spot after the Vikings dismantled Oakland 34-14 at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Jon Gruden's squad was down three scores after three Vikings series, and results barely got better from there. The Raiders struggled in all three phases of the game, exposing some real weaknesses and showing they aren’t currently on par with an upper-echelon NFL team.

This loss wasn’t due to poor preparation or a litany of major mistakes. The Raiders just got beat -- they were out-executed by a superior team.

Let’s take a look at the Raiders report card from this loss to the Vikings:

Rushing offense

It’s tough to run a ton when you’re down so big so fast. Josh Jacobs only had 10 carries in this one, without much production beyond an 18-yard run. The offensive line had a rough time against Minnesota’s defensive front, with few clean holes to work through.

The Silver and Black had 88 yards on 20 carries, but the backs couldn’t make a significant contribution in this game. Jacobs needed to be a real factor to win this contest, and a negative game script took him out of it.

Grade: C

Passing offense

Derek Carr’s passing line isn’t half bad. He completed 27 of 34 passes for 242, two touchdowns, a pick and a 103.7 passer rating. That doesn’t look bad, but it also doesn’t reflect the passing game’s struggles. They weren’t able to work the ball downfield, with most of Carr’s passes thrown five yards or fewer in the air.

Tyrell Williams wasn’t a real factor. Darren Waller played well as the primary target, but the Raiders couldn’t protect Carr well – Kolton Miller had a rough game – and couldn’t generate the explosive plays required to make a comeback attempt.

Grade: D

Rushing defense

The Raiders' run defense walked into Sunday’s game with heads held high. They left with tails between their legs after Dalvin Cook ran wild for 110 yards and a touchdown on just 16 carries. The Vikings churned out 211 yards on 38 carries, and never even passed in the fourth quarter. That’s how dominant the run game was throughout this game, which leaves the defensive front to do some soul searching heading into Week 4.

Grade: F

Passing defense

Kirk Cousins didn’t have to do much to win this game, with Cook running strong and the Raiders unable to score points. The pass rush was non-existent, with Cousins hit just three times and never sacked. Adam Thielen had 55 yards and a touchdown, making safety Curtis Riley look bad on one big play. Free safety is a real issue for this team, and it might require a personnel change.

Grade: C-minus

[RELATED: Raiders defense preaches accountability after ugly loss

Special teams

The Raiders never started a drive beyond their own 25-yard line, and lost the battle for field position. Former Viking Daniel Carlson was booed relentlessly in his first trip back to Minnesota, and it seemed to rattle him on a 51-yard attempt that hit the upright. Dwayne Harris is sorely missed in the kicking game.

Grade: D-minus

Overall

The Raiders just got beat, plain and simple. It was tough to excuse, showing real weaknesses that may crop up against quality competition down the line. There’s plenty to fix but it has to happen fast. A prolonged losing streak could send the season down the drain shortly after it started.

Grade: F

Raiders defense preaches accountability after terrible Week 3 showing

Raiders defense preaches accountability after terrible Week 3 showing

MINNEAPOLIS – The Raiders entered Sunday’s game in Minnesota as the NFL’s fifth-ranked run defense. They’re going to fall far down the list after coming face-to-face with Dalvin Cook.

The explosive running back had 116 yards and a touchdown on just 10 carries, the featured piece of a Vikings attack that churned out 211 yards on the ground. The Vikings were so comfortable with a massive lead and an efficient run game that they didn't attempt a pass in the fourth quarter of a 34-14 blowout win at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Raiders only forced two punts. They never took the ball away and couldn’t sack Kirk Cousins.

Defensive leaders took the performance personally. They weren’t downtrodden after a rough showing. They were pissed, and vowed to take immediate action to fix it.

Even if it means some uncomfortable conversations are on the way. Some guys may get called on the carpet this week, with everyone being held accountable for their play.

“It has to be addressed,” defensive end Josh Mauro said. “If it’s uncomfortable, it doesn’t matter because sometimes change is going to be hard. There are a lot of guys who have a lot of pride and put in a lot of work, so feeling comfortable losing like that is unacceptable.”

Mauro and linebacker Tahir Whitehead huddled up after the disappointing loss and discussed that very fact, that this type of performance simply won’t stand. The Raiders believe they’re far better than they showed on Sunday, and won’t tolerate a repeat of what happened here.

“This is something you can’t just move on from,” Whitehead said. “It’s a long road ahead. If we don’t get this corrected, then it is going to be a long season. We need to hold each other accountable and make sure nobody is comfortable after this loss because there is a lot of things that need to be fixed.”

The Raiders weren’t good during a 4-12 season where losing was all too common. Expectations are heightened with an influx of talent through the draft and free agency, and giving up 34 points while getting beat on execution (and a few costly penalties) won’t be tolerated.

“We experienced a long season last year,” Whitehead said. “I am not trying to go through the same thing, and many others on this team will say the same thing. The only way you fix it is by digging deeper. You can’t start pointing fingers because it is a long season. We need to start coming together even tighter, especially being on the road the next few weeks.”

This is the first of five games played away from Oakland. They face Indianapolis next week and head to London immediately for a home game against Chicago. Then comes a bye week followed by game at Green Bay and then Houston.

They’ll go 0-5 during this season-defining stretch if the defense repeats this performance. The veterans understand more is required to get back in the win column.

“Guys are just trying to do too much,” Whitehead said. “This creates gaps in the defense and that’s when big plays happen. We have to get back to the drawing board and make those corrections to move forward. You can’t go out there and keep making the same mistakes over and over again. In this league, you can’t win games when you allow big plays. We need to make sure we are just doing our job.”

[RELATED: Derek Carr believes Raiders' recent offensive woes won't persist long]

Coaches can demand more and hold feet to the fire, but the message also needs to come from inside the locker room.

“It starts with the players,” Mauro said. “The good teams are able to hold each other accountable. We are going to come back and execute a lot better next week.”