Jay Gruden

D.J. Swearinger ready to bring immediate aid to Raiders' ailing secondary

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D.J. Swearinger ready to bring immediate aid to Raiders' ailing secondary

Yes, the Raiders are 5-4. Yes, the playoffs are a realistic possibility.

But issues abound in Oakland.

Jon Gruden's gritty club has fought through a rash of injuries, a five-game road trip, the suspension of Vontaze Burfict and Antonio Brown's decision to go AWOL to be in the thick of the playoff hunt in November. But the Silver and Black's secondary is running on emergency power after Karl Joseph suffered a season-ending injury on the final play of the Raiders' Week 10 win over the Chargers.

With Joseph out for the season, that means the Raiders are missing both of their starting safeties -- Johnathan Abram has been out since Week 1 -- as well as their starting middle linebacker and two defensive ends. Gruden is trying to patch the defense together as the Raiders prepare for a playoff run.

D.J. Swearinger is the latest member of the duct tape brigade. The Raiders signed the veteran safety Saturday, and hope he can slide in immediately and give them some relief in the backend. 

It's hard for players to come in cold off the street and learn a new system, but Swearinger played in a similar scheme in Arizona, so he isn't worried about the learning curve. 

"It's not a new system for me because Arizona ran the exact same system," Swearinger said Monday. "Just got to get the different terminology, which is sort of the similar terminology in Arizona --- almost identical -- with a few coverages so it's not a hard transition for me. I'm going to fit right in, do my studying and make it happen."

Swearinger played in four games for the Cardinals this season before being released. The 28-year-old veteran safety has played for four teams prior to the Raiders, including two stints with the Cardinals, notching 14 interceptions and 40 passes defensed in his seven-year NFL career.

He's versatile, experienced and likes to hit. Most of all he's hungry and ready to seize the moment, both for himself and the Raiders.

"It's a great opportunity, man," Swearinger said. "I'm happy to be here. Happy to be with a coach like coach Gruden. I know what he means to football, know what he brings to the table. I'm excited to be here, they are doing some great stuff here. I'm ready to add whatever I can to help this team win and win a championship."

With both their starting safeties done for the season, the Raiders are in the unfortunate position of having to rely on a guy that's been in the building for only couple days. Swearinger has the talent, and the Raiders need him to be at his best right away.

"I like Swearinger," Gruden said Monday. "He played for my brother in Washington. I was a broadcaster at one point, I spent a lot of time in South Carolina with my friend [Steve] Spurrier, so I know a little bit about Swearinger. I think he's a good player, he just has to put it all together. That's what he needs to do. He's got to start that process today. We need the very best of Swearinger."

[RELATED: Ferrell arrives with statement game in Raiders' TNF win]

He's spent the last month waiting for an opportunity, viewing this tough Raiders team from afar.

"They got grit and it starts with the head coach," Swearinger said of his new team. "I love the head coach, I've always loved coach Gruden. From way back in college, from him doing Monday nights. I know what he brings to football and I know playing for a coach like that we're going to bring it every time we step on the field. He expects that. The guys in the locker room ... there are some young guys but they are talented and they want to go to work and you can help but come in and get with the coach."

The Raiders will face an 0-9 Bengals team Sunday in Week 11, a vertically challenged team that should present limited problems for a new safety getting his feet wet in silver and black. Swearinger prides himself on being a physical safety with underrated cover skills. He's tough, emotional and hard working.

Gruden and the Raiders need all of that to translate into winning football in the backend of the Raiders' secondary. The playoffs might depend on it.

Raiders' Jon Gruden disappointed brother Jay Gruden fired in Washington

Raiders' Jon Gruden disappointed brother Jay Gruden fired in Washington

ALAMEDA – Raiders head coach Jon Gruden obviously was disappointed that his brother Jay Gruden was fired Monday as Washington’s head coach.

That action came after Washington fell to 0-5 on the season following Sunday’s loss to New England.

Jay Gruden formally was fired on Monday, but reportedly knew the action was coming on Sunday night.

Jay and Jon Gruden are close, and talked about him getting let go in Washington.

“I’m obviously very disappointed for my brother,” Jon Gruden said in a Tuesday press conference. “It’s been a long night the last couple of nights. He’s worked hard. I have a lot of respect for my brother, obviously, and am disappointed for him getting fired. But my dad’s been fired, I’ve been fired, Jay’s been fired.

"Welcome to the club, bro.”

Having Jon Gruden running the Raiders has led many to assume that Jay Gruden will join the Silver and Black as an offensive assistant coach in some capacity in this season or the next. Jay Gruden could join the staff right away and then re-evaluate options next year. Brother Jon didn’t rule it out, nor did he intimate that was a consideration.

“I’m not going to speculate about it,” Jon Gruden said.

[RELATED: Raiders GM Mayock loved Zay Jones during pre-draft process]

Jay Gruden has been on Jon's staff before, from 2002-08 as an offensive assistant.

Jay Gruden told the Washington Post he wasn’t angry over the decision.

"I'm not bitter," Jay Gruden told The Washington Post. "This is a production-based business, and I didn't get it done."

Jay Gruden fired by Redskins after 0-5 start; could he join Raiders?

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Jay Gruden fired by Redskins after 0-5 start; could he join Raiders?

The writing had been on the wall for some time, but Dan Snyder finally pulled the trigger Monday morning.

Washington's owner fired head coach Jay Gruden after the Redskins put up another lifeless performance in a 33-7 loss to the New England Patriots to fall to 0-5 on the year.

Jay Gruden, like all head coaches in the Snyder era, had little success in his five-plus seasons in Washington, accumulating a 35-49-1 record and making the playoffs just one time.

While Jay Gruden's tenure as head coach was a dud, it's fair to suggest he might not be unemployed for much longer and could head West.

Jay's brother, Jon Gruden, and the Raiders have gotten off to a surprising 3-2 start, weathering early-season adversity and remaking their offense on the fly in the wake to the departure of Antonio Brown. The Silver and Black have a Week 6 bye, which might be an easy opportunity for Jon to give Jay a spot on his staff with an eye toward elevating him to a higher role in 2020 when the team moves to Las Vegas.

It has been speculated that Jay Gruden could become the offensive coordinator at some point, which likely would shift current-OC Greg Olson to quarterbacks coach.

Of course, in Oakland, Jon Gruden writes the game script, calls the plays and does just about everything else, so bringing in his brother wouldn't necessarily alter the dynamic that much with the Raiders. The integration, should it happen, could be relatively seamless. Now, is it necessary? No, but you know what they say about blood and water.

Joining the Silver and Black could be an intriguing option for Jay Gruden, but he could take some time to see if any other openings pop up that would give him more control as a play-caller. He also could see if any team has an interest in hiring him as head coach since the NFL loves nothing more than to trot out failed head coaching retreads.

[RELATED: Raiders earn respect with 'statement wins' over Colts, Bears]

After losing starting quarterback Alex Smith to a devastating injury last season, Jay Gruden had little chance of succeeding this season and keeping his job.

Owner Dan Snyder elected to intervene in the 2019 NFL Draft and select quarterback Dwayne Haskins with the No. 15 overall pick, but the Ohio State product only has seen the field for half of one game, highlighting the  disconnect between what Jay Gruden wanted to do at the quarterback position and what the front office and ownership deemed necessary. 

Either way, Jay Gruden now finds himself looking for another job. Don't be surprised if that job is in the Bay.