Sportress of Blogitude

Jon Gruden: Raiders will ‘build a championship football team’

Jon Gruden is taking the longview on the Oakland Raiders’ prospects for eventual success by insisting the organization is in the process of building a winner.

The Raiders head coach set forth his optimistic outlook on Thursday night despite just having suffered a demoralizing 34-3 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on national television.

“The Oakland Raiders is a great organization. I know it’s not looking pretty right now,” Gruden said after the embarrassing loss, via Paul Gutierrez of ESPN. “I’ve heard a lot of negativity over the last six or seven months, and rightfully so. But we’re going to build a championship football team here. I know a lot of people as players, as fans, just in general, want to be a part of this.”

It merits noting that Gruden doubled-down in his postgame comments on his claim made earlier this week that players call him all the time and express they are “dying” to join the Raiders organization.

The Raiders’ loss on Thursday night more or less signaled the team hitting rock bottom. Losers of four straight games, Oakland now sits at a woeful 1-7. To say Gruden’s first season back with the Silver and Black has been an unmitigated disaster would be an understatement.

Gruden of course is operating under a 10-year, $100 million contract, one that lured him back into coaching after years in the broadcasting booth. Gruden famously stated over the summer that he doesn’t deserve that kind of money if he does not turn around the Raiders organization, saying, “If I can’t get it done, I’m not going to take their money.”

The Raiders bolstered their draft capital for the 2019 NFL Draft by acquiring three additional first-round picks by trading away superstars Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper. Gruden presumably will have a long leash given his contract, but with a lost season already locked down in 2018, it’s imperative that he doesn’t miss on any of those picks.