With a 1-5 record, the Oakland Raiders looks as if they are not gunning for a successful season. Head coach Jon Gruden, though, insists they aren’t tanking.
In an article posted by The Athletic, the column implied that the Oakland Raiders were tanking away their season in preparation of their move to Las Vegas.
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden wasn’t pleased with that implication, but their play on the field perhaps supports the article. The Raiders record at the moment is 1-5 and they currently aren’t in contention for the playoffs. Gruden insists that his Raiders team works hard, and tanking was not and is not in the team plans for the foreseeable future.
“I’ll say this, we aren’t tanking anything,” Gruden said Tuesday. “I hear the hatred out there, some of the rumors that we are tanking it to get a first-round pick or a higher pick. We are not getting up at 4 o’clock in the morning to tank it. Ain’t nobody tanking it. I don’t know who wrote that or who said that or who thinks that, but that isn’t the case here. We are going to continue to work hard, continue to build our team and that was part of the message.
While Gruden is saying all of the right things, his actions leading up to this season paint a different picture. His handling of the Khalil Mack situation severely damaged the team’s hopes for Super Bowl contention. It didn’t help that relationship between him and his star defensive player was icy before Mack was traded: Gruden never reached out to Mack personally, which perhaps implied that Gruden wasn’t interested in building a future with Mack.
And with reports that the team is actively shopping wide receiver Amari Cooper, it’s hard for Gruden to stand on his own two and convince the general public the Raiders aren’t tanking for the future. An overhaul in a matter of months of the team’s two best players doesn’t scream building toward contention. Maybe it’s just best if Gruden stopped explaining himself, and just tell the truth.