Jon Gruden isn’t fond of rules limiting contact with players in offseason

Getty Images

Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is already back in a routine of working from sun up to sun down in trying to get re-acclimated to the franchise he led from 1998-2001.

However, Gruden isn’t thrilled with the reality of the NFL under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement that significantly restricts access to the players during the offseason. In an interview with Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group, Gruden made it clear he isn’t a fan of the changes to the contact rules put in place since the last time he was an NFL head coach.

You’re not allowed to be with your players,” he said. “Some genius thought that would be great, that we’re not even allowed to talk to our players. So that’s been a big challenge.

“You’re not allowed to do anything. You’re not allowed to coach your players. I’ve called several players, introduced myself. I think that’s legal. I’m not having contact with everybody. … We’re not allowed to have any real contact. It’s pretty clear on what the rules are.”

The rules of the CBA implemented under the new agreement in 2011 significantly limited the amount of contact players could have with coaches throughout the offseason and cut back on the number, and type, of workouts teams can engage in.

Gruden believes the players themselves want to work more than they’re currently allowed to with their teams. He also laments that the rules don’t allow him to start building relationships with the players he’s going to be coaching this fall.

“I hate it, personally,” he said. “When I was out of coaching, I had players come and visit me to help them with getting their football fix. A lot of these guys want to work. A lot of these guys are dying to work. And a lot of these men have hired independent coaches to help them work. But the big thing is, I just want to start having relationships with these guys, learn what makes them tick. What motivates them. How they learn. The only way you can learn is by being with people but there’s some geniuses out there that have put together this formula and we’re going to certainly abide by the rules.”

Since Gruden is a new head coach, he will be allowed to begin offseason workouts ahead of teams that have kept their head coach in place from last season. However, it’s still not going to be as much of a head start as Gruden would prefer in acclimating to being the Raiders head coach once again.

35 responses to “Jon Gruden isn’t fond of rules limiting contact with players in offseason

  1. psstt. Jon.

    The “geniuses out there that have put together this formula” were the players. This is what the players wanted: less contact, “voluntary” everything, no 2-a-days, limited contact in practice. Oh, you haven’t held a practice yet, have you? Yeah, you’re going to LOVE those rules.

  2. It’s a rough job, Jon. These men kill themselves from spring training until January. This rule is to prevent you from micromanaging this suffering for 12 months instead of only 6-7. The less you do the better, Del Rio already coached them up for you.

  3. I can see both sides to this. Obviously coaches want to be able to do more offseason stuff to prep for the upcoming season (as do many players according to gruden). But without a line in the sand, will some coaches take it too far, limiting players’ ability to recover from a long and brutal season?

  4. The men who played this game years ago didnt need these stupid “no contact” rules, and many of them actually had to have another job during the off-season in order to pay the bills. I agree with Gruden. This is typical “modern day America” nonsense.
    Lombardi is spinning in his grave.

  5. I admit up front I am not a Jon Gruden fan. Record speaks for itself. Outside of taking Dungy’s team to the SB, which I do not give him credit for, his .540 record is hardly impressive. But he also just….talks. It’s all he does. And maybe he should have just stayed in the booth with that. He knew the rules coming into the league; I don’t need to hear his opinion on them. Get involved in the next CBA then if you don’t like it. The rules affect everyone, not just the Raiders, so if there’s a shoddier product on the field because of it (and there probably is) it’s shoddier everywhere – unless a good coach has figured out how to coach around it, and some have. Stop whining.

  6. That’s why the players association set it up that way. You can call things optional or voluntary, but player have non-guarantee contracts and could be cut if they don’t show up. There is plenty of time for coaches to coach the players…

  7. Anyone with a brain larger than a pea has figured out some of the detrimental effects of the last CBA. Contact workouts are at a minimum and injuries are at a maximum this year.Then we can add, a decided lack of fundamentals displayed on the field. Players do not know how to block and tackle, discipline is decidedly lacking, as is displayed by flags being thrown every other play. This is ridiculous and destroys the product on the field.

  8. arwiv says: “The men who played this game years ago didnt need these stupid “no contact” rules, and many of them actually had to have another job during the off-season in order to pay the bills. I agree with Gruden. This is typical “modern day America” nonsense.”
    ———————

    “This game years ago”, all the players came into camp way out of shape. “This game years ago” the playbook was only maybe 30-40 pages deep. “This game years ago”, the average offensive linemen was 6’1″ and 235lbs.

    The modern day players are all in prime shape 365 days a year, remember a 700 page playbook, and the average linemen are 6’5″, 310lbs running an average 5.35 at the combine.

    Lombardi could only dream of having players so physicially talented and football smart.

  9. Gonna be a whole lot of things about the CBA that you won’t like Jon. It will interesting to see if you can adapt or if the game has past you by.

  10. The players are bigger and faster than ever before, they’re also softer than ever and more entitled than ever.

  11. Same reason why most people don’t want their employer calling them on non work days–it’s called being off. It is unlikely that the players union which represents the players would specifically negotiate such a rule if players did not support.

  12. reddzen says:
    February 15, 2018 at 8:09 am
    I admit up front I am not a Jon Gruden fan. Record speaks for itself. Outside of taking Dungy’s team to the SB, which I do not give him credit for, his .540 record is hardly impressive. But he also just….talks. It’s all he does. And maybe he should have just stayed in the booth with that. He knew the rules coming into the league; I don’t need to hear his opinion on them. Get involved in the next CBA then if you don’t like it. The rules affect everyone, not just the Raiders, so if there’s a shoddier product on the field because of it (and there probably is) it’s shoddier everywhere – unless a good coach has figured out how to coach around it, and some have. Stop whining.
    ******************************************************************************************

    Fact: Sapp, Brooks, and Lynch were on the team before Dungy got there.
    Fact: Gruden gave the Bucs an offense, something that Dungy could never do. Did Dungy wina SB in his first year as the Colts coach? Nope.
    Fact: Callahan took Gruden’s team to a Super Bowl, which they certainly would have won if Gruden wasn’t on the other sideline.

    I’d be willing to bet dollars to donuts that if Gruden was coaching the Raiders and Dungy was still coaching the Bucs in that SB that the Raiders would have mopped the floor with them. Actually, there was no way Dungy was taking that team to any Super Bowls. So overrated.

  13. I get the reduced wear and tear on players, but reduced contact makes no sense. No other profession in the world has that luxury. They are still football players all year round despite the off season if they are under contract with a team.

  14. tollisonsmith says:
    February 15, 2018 at 10:25 am
    Same reason why most people don’t want their employer calling them on non work days–it’s called being off. It is unlikely that the players union which represents the players would specifically negotiate such a rule if players did not support.

    ————

    So guys that make 10x an average CEO salary get to have their summer off without their boss being able to contact them? Does that make any sense?

    Why do they deserve that luxury?

  15. cookerduff123 says:
    February 15, 2018 at 7:13 am
    I can see both sides to this. Obviously coaches want to be able to do more offseason stuff to prep for the upcoming season (as do many players according to gruden). But without a line in the sand, will some coaches take it too far, limiting players’ ability to recover from a long and brutal season?

    ———–

    Speaking to a player though? How does that limit recovery?

  16. arwiv says:
    February 15, 2018 at 7:38 am
    The men who played this game years ago didnt need these stupid “no contact” rules, and many of them actually had to have another job during the off-season in order to pay the bills. I agree with Gruden. This is typical “modern day America” nonsense.
    Lombardi is spinning in his grave.

    ____________________

    Everyone off this guy’s lawn!

  17. reddzen says:
    February 15, 2018 at 8:09 am
    I admit up front I am not a Jon Gruden fan. Record speaks for itself. Outside of taking Dungy’s team to the SB, which I do not give him credit for, his .540 record is hardly impressive.
    ——————-

    Gotta stop you right there. If you consider that “Dungy’s team”, then you have to also consider that Super Bowl Raiders team “Gruden’s team”. So either way, Gruden got a team to the big game. Secondly, Dungy was basically Marvin Lewis back then. Couldn’t win in the playoffs. Lastly, Dungy didn’t even build that Bucs team. It was Sam Wyche that drafted Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks and John Lynch…the 3 biggest pieces on the defense.

  18. akira554 says:
    February 15, 2018 at 8:31 am
    arwiv says: “The men who played this game years ago didnt need these stupid “no contact” rules, and many of them actually had to have another job during the off-season in order to pay the bills. I agree with Gruden. This is typical “modern day America” nonsense.”
    ———————

    “This game years ago”, all the players came into camp way out of shape. “This game years ago” the playbook was only maybe 30-40 pages deep. “This game years ago”, the average offensive linemen was 6’1″ and 235lbs.

    The modern day players are all in prime shape 365 days a year, remember a 700 page playbook, and the average linemen are 6’5″, 310lbs running an average 5.35 at the combine.

    Lombardi could only dream of having players so physicially talented and football smart.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Some of your points are downright comical. There have been examples of poor physical shape in both eras but back then the training camp could fix that. Recently we have had a few RBs and a QB literally eat their way out of the league. Granted, the average size of the NFL player has increased but your assertion they are smarter today is absurd. They might have more plays to choose from but don’t act like they know them all. In almost every game you hear stuff like the receiver ran the wrong route or they just weren’t on the same page. Today’s athlete is much more focused on personal brand individual statistics than team accomplishments and that limits the team’s ability and highlights the few teams that manage to navigate the season without those distractions.

  19. I agree there has to be a line, but is it in the right spot? I get it they cant have ‘voluntary’ anything. But to just call and say “Hi, I an your new ciach, I just wanted to meet you and say hello. I am looking forward to working with you. Ill see you when things start” should be ok to do.

  20. Great example of unintended consequences IMO – I agree many if not most players appreciate protections in the CBA that keep coaches from monopolizing their off time, but I would imagine if you asked them if they’d like a new head coach to be able to come spend a day with them, maybe take them and their wife out dinner, etc, that wouldn’t seem like such a bad idea.

    tollisonsmith says:
    February 15, 2018 at 10:25 am
    Same reason why most people don’t want their employer calling them on non work days–it’s called being off. It is unlikely that the players union which represents the players would specifically negotiate such a rule if players did not support.

  21. The NFL has changed a lot the last 10 years while Gruden has been sitting in the broadcasting booth. Its why I think they were foolish to give him that 10 year contract, most or all of which is no doubt guaranteed like all HC contracts are.

    If he can’t adapt to the changes then the team will not do well, and they’ll be stuck 3 or 4 years from now with a coach who can’t handle the current league rules or be forced to give him a huge buyout.

  22. The new rules have created a lack of accountability with the players. They are paid like owners, and they act like owners.

    They don’t want to be coached or held to anyone’s standard but their agent’s or their own.

    This is not your father’s NFL.

  23. Gruden is going to have to get players with brains … less time to learn the play book means no dummies allowed.

  24. In 2014, Manning and Gase met with Saban in Alabama during the off-season which is against the rules. Of course, Roger found they did “nothing wrong.” A rule is a rule, but they only pertains to certain teams, and conversely, not to other teams.

    So, go ahead and do what you want. If they can do it without penalty, so can you.

  25. the reduced practices and contact i get because of player injury, but the fact the head coach cant even talk to his players at all or go over a playbook is just dumb. these guys only work half the year as it is for millions.

  26. “Same reason why most people don’t want their employer calling them on non work days–it’s called being off.”

    Unless you work in fast food or some other mindless job, chances are your employer is contacting you on many so called “off days”. That’s the norm with email, text and smartphones, not the other way around.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!