The last time Jon Gruden was an NFL head coach, league rules allowed a lot more offseason work than the rules allow now. Gruden has a problem with that — and he thinks it’s going to be bad for some of his players, too.
Gruden told PFT Live that since arriving in Oakland he hasn’t even met a lot of his players and won’t meet them for several more weeks because of league rules limiting offseason work. But Gruden said that in some cases, he and the Raiders’ staff are going to have to decide to cut players, without ever giving those players a chance to show their new coaches what they can do.
“We’re not allowed to have any contact with these guys in March, either. Not until April 9,” Gruden said. “And we’ve got to make some very difficult decisions on who we keep, whose contracts we restructure, and we’re making a lot of those decisions without having met these guys. And that’s tough. It’s really disappointing to have to make some tough decisions without having met some of these guys.”
Gruden knows the rules were agreed upon between the owners and the players on the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, but Gruden said he doesn’t think every player agrees with those rules.
“I’ve had players who are dying to work harder,” Gruden said. “They want to play in this league and they want to be great in this league and to do that they need to learn and they need reps.”
Gruden mentioned backup quarterback Connor Cook as an example of the type of player who would get better with more practice time. But under the current rules, with limited practice time, starter Derek Carr will get most of the work, and a young backup like Cook won’t have as many opportunities to get better on the practice field.
Gruden has a point that some young players could benefit from different rules. But the limited calendar was a victory for the players’ union in the last round of labor negotiations and it’s not a victory the union has shown any interest in giving up, no matter how many coaches have a problem with it.