When Jon Gruden emerged as the favorite to return to Oakland as coach of the Raiders, a clear concern arose: Will Derek Carr be able to coexist with Chucky?
So far, they aren’t at each other’s throats.
Albert Breer of SI.com reports that Carr has “identified with Gruden’s passion for football,” and Carr is (so far) “enthusiastic about the pushing and prodding he’s gotten from his new coaches.” Of course, it’s one thing for Carr to be pushed and prodded when pressure is low. When the practices become games and when the games begin to count, the pushing could be shoving and the prodding could be sufficiently strong to get a herd of cattle to sprint from Oakland to Las Vegas.
Gruden nevertheless seems to be keenly aware of the practical limits of aggressive coaching, realizing that his style needs to be adapted to the personalities of the players who are being coached. If there’s a concern that Carr could crumble from the kind of barrages Chris Simms routinely faced from Gruden in Tampa, then Gruden will try another way.
Ultimately, Gruden wants to win. And he knows that, in order to win, he needs the best out of his quarterback. If Gruden’s style doesn’t draw that out, it’s on Gruden to come up with a better way.