Raiders coach Jon Gruden has made no secret of his distaste for the league’s collectively bargained rules governing offseason work and he went back to the well on Thursday while discussing quarterback Christian Hackenberg‘s release.
Gruden pointed to Hackenberg’s work this offseason to change “his stroke, his passing motion” and said there wasn’t enough time to work with the 2016 second-round pick after acquiring him in a trade with the Jets three weeks ago.
“Everybody is an expert out there on Hackenberg and thinks he can’t play,” Gruden said, via ESPN.com. “It’s unfortunate, this whole collective [bargaining agreement]. How do you develop a quarterback? I don’t know how you do it. … It is hard enough to get Connor Cook enough reps, let alone a fourth guy. It really depresses me how we can’t spend more time with these young quarterbacks, and it is really going to be an impactful situation on the NFL in the future.”
Gruden isn’t the first to bemoan the impact that the current amount of offseason practice time has hindered development of quarterbacks, but it clearly can be done. Jimmy Garoppolo was a Patriots second-round pick two years before Hackenberg and he’s done OK despite being in the same position that Hackenberg was in during his first two NFL seasons.
If teams are concerned about player development and the need for more practice time, that’s something to discuss with the NFLPA heading into the next CBA. As in any negotiation, it will cost something to get more time in the offseason and there’s been little sign that team owners are prepared to make such trades.
Hackenberg reportedly visited the Patriots on Thursday, so perhaps they will be able to unlock something the Jets and Raiders couldn’t during their time with the quarterback. Or it may just be that Hackenberg was drafted too early, which was hardly an uncommon thought when the Jets took him in the first place.