Jon Gruden: We’re not afraid to play young guys, but they have to earn it

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One frequent talking point this offseason has been how difficult it will be for rookies to make an impact without offseason programs or preseason games to help them transition to the professional level.

Some teams are still going to find themselves relying on rookies to contribute right off the bat, however, and the Raiders would seem to be one of them. The team’s two first-rounders — wide receiver Henry Ruggs and cornerback Damon Arnette — both play positions of need and head coach Jon Gruden said Thursday that the team hasn’t shied away from giving young players a chance since he returned to the Raiders.

“We’ve been good fast-tracking players at every position,” Gruden said, via Tashan Reed of “Last year was a great indication. Over the last couple years a lot of young players have played for us and that was the goal when we got here. You could say we excavated the land here in terms of the roster the first year, but we’ve built it back with young players. . . . We’re not afraid to play the young guys, but they gotta earn it.”

The Raiders also brought in a number of veterans this offseason, which gives Gruden and the rest of the coaching staff a lot to do in the next few weeks if they’re going to “raise the bar” during the team’s first year in Las Vegas.

8 responses to “Jon Gruden: We’re not afraid to play young guys, but they have to earn it

  1. knock on wood if your with me…young talent on offense and loaded up on talent od defense = playoffs!

  2. “young talent on offense and loaded up on talent od defense = playoffs!”

    It’s why the offseason is so fun because everybody is a playoff team. But to make the playoffs you need to do well in your division. San Diego has QB issues so that’s a plus but the defending Super Bowl champs are in the division and the Broncos have a promising young QB and a still very talented defense. Meanwhile the Raiders haven’t won more than 7 games since 2016. 3rd in a 4-team division is a rough road to the playoffs.

  3. The only way they’re going to get experience is by playing, I believe in throwing rookies into the fire

  4. Raiders made some good additions this year through free agency and the draft, we will see if they pan out or not. You cannot deny that their roster is better than last year, they are a team on the rise in a super tough division.

  5. I have a funny suspicion Raiders win the division this year. It will be the toughest division in the AFC, then maybe the South. I think Bills won theirs and Ravens win theirs.

    Just a gut feeling.

  6. The young players talk is just planting the seed to use it as an excuse for yet another losing season. Then, next year they draft a QB and that’s another seed planted for patience as they groom their future. Then it’ll be 5-6 years down the road with no success with gruden before fans finally realize they’ve been hosed by Gruden!

    Knock on wood if you’re with me…….

  7. Jon, you may not have a choice the way Vets are opting out. So, no, they may not have to earn it.

  8. @Autumn Wind, For the Raiders to win their division they have to be better than the current Super Bowl Champions, lots of luck.

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