Former Players Say Jon Gruden Pushes His Quarterbacks, But Still Listens

Beyond winning, it’s already obvious Jon Gruden has one clear focus as head coach of the Raiders…

Get the most out of Derek Carr.

Everyone knows Gruden loves working with quarterbacks, but after spending nearly a decade in the production booth, what exactly will Gruden want to do with his quarterback (and in turn, the offense)?

Gruden said he had a chance to study a lot of different offenses while working at ESPN – an indication that his offensive approach may have evolved or at least diversified since 2008.

He also said his offense will be “adaptable and versatile.”

A more versatile offense allows Gruden to gameplan more effectively than we’re used to seeing in Oakland – and that’s being kind.

An adaptable offense means the Raiders will no longer stick to a stubborn philosophy that doesn’t suit the players.

Gruden has a reputation for being hard on quarterbacks, but quarterbacks he worked with say he listens, too. Back in 2007, Gruden talked about the way he built the Oakland offense around Gannon’s strengths – and even preferences.

“Rich Gannon didn’t like the shotgun,’ Gruden said in 2007 of his MVP quarterback. “So it was like, ‘You don’t like the gun, Rich, the heck with it, I don’t like it, either.”

When Jeff Garcia arrived in Tampa, he was less comfortable operating under center.

Gruden twice asked Garcia to explain why he preferred the shotgun – the second time Garcia was asked to list his reasons on a questionnaire.

“I just wrote my reasons and that was pretty much it,” Garcia said, adding that Gruden didn’t have to be talked into anything at all.

Coincidentally, former Raider quarterback Bruce Gradkowski was also on the Buccaneers at that time and Bruce was no more interested in taking snaps under center.

“I think [Bruce] would rather be in the shotgun than on a date. He loves the shotgun,” Gruden said (presumably with his trademark smirk) of Gradkowski.

Carr won’t be forced to fit an offense next season. Instead, he’ll be operating in an offense that fits his skill set and the skill sets of those around him.

Everyone knows what Gruden did with Gannon. He won a Super Bowl with Brad Johnson and Jeff Garcia had a 92.2 quarterback rating in two seasons with Gruden – at the ages of 37 and 38.

Whatever the peak of Carr’s potential may be, Gruden sure feels like the right coach to help him get there.

It took a chaotic season to get here, but it just may have been worth it.

twitter: @raidersbeat