Here Is Why Jon Gruden Loves His Veteran Camp Bodies

On Monday, the Raiders somewhat unexpectedly signed a pair of veteran defensive linemen.

Frostee Rucker, 34, and Ahtyba Rubin, 31, will join a defensive line group in Oakland that already includes Khalil Mack (who is still holding out), Bruce Irvin, Maurice Hurst, P.J. Hall, Arden Key, Mario Edwards Jr., Eddie Vanderdoes, Justin Ellis, Treyvon Hester, Tank Carradine, and one of this year’s offseason surprises, Fadol Brown.

Chris Simms, who played for Gruden in Tampa, talked about the way Gruden loves to bring in veterans at the last minute to motivate players already on the roster.

“I just know that he’s done it to me before,” Simms said of Gruden on his podcast. “It’s overtly in your face ‘we’re trying to get better as a team and do you want to stay on board the ship and compete, here we go.'”

If Gruden is looking to get more out of players by creating competition at defensive tackle, which players could he specifically be looking at?

Just a guess, but a name that has come up a lot in recent months is Mario Edwards Jr. and Gruden has talked about getting more out of Edwards in his fourth season with the team. There are also a lot of rookies along the Raiders defensive line. Guys like Hurst, Hall, and Key are now competing against a couple of scrappy veterans trying hang around the league for another year.

If nothing else, Gruden might be showing his hand in terms of the position group where he wants to see the most improvement.

Rubin and Rucker may not hang around long in Oakland, but if they push a few of the young players in camp, Gruden probably will have achieved his purpose.

twitter: @raidersbeat


4 thoughts on “Here Is Why Jon Gruden Loves His Veteran Camp Bodies

  1. Well, it’s not a terrible strategy. If you’re standing next to 5 other guys who want the job as you, then you’ve gotta bring 100% every single day. There are no days where you can just “mail it in” and go home. The vets can show the young bucks how a true professional practices, listens in meetings, shows up on time, stays late, etc. If we can’t have the most talented team in the league, maybe we can at least have one of the most prepared and motivated ones. We shall see……

  2. Yet popular opinion by fans and some writers is that every aging veteran coming in is going to make the 53 man roster, then huff and wheez their way through 16 games before keeling over at season’s end. I’ve been saying for months that folks need to pump the breaks on the geriatric corps talk . This isn’t the first time Gruden has taken this approach. He’s got a young squad and some of them didn’t make much of an effort when Del Rio and company were there. Every man who makes this roster will do so because they’ve earned the spot . It’s no more complicated than that and most of the ” geezers ” he has brought in probably won’t be there in September. If they are it’ll be because they can still play football.

  3. I don’t care if they bring “George Blanda” back?
    His Philosophy is Excellent, look what “Navarro Bowman” did in just 72 hours, he became our “MIKE” LB, Gruden is Righting the Ship and were going to Win the AFC WEST?

  4. This is all what we lacked last year. Del Rio didn’t motivate….didn’t bring out competition. For the most part he was pretty quiet. With the exception of some defensive holes we had a good team. Our offense could have been one of the most explosive in the league, but no inspiration, no intensity, no creativity from the OC. Desire only came from a few players but not as a whole…..and it showed.

    I love that Gruden is back, and I love to hear the players excited about him. A HUGE improvement on the mental side of the equation…..which is SO important.

    As for the old vets coming in……we’ll see who makes the squad. They may not. No guarantees. The 53 best will. The 53 most likely to help this team be the best it can be and kick ***…..bottom line.

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