Simms: Details Would “Get Lost” in Jon Gruden’s Offense

Everyone knows Jon Gruden has one of the most complicated offensive playbooks in football, but is that sometimes to his disadvantage?

Obviously the quarterback needs to know the offense inside and out… and it doesn’t help a lot if the quarterback knows everything but the 10 players around him don’t. Considering the personnel turnover the Raiders had a wide receiver this year, it’s fair to wonder if Gruden’s playbook was even close to being maximized in 2019.

Former quarterback Chris Simms talked about playing for Gruden and 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan (who was an offensive QC coach under Gruden) and made a notable comment on the way Shanahan was able to make Gruden’s offense more effective in Tampa Bay.

“Kyle was crucial for me,” Simms said last week of Shanahan. “What he was great at was being a middleman between the quarterbacks and Jon Gruden. Jon was a psycho—in a good way. More plays! Big plays! That was Jon. Details would get lost. Maybe you were supposed to run the slant at seven steps, and the receiver would run it at six, or five. Kyle would make hard and fast rules. Receivers knew precisely what they were supposed to do.”

Certainly Gruden wears a lot of hats within the Raiders organization (he doesn’t technically have a QB coach) and it would be interesting to know if offensive players nowadays become overwhelmed by Gruden’s precision offense – and potentially lose details as a result.

Then again, this is Chris Simms that was telling the story. Chris, as everyone knows by now, wasn’t the most proficient at executing Gruden’s offense in Tampa Bay.

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Jon Gruden calling plays in 2003 😮 (via @nflthrowback)

Come to think of it, maybe Simms was the reason the receivers didn’t know what was going on in Tampa… because it was obvious that their quarterback didn’t.

twitter: @raidersbeat


3 thoughts on “Simms: Details Would “Get Lost” in Jon Gruden’s Offense

  1. Chris Simms has it correct. Everyone’s management style is different and Jon Gruden is no exception. I know this because I’ve had an extended friendship and working relationship with someone who has Jon Gruden’s temperament and management style. Jon Gruden’s style speaks in generalities and not specifics. Just look at Bill Belichick’s and Don Shula’s styles versus Jon Gruden’s. Bill Belichick and Don Shula are very, borderline extreme, with respect to details. All three coaches want to win but anyone who knows anything about football can see the similarities between Bill Belichik and Don Shula. One had an undefeated season and the other almost did, this is not by accident but because of detailed planning. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Jon Gruden thinks that his force of will, bluster and character can carry him and propel his team to victory. NOT. I was ever hopeful, when Jon Gruden had Peyton Manning on the sideline once during a game, that Jon Gruden would ask Peyton Manning about how he had three speeds that he operated the Denver Bronco’s at. If Peyton Manning did enlighten Jon Gruden then it doesn’t show. Again, barking directions in general terms is not the MICRO management style necessary to win in the NFL. Don Shula and Bill Belichik were and are MICRO managers and Jon Gruden is not. Change is always hard for for someone who is resistant to it. The biggest clue should be to look at the most successful football programs and emulate them but NO. Jon Gruden is insistent of failing on his own terms rather than winning with time proven methods. A swift kick in the *** is what he needs Of course, what I’m about to say will fall on deaf ears but I’m going to say it anyway. ANY play that Jon Gruden even thinks about running should be looked at with respect to how other teams have run it. Emulate the techniques that have had the most success at running that play and do the same thing with the next play. Peyton Manning, with the Denver Broncos WON on first down. They didn’t wait to be aggressive or successful. The Broncos, under Peyton Manning’s direction, ran plays at THREE different speeds. Implement this SUCCESSFUL tactic, which means installing a system that is quick and efficient. Jon Gruden can’t be something that he isn’t BUT he CAN still learn anf grow BUT first he must admit and accept that he ISN’T all knowing, all wise, LOL, or omnipotent. That crap may be ok for “sounding” good, ( more loud than good ) bullying or impressing ( actually alienating ) people but it isn’t conducive to winning as his current 11 and 21 win record attest to. In short, Jon Gruden has never been accused of instilling confidence in anyone. Why? Because that’s not what he does or is good at. He’s at his best trying to belittle people, because of his position, barking ( instead of teaching but you have to actually know how to do something before you can teach it to someone else ) and telling people what they are doing wrong. Shula’s perfect season was no accident. It was highlighted by scrutinous attention to detail. Likewise with Bill Belichik’s 18 and 1 season. A winning football team starts with a coach who is prepared, knowledgeable AND adaptable. Even if Jon Gruden doesn’t feel this way, certainly life long Raider fans do.

  2. Everyone keeps talking about this complicated offense. To be honest, I’m still looking for it. I might be just seeing one layer, because it’s not looking very different than it did last year or the year before. One maybe two serious misdirection plays per game…..otherwise, RB run up the middle, or safety valve/dump to the RB in the flats or over the middle underneath, quick slant pass to the WR, and so on. I’m getting really good at calling the play before it happens.

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