Report: Raiders' front office already divided between Gruden's guys and holdovers

Yahoo Sports

The Oakland Raiders aren’t off to a great start for Jon Gruden’s much-ballyhooed return.

Aside from falling to 0-3 on Sunday after a loss to the Dolphins, Gruden this past week kept saying in front of cameras that the Raiders need a better pass rush, even after trading away Khalil Mack.

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Gruden also reportedly has caused a rift among his personnel team.

Guess $10 million a year doesn’t get you what it used to.

Gruden had his own draft board

When a new coach comes in, it’s only natural that some things change. But Gruden wasn’t general manager Reggie McKenzie’s hire; he was the fulfillment of team owner Mark Davis’ long-held dream to have Gruden back on the Raiders’ sideline.

Does he have all the answers? Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden reportedly has divided the team’s personnel staff into his guys – who he listens to – and GM Reggie McKenzie’s guys, who don’t have his ear. (AP)
Does he have all the answers? Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden reportedly has divided the team’s personnel staff into his guys – who he listens to – and GM Reggie McKenzie’s guys, who don’t have his ear. (AP)

And in his years as the “Monday Night Football” analyst on ESPN, Gruden developed his own way of breaking down film and evaluating talent, and according to a story from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, that method hasn’t changed.

Gruden’s way – and Gruden’s people – are not the same as the ways things have been done in Oakland’s personnel department under McKenzie.

Citing sources, Rapoport writes that Gruden “essentially has his own staff that helps him judge talent and make decisions, most notably confidant and director of football research Dave Razzano, along with a slew of interns and assistants.”

Gruden’s draft board and pro scouting board are separate and different from those used by others.

Who is Dave Razzano, you may ask?

We’re glad you did. Razzano has been an NFL scout for nearly 30 years. His relationship to Gruden dates back to 1990, when both were with the San Francisco 49ers; Gruden was an offensive assistant that year.

Razzano spent the last six years with the Indianapolis Colts, and on Twitter, he’s known for his hot takes. Examples? Von Miller will be a bust and Jake Locker should be the No. 1 player taken in the draft.

Razzano’s office is near Gruden’s. Typically, a director of football research is more of a stats and analytics guy, but Gruden isn’t a fan of analytics and technology.

Relationship with McKenzie not strained – yet

Rapoport writes that there is no animosity between Gruden and McKenzie – “quite the opposite” – but Oakland’s scouts that were brought in by McKenzie have quickly learned that Gruden isn’t listening to them, he’s listening to the guys in his circle.

That of course has led to frustration among those who aren’t in that circle, and with career NFL talent evaluators who say they’ve never dealt with a split like the one they’re dealing with now.

Relegated to contracts and salary cap work, McKenzie may look for an opportunity with another team after this season ends, according to a report by NFL Network’s Jim Trotter.

On Sunday, Oakland was up 17-7 with three minutes to play in the third quarter but lost, 28-20.

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