By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Raiders fans should not be happy with their team’s effort in Sunday’s 36-20 loss to the Patriots; they should be even less pleased with the first answer Jon Gruden gave in his postgame presser.
The Patriots survived a slow start on offense and ultimately rolled against Las Vegas, which scored seven garbage-time points in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated. New England’s survival was due in part to the Raiders’ own mistakes, which included six penalties and three lost fumbles, one of which resulted in a defensive touchdown for the Patriots.
Gruden was asked about those miscues after the game. He essentially downplayed their importance and mixed in an injury excuse.
“I don’t know about all that,” Gruden said. “There’s no question we fumbled the ball in the red zone. We missed a field goal that we should make. You know, we can’t stop the run in the second half. There are some issues that add up to a loss. Proud of our team for fighting. We’re missing a lot of key players, lost some more today. I do like the effort, and looking forward to getting out of here and going back to Vegas. Congratulations to New England.”
The Raiders played without rookie first-round wide receiver Henry Ruggs, as well as left tackle Trent Brown and linebacker Nick Kwiatkowski. Key guys, yes. But far from the reason the Raiders lost the game.
It’s surprising that Gruden wouldn’t go the “Next Man Up” route when addressing injuries or absences. Bill Belichick would get killed if he made comments like these. The Patriots played with their left guard playing center for the first time in his pro career and the offensive line barely skipped a beat. Next man up.
Gruden ought to show more accountability for the penalties and turnovers, even if it’s just a little “We gotta coach it better.” By the end of the game the Raiders looked like they weren’t even in the Patriots’ stratosphere, despite having some high-end talent on their roster. At least part of that had to do with New England’s superior coaching and discipline.
It was strange that Gruden couldn’t admit that.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff or send him a nasty email at firstname.lastname@example.org.