Q2) How is the team responding to John Gruden’s coaching style?
So far, so good. I think there’s some frustration with his personnel moves, as well as some of his play calling decisions — see Marshawn Lynch‘s reaction to not getting the ball on the one with a prime chance to score on first down against the Chargers as proof. I think the Mack trade dulled a bit of the shine, and some of his other roster moves have been gut punches for the players.
I think overall though, the players respect him. However, that respect is based a lot on what he did. The guy won a Super Bowl, and that carries a certain amount of cred with it. But, as far as this team goes, the respect and enthusiasm will be somewhat tempered until Gruden proves that “his way” will work, and this team starts to win consistently.
Q3) What is the Raiders greatest strength?
Right now, it’s tough to say. They’ve got a lot of very good pieces. An offensive line, that when healthy, can be among the league’s best. A quarterback who, when on, is among the league’s best. A young receiver who, when utilized, can be among the league’s best. And strangely enough, a 32-year old running back, who when fed regularly, can be among the league’s better backs.
Yet, all of those disparate pieces have not been pulled together into one coherent, functioning body. The Raiders, at times, do a lot of different things fairly well. They don’t do any one thing very well though. It’s hard to say what their strength is because they haven’t proven very strong overall in any facet of the game at this point in time.