Raiders' reported 'talks' with Gruden make little sense


Raiders' reported 'talks' with Gruden make little sense

ALAMEDA -- You knew the second that Mark Davis invited Jon Gruden back to Oakland to light the Al Davis Flame the desirous rumors would start.

And with each demoralizing loss piling up, you knew the fans' call for "Chucky" to replace rookie coach Dennis Allen would grow just as loud.

So imagine how lathered up Raider Nation is now that Pro Football Weekly's Hub Arash told Chicago's WSCR on Tuesday that "Gruden and the Raiders are in talks to bring him back to Oakland."

[REPORT: Raiders 'in talks' with Gruden]

Here's the thing, without getting into a hissing match with PFW, rumors are just that -- rumors, and it's hard to believe that Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie would blow out his handpicked choice in Allen for the rebuilding project at hand after just one year, and replace him with a popular ex-head coach who would instantly become the face of the franchise.

This is not about ego. Far from it. But McKenzie, who was hired by Mark Davis to run the football side of things at 1220 Harbor Bay Parkway so Davis would not have to, said on more than one occasion that the Raiders were his "football team" in a sit-down with seven reporters last week.

"This is my football team," McKenzie said. "It’s not a dictatorship by any means but it’s my football team and I’m responsible."

Plus, while rumors flew last week that Gruden was headed to coach college back at Tennessee, his agent Bob LaMonte shot them down to

"I haven't said anything because there's nothing to say," LaMonte told the website last week. "This, to me, is just a fantasy world.

"Jon has made it clear he's committed to ESPN."

Of course, Davis voicing his displeasure with the Raiders' "regression" this season will only add fuel. Until there's nothing left to burn, so to speak.

Allen is currently away from the team as his father Grady passed away Monday night, which makes all of this talk all the more unsavory.


Raiders LT Donald Penn, WR Amari Cooper to skip Pro Bowl

Raiders LT Donald Penn, WR Amari Cooper to skip Pro Bowl

The Raiders had an NFL-best seven players on the initial Pro Bowl roster. The number planning to play in the league’s all-star game continues to dwindle.

That total's down to three after left tackle Donald Penn and receiver Amari Cooper bowed out. Penn won’t be ready after suffering a knee injury in the regular-season finale, an ailment that kept him out of a playoff loss at Houston. Cincinnati’s Andrew Whitworth will take Penn’s place.

Cooper battled a shoulder injury late last season, though it's uncertain exactly what is keeping him from the game. 

In addition to Penn and Cooper, Quarterback Derek Carr obviously can't play while recovering from surgery to repair a broken fibula. Edge rusher Khalil Mack also bowed out recently with what is believed to be a minor back injury.

There’s a possibility a fifth Raider will also excuse himself. Center Rodney Hudson suffered an ankle injury in the playoffs. It remains uncertain whether he’ll play in the Pro Bowl.

Safety Reggie Nelson and left guard Kelechi Osemele remain firmly in the fray at this stage. 

Source: Raiders, OL coach Mike Tice agree on new deal

Source: Raiders, OL coach Mike Tice agree on new deal

Mike Tice’s contract expired shortly after this season’s end, but there was strong belief he would retain his post with a new deal.

A league source confirmed Wednesday that a new deal was in place for Tice to remain with the Raiders. The exact length of the contract was not disclosed. Assistant coach contracts are typically set for two years, though they can be three in some cases.

Tice was the first assistant Jack Del Rio hired after being named Raiders head coach. The two are long-time friends, dating back to days playing for the Minnesota Vikings in the 1990s.

Tice was Del Rio’s assistant head coach for three seasons in Jacksonville, which made him a natural fit for a new project in Oakland. It was a smart hire. Tice has been excellent as Raiders offensive line coach, managing and scheming for one of the NFL’s best position groups.

ESPN first reported the Tice agreement.

While offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave was allowed to leave on an expired contract and is now Denver quarterbacks coach, the rest of the Raiders offensive staff remains intact.

Quarterbacks coach Todd Downing was promoted to offensive coordinator and his assistant Jake Peetz assumes his old post.

The Raiders still have a vacancy on the defensive side, with Marcus Robertson out and on to the Broncos staff.