We begin this first Odds & Ends of 2018 with the news that the Oakland Raiders will introduce, or should I say,re-introduce Jon Gruden as the team’s next head coach on Tuesday.
Gruden last coached in the NFL a decade ago when he was with the Buccaneers from 2002-08,winning Super Bowl XXXVII in his first year. Previously he was in Oakland from 1998-01 until he was traded to the Buccaneers in exchange for high draft picks and cash.
Gruden replaces Jack Del Rio and leaves the ESPN Monday Night Football booth where he was since 2009. His salary will be $100 million over 10 years,the largest contract in NFL history. Rumours of him replacing Del Rio had been swirling even before the season was over and Del Rio was fired following the Raiders’ loss in the final game of the season to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Gruden becomes the 12th head coach since 1960 to have multiple stints with one team, and the 16-year gap between jobs with the Raiders is the largest in NFL history for a head coach with the same team. He went 38-26 in his first stint with the team.
I’m honestly not surprised that Gruden is back with the Raiders since the rumours of his return were swirling before the final game was even played, I do feel bad for Del Rio on account that his coordinators didn’t do the best job that they could, but ultimately when expectations were high and not met sometimes changes need to be made. I don’t know how well Gruden is going to do but he’s a smart guy and I can’t wait to see his intensity on the sidelines again, it’s been missed.
The Cleveland Browns achieved the inevitable, an 0-16 season.
Their prefect season in reverse was clinched with a 28-24 loss to Pittsburgh courtesy of Corey Coleman not catching a pass from DeShone Kizer on fourth down that would’ve netted the Browns a first had he caught it, extending the drive and possibly giving them a chance to win their one and only game of the season.
The Browns have the first overall pick (more on who they might draft is coming up in this column) for the second consecutive year. They also had a parade “honoring” this season.
The parade took around the stadium where marchers created a giant “zero” in “honor?” of the 0-16 season.
Many Browns fans and players are upset that such a parade took lace because it embarrasses their team and doesn’t make the second 0-16 season in NFL history any easier to swallow. But if you ask me,this parade was needed so that team management can see how embarrassing this is for their team to have such a season and get their act together. We all know that they won’t because they’re the Cleveland Browns, but maybe it was the wake-up call that they need to realize that the way they’re operating isn’t working and hasn’t been for a long time.
Continuing with the Browns and who they might draft with that top pick and it’s been reported that UCLA quarterback Sam Rosen, USC quarterback Sam Darnold and Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson have declared for the NFL Draft. Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma is also also expected to declare.
Rosen and Darnold are the overwheling favorites to be drafted first overall in April’s draft while Mayfield, the newest Heisman Trophy winner,is in many mock drafts slated to go in the top 10. Jackson,the 2016 Heisman winner,is slated to go in the late first to early second rounds.
Rosen,a junior, is one the more natural,textbook passers that have been scouted among top quarterback prospects and has a fundamentally sound delivery. He threw for 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 2017 and holds the school record for passing yards in a season with 3,756.
Darnold,a sophomore,had a down year in 2017 with 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions,but in 2016 he threw 31 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He did,however,throw for over 4,000 passing yards in 2017.
Mayfield had a stellar season throwing four 41 touchdowns and five interceptions, leading Oklahoma to the playoffs,losing the Rose Bowl to Georgia in double overtime.
There were questions about whether Rosen and Darnold were going to remain in school in order to avoid having to go to Cleveland and be drafted by them,but it appears those have been answered. Remaining to be seen is whether the two quarterbacks will be at the top of the draft order come draft time or if someone like Mayfield,Jackson,or even Wyoming’s Josh Allen will have their draft stock climb.
I think as of right now Rosen gets selected first. We will see if that changes anytime soon,though.
Moving to baseball and the San Francisco Giants being currently involved in trade talks to try and bring outfielder Andrew McCutchen over from Pittsburgh.
McCutchen,31,is coming off of a year where he hit 28 home runs,his best total since 2012 when he hit 31. He also has played over 1,300 games in center field where a position is now open after the Giants shipped Denard Span to Tampa Bay in the Evan Longoria trade last month. He is owed $14.5 million of the final year of his contract this year.
What would it take to get McCutchen? I think one like Chris Shaw might do the trick,so long as its not Heliot Ramos. It wouldn’t be worth it to give up such a high prospect for a player who may only be around for one year.
The Giants have also submitted an offer for longtime Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez,32,who is coming off of a down year with only 14 home runs last season but is and has been capable of hitting 30 home runs or more a season.
A player like Gonzalez could command a $15 million per seasons salary and the Giants’ offer may be a short-term one.
Also in the mix of possibly coming to San Francisco is Jay Bruce who has expressed interest in coming to the team.
I think any of these three guys could be great in a Giants uniform. There’s certainly need for outfield help and some pop in the lineup and these guys each have it. Whatever gets this team back to being better than one that lost 98 games would be fantastic.
That’s all for Odds & Ends this week,we’ll see you next time!