The Oakland Raiders have employed nine different head coaches since the last time Jon Gruden patrolled the sideline for the Silver and Black 17 years ago.
Speaking Wednesday on 680 KNBR-AM, Gruden lamented about the "lack of continuity" that has led to some of the inconsistencies and poor records the Raiders have endured since he was traded to Tampa in 2002.
"We also, I think, need to put in a system in place here that our players can grow within," Gruden said. "We've had 10 different head coaches, I believe, since I've been here. We've had a number of different offensive coaches and poor Reggie McKenzie has had to draft different players to fit different schemes and systems. I think that's hurt us."
Along with churning through coaches every two years or so, the Raiders have filtered through offensive coordinators like ordinary folk change Britas: Marc Trestman (2002-2003), Jimmy Raye (2004-2005), Tom Walsh (2006), Greg Knapp (2007-2008), Ted Tollner (passing game coordinator, 2009), Hue Jackson (2010), Al Saunders (2011), Knapp again (2012), Greg Olson (2013-2014), Bill Musgrave (2015-2016), Todd Downing (2017), Greg Olson (2018).
The Raiders' offense hasn't had the same leader for more than two seasons since Gruden employed Bill Callahan for four seasons during his previous stint in Oakland. Changing coaches and schemes every two years doesn't allow players to grow in a system and hinders the front office from bringing in the right players.
Though less frequent, Oakland has also gone through several changes at defensive coordinator during that period as well: Chuck Bresnahan (2000-2003), Rob Ryan (2004-2008), John Marshall (2009-2010), Bresnahan again (2011), Jason Tarver (2012-2014), Ken Norton Jr. (2015-2017), John Pagano (interim 2017), Paul Guenther (2018)
Even slight changes in schemes can cause upheaval to an offense. We saw those sometimes-chaotic results in 2017 when Jack Del Rio moved on from Musgrave to promote Downing to OC. The latter utilized more zone blocking schemes that didn't necessarily fit the personnel on the field.
By giving Gruden a 10-year contract, the Raiders hope to end the cycle of change and find some consistency as they prepare to move to Las Vegas. Of course, if winning doesn't come in short order Gruden might be forced to make changes of his own on the fly.