Oakland Raiders camp notebook: Jon Gruden to impose new discipline

By The Sports Xchange
Oakland Raiders new head coach John Gruden answers questions at the Raiders Headquarters on January 9 in Alameda, Calif. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI
Oakland Raiders new head coach John Gruden answers questions at the Raiders Headquarters on January 9 in Alameda, Calif. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

NAPA, Calif. -- Don't expect a lot of fighting from the Raiders at training camp, assuming players got the message when defensive end Fadol Brown and rookie tackle Brandon Parker got in a practice scuffle during a two-minute drill.

Gruden used it as a teaching situation, and he was less diplomatic with the players involved than he was with the media while describing why he had a problem with it. Brown, the presumed instigator, was banished to the field house and weight area for the remainder of practice.


"You hear all this situational talk throughout the league. We're in a two-minute drill to win the game, that's a 15-yard penalty and Eddy Pineiro ended their day with a game-winning field goal," Gruden said. "I would hate to fly back from London or wherever the hell we've got to play, losing a game like that."


--Former Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon was an interested observer during the club's mandatory minicamp and was curious to see if Gruden had changed his style at all.

Gruden brought Gannon to the Raiders in 1999 to replace Jeff George. After an 8-8 season, Gannon took the Raiders to three straight division titles -- the longest run of sustained success since the franchise was winning championships.

"I was curious," Gannon told the Bay Area News Group. "I didn't think there would be a lot of change and there hasn't been. His energy level is like it was when I was here. It brings back so many memories."

Gannon believes Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr have meshed already and the union will benefit the offense as a whole.

"You look at his huddle command, and Jon asks questions he's spitting out the answers so quickly," Gannon said. "Derek's really going to benefit from that relationship."

--Raiders line coach Tom Cable knows his reputation. He's a zone blocking practitioner, through and through.

Except that head coach Jon Gruden made it clear Cable can coach anything, and Cable admits his reputation as a zone scheme militant is a bit overblown.


"Thing about when I was in Atlanta, and we did something amazing there," Cable said. "It was like the ninth all-time rushing total in the history of football. Then we come (to Oakland) and they were last in rushing and we went top 10 and stayed there. If you remember there were a lot of counters and powers. You'd like to have a good mix."

--Defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, the Raiders' fifth-round draft pick out of Michigan, was considered a first-round talent but a medical issue regarding his heart hurt his draft status. The Raiders have cleared him medically, and Hurst considers it a non-issue.

Hurst has spent time in the offseason studying Geno Atkins, who played the three-technique position under Paul Guenther at Cincinnati. Interior pressure has been a rumor in Oakland the last two seasons.

"He's able to be very disruptive and get to the quarterback, which are huge things," Hurst said. "Our three-technique is the penetrator of our defense, so you have to have someone like Geno to make the defense go. That's a major part of coach Guenther and why he brought me and (second-round pick) P.J. Hall here and why we have Mario (Edwards). We have a good group."


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