Fortunately for everyone in Oakland, Antonio Brown’s long-running helmet saga seems to be winding down. That makes it a little more difficult for the Hard Knocks producers to build content, but that won’t keep Jon Gruden up at night.
Perhaps this week we can actually return our focus to what the Raiders can do on the field in 2019. Strap on your helmets and focus, it’s time to go through everything we learned in Episode 4. As always, the thoughts come to you in the same order they appear in the show.
1. Brentson Buckner is unhappy with the level of effort from his defensive line. Did no one show him tape of the way the group played back in 2018? They finished with a historically low sack total for a reason.
2. We know they’re fitness trackers, but Antonio Brown still looks like he’s wearing a bra.
3. In all seriousness, we can understand why Brown is struggling to switch helmets after playing in one model for a decade. He hasn’t handled it well, but don’t rule out the idea that it’s a real adjustment for the talented wideout.
4. Southpark did a better job of mocking Canada. The Raiders’ efforts were pretty weak.
5. It’s impossible not to root for Daren Waller. He’s overcome a lot of off field issues to make it this far. Not coincidentally, I just used a late round fantasy draft pick to acquire him.
6. Jon Gruden can count down from 100 by threes. For some reason the producers believe this is important for us to know.
7. Derek Carr tried to show some leadership to a wide receiver, but he just ended up talking in circles. This is not a good sign for Raider Nation.
8. Keelan Doss better make it as a wide receiver because he will starve if he’s forced to resort to a singing career. The good news is he looks like he’s set to earn a roster spot if things stay on track.
9. Trayvon Mullen can’t sing, knock on wood if you’re with me.
10. Antonio Brown likes to read his own fan mail. No one could’ve seen that coming.
11. Maxx Crosby doesn’t seem to have any idea when he’ll be cleared to play again. That makes it seem like he might begin the season on IR. That’s certainly not the way the fourth round pick wanted to start his NFL career.
12. Jason Cabinda’s mother is the most enthusiastic visitor Winnipeg has ever enjoyed. They should include her on a Chamber of Commerce brochure at the very least.
13. The NFL made the right call to force both the Raiders and Packers to play on a shortened field. However, it’s inexcusable that league officials didn’t remedy the situation before either team arrived in Winnipeg. How can an organization with such vast resources continue to struggle to prepare quality fields for their players?
14. If the whole NFL thing doesn’t work out for Luke Wilson, there’s absolutely a place for him in WWE. The gangly tight end is tailor made for some sort of pro-Canadian/anti-American faction.
15. Why is Jon Gruden angry before this game? Because he has to start Mike Glennon at quarterback. Bills fans can’t understand why, but his mood improves when he brings Nathan Peterman onto the field.
16. Doss doesn’t appear to have great speed, but he does have exceptional body control. The way he can contort his body to make catches against tight coverage gives him a chance to play in the league for a long time.
17. Apparently Gruden can’t correctly measure the distance of the field. Losing 10 yards on each side shortens 100 yards to 80, not 90.
18. It’s clear that Gruden sees something in Peterman that the rest of his coaching staff does not. If Oakland only keeps two signal callers, bet on Glennon being the odd man out.
19. Some observers might mock the Raiders for caring so much about winning a preseason game, but Gruden and his staff understand that a big part of their job is to change the culture in the locker room. Instilling a real sense of competitiveness in the team is crucial.
20. Gruden reveals an interesting nugget in his postgame press conference. He says the Raiders might keep as many as five undrafted free agents on the final roster. That should make a lot of veterans on the team very nervous.