The NFL regular season is here and the only real down side to that is that Hard Knocks, is also coming to an end. Never fear, we’re here to take you through the takeaway from the final episode. Let’s jump right into it.
1. Don’t think Andrew Luck is a big star? He opened the finale of a television series that doesn’t deal with his team in the slightest. The Raiders’ reactions to Luck’s decision are entirely consistent with the rest of the NFL. Everyone in the league understands why the talented quarterback elected to hang it up.
2. Jon Gruden is a big fan of his defensive coordinator. He’s going to need a big year from Paul Geunther and his defense. They may need to carry the offense for large stretches of the season. They’ll need to manufacture a quality pass rush to make that happen.
3. Gruden liking Metallica is a surprise to absolutely no one. You can easily see Chucky head banging at the front of a show.
4. Trent Brown makes Antonio Brown look like a small child. That’s good news for Raiders’ quarterbacks.
5. IF you’ve still got a Fantasy Draft coming up, move Brown up a few notches. All of the nonsense that dominated his status earlier in the preseason has magically disappeared as the regular season draws near. This shouldn’t surprise anyone either.
6. Why does Brown always have a winter hat on? That makes sense in Pittsburgh. Does he know he’s moved to a warmer climate? Perhaps this is somehow related to the helmet issue? Evidently it’s called a “skully.” Even Brown’s kids want them.
7. Gruden runs like an old man. Him trying to rush his quarterbacks literally made me laugh out loud.
8. Olivier Vernon does not actually eat glass or nails for breakfast. There’s a 50% shot Gruden knows this is a lie.
9. Brandon Marshall had an entire conversation with Trent Brown without the offensive lineman saying a single word.
10. If tight end is really the “lifeblood” of the Oakland offense, then why didn’t the franchise spend more resources on the position? If Luke Willson is in contention to make your team then you didn’t do enough at tight end. He just doesn’t play the game with enough force to earning a meaningful role on this team.
11. Keelan Doss doesn’t have explosive athleticism or wiggle at the wide receiver position. He really looks like a flex tight end on most of his patterns. He’s got to be able to catch the ball at a high level if he’s going to stick with Oakland. If they let him go, Doss will catch on in New England and become a Pro Bowler in their offense. There’s a lot of talent to work with in his body. Working on catching the ball with his hands, away from his body would also be a good idea for the undrafted rookie.
12. Spoiler alert, this injury puts Nathan Peterman on IR. I’m of the opinion that he was going to beat out Glennon for the backup spot if he stayed healthy. Something about the way Gruden talks about him on every episode makes it clear he’s a real favorite of the coaching staff.
13. It’s hard to imagine the stress the guys on the roster bubble are under for the 48 hours leading up to final cuts. It’s pretty clear the whole ordeal is hell on the coaching staff and front office too.
14. Strange that Mike Mayock doesn’t allow the cameras inside his office this season. Other GMs have allowed viewers unprecedented access to what the final conversations really look like. I’m torn between admiring Mayock for his humanity or cursing him for robbing us of the intense drama of these moments.
15. If Gruden’s match is right, the Raiders are poised to keep 11 or 12 rookies. That’s not ideal for a team that wants you to believe they will be playoff contenders in 2019.
16. Really surprised about Keelan Doss. The Raiders aren’t exactly blessed with a ton of playmakers. His lack of ability to contribute on special teams probably cost him a spot on the 53-man roster. A few minutes later, we learn the Jaguars feel differently about his ability to immediately impact their offense. We think Jacksonville got this one right at Oakland’s expense.
17. The Las Vegas Raiders just doesn’t feel right. Call me old-fashioned, but Al Davis’ team should have stayed in Oakland. The Bay’s loss is the City of Sin’s gain.