The Oakland Raiders made headlines with the firing of general manager Reggie McKenzie. It appears head coach Jon Gruden did not see it coming.
There has been plenty of speculation regarding the state of the franchise in the midst of a disastrous 2018 NFL season. According to Associated Press, Gruden did not go into much detail about McKenzie’s firing:
“I really didn’t have a sense of it. I’ve been … trying to get ready for the next game. This is all somewhat surprising.”
Gruden’s comments certainly come as no surprise. He has played coy on every blockbuster move the Raiders have made to their personnel this season. It may seem a bit far-fetched to assume he was genuinely surprised. Regardless, it is clear he has more pressing concerns at the moment.
The Raiders hired McKenzie as general manager in 2012. He struck gold in the 2014 NFL Draft with the additions of Derek Carr, Khalil Mack, and Gabe Jackson before selecting Amari Cooper a year later. Oakland even managed to end their playoff drought in 2016. Unfortunately, things have since taken a turn for worse and it ultimately resulted in the dismantling of nearly the entire team.
Gruden has since parted ways with nearly every Pro Bowl-caliber throughout the course of the 2018 campaign in exchange for future draft picks. Only nine players that were selected by McKenzie prior to Gruden’s arrival remain on the roster. Although he has not spoken much on the entire ordeal, his actions thus far indicate that he knew full well what the outcome would be. Regardless, it appears the Raiders’ vacancy at general manager has largely become a symbolic position.