The Oakland Raiders took the first step in improving their defense this week by inking former Los Angeles Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner to a four-year contract.
The 28-year-old was a second-round pick of the Rams in 2014 out of Florida State and served as a Swiss-arm knife for Los Angeles’ defense the last few seasons.
A native of Miami, Florida, Joyner revealed at his introductory press conference that he was planning on signing with a team on the East Coast he got on the phone with Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, who convinced him to stay out West, via Kyle Martin of Raiders.com:
“My initial thoughts were to get back to the East Coast, get back closer to home after being on the West Coast for three years,” he said. “In my mind, I thought nothing was going to change that until I heard [Head] Coach [Jon] Gruden called and I kind of did a whole 180. After getting to talk to him and some of the guys in the building, I was very excited about the way they were going to use me and how people were happy to have me here. That was the biggest decision-making point for me.”
Gruden took his fair share of criticism in his first season back coaching with the Raiders, but Joyner is the second acquisition this week that credited Gruden for being the reason they wanted to come play for the Raiders. Antonio Brown said something similar at his introductory press conference.
Many Raiders fans were not happy with Gruden after he traded away two of the teams biggest stars in Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper, but perhaps many judged him too early as he now seems to have the Raiders on the right track to getting back into postseason contention.