The Raiders expect to be better in 2021, with General Manager Mike Mayock saying recently that the club needs to make the playoffs this season.
Head coach Jon Gruden didn’t go quite that far in an interview this week with Vinny Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, saying he’s not going to make predictions. But Gruden also said he’s not feeling pressure as Week One approaches.
This is now the third year Gruden and Mayock have worked together. In that same interview, Gruden characterized his relationship with Mayock as “real good.”
“Real competitive. I think we work well together,” Gruden told Bonsignore. “I’m not going to speak for him, and we’re not going to agree on everything all the time. But we do, professionally, agree on what decision is made. I appreciate his work ethic. I’m excited about coming in here every day and seeing him. We have a lot of fun. A lot of laughs.”
The team has gotten mixed results from their drafts, with running back Josh Jacobs and defensive end Maxx Crosby excelling from their first 2019 class. But the No. 4 overall pick from that year, Clelin Ferrell, won’t enter this season as a starter. Cornerback Damon Arnette, the No. 19 overall pick last year, will also enter the season as a backup.
Plus, two of the Las Vegas’ three third-round picks from 2020 — Lynn Bowden and Tanner Muse — never played a snap for the team.
None of that means the Raiders won’t make the 2021 postseason. But if Las Vegas isn’t competitive, then the missed draft picks could be a reason for the team to make a change.