"Are You ... Kidding Me?" The Khalil Mack Trade Continues to Haunt Jon Gruden

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“Are You … Kidding Me?” The Khalil Mack Trade Continues to Haunt Jon Gruden

Chicago Bears

The Raiders picked up an overtime victory against the Browns on Sunday, giving Jon Gruden his first regular season NFL victory in nearly 10 years. And yet, he still couldn’t escape the looming shadow of Khalil Mack.

NFL.com columnist Mike Silver paints a picture of the Raiders head coach’s first win since November 30, 2008, which leads with a behind-the-scenes snapshot of Gruden lamenting the loss of his former star defender just hours before his team kicked off a few time zones away:

As he readied his game face for what he hoped would be his first NFL head-coaching victory in exactly nine years and 10 months, Jon Gruden sat in the coaches’ area of the home locker room at the Oakland Coliseum on Sunday morning, scrolled through his cell phone and got some decidedly disturbing news.

“Damn — Khalil Mack had another strip sack?” Gruden asked rhetorically, shaking his head at the Oakland Raiders assistant coaches in his midst. “Are you … kidding me?”

“Are you … kidding me?” is the exact same thing we find ourselves saying every week when Mack does something amazing.

So, nope. We’re not “…” kidding you, Coach. That’s four forced fumbles in four games for the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player who cut his teeth with the Raiders, earning three Pro Bowl appearances and a pair of first-team All-Pro nominations along the way. Mack has five sacks, a pick-six, 24 pressures, and is Pro Football Focus’ highest-rated edge rusher with a league-best 92.1 grade.

Gruden has offered up some strange thoughts regarding the trade since pulling the trigger on the mega-deal at the end of the preseason. He tried to deflect blame and point fingers by saying Mack didn’t want to play in Oakland, then shared an odd thought about the difficulty in finding good pass-rush help when his team struggled to get to other team’s quarterbacks. But at least Gruden has come off as someone with a little more self-awareness with his most recent comments compared to his original thoughts on the matter.

Either way, thanks again, Jon. Bears fans appreciate your help in starting the year with a 3-1 record and a spot atop the NFC North standings.



Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.