ALAMEDA Jon Gruden has waited 89 days to be in a position to directly influence the players he will coach on the 2018 Raiders.
That process finally begins Monday morning when the first phase of the Raiders offseason program begins at the team facility, but Gruden has no plans to serve up fire and brimstone with breakfast and morning coffee.
Theres no reason to make a bunch of crazy speeches in April, Gruden told the Bay Area News Group Sunday. Were going to try and get em organized and start to build some relationships with each other and start to teach.
Gruden was officially hired Jan. 9 and according to the NFLs collective bargaining agreement, has been prohibited from anything other than chance meetings at the facility. In the interim, Gruden and an almost entirely new coaching staff and strength and conditioning team will have been plotting and planning, putting together a detailed schedule that doesnt waste a minute and adheres to NFL rules.:
The Raiders will meet at 7:30 a.m. Monday and start with a brief team meeting. Players can be under supervision of coaches for four hours per day for eight days over the next two weeks. Any time spent by players at the facility after the four hours will be without direct involvement of coaches.
The first order of business will be indoctrinating players to a strength and conditioning program under strength coach Tom Shaw and his staff.
Theyre going to spend most of the this week three hours a day with strength and conditioning coaches, and theyll spend one hour with their position coaches, starting to get into the scheme, Gruden said. This first week is pretty much going to get them acclimating to getting stronger, getting faster, getting into the best shape they can be in and build relationships with the strength and conditioning staff.
Then theyll be with their new position coaches as they start to learn the offense, the defense and the special teams.
At the NFL owners meetings in late March, Gruden stressed the importance of the strength and conditioning staff particularly during a time when contact with coaches was limited.
Theyre with your players more than you are, Gruden said. To have (Tom Shaws) vast background in dealing with people, getting them to do something thats hard, to be able to motivate them and get results is a great thing to have on our team.
The Raiders will have eight sessions over two weeks, going Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday each week and taking Wednesday to recover. The wont take the field to run any plays until a minicamp starting April 24.
Its at that point where Gruden and his staff can actually get their players on the field running actual plays something the staff is looking forward to considering whats transpired up to now.
As it stands, the new Raiders offense has been executed with line coach Tom Cable at center, offensive coordinator Greg Olson at left guard, assistant line caoch Lem Jeanpierre at left tackle, offensive assistant Tim Berbenich at right guard and tight ends coach Frank Smith at right tackle.
Were blocking Paul Guenther and his defensive coaches, Gruden said. I had Willi Brown playing scout team the other day at 74 years old. He can still move and get out of his break. Ive got video of this. (Wide receivers coach) Edgar Bennett has a sore Achilles, Nick Holz has a strained hamstring. Its good we get some players in because my coaches have their tongues hanging out.
The last time Gruden was in charge of a team during an organized setting was on Dec. 28, 2008, when his Bucs were beaten 31-24 by the Cable-coached Raiders in Tampa Bay and knocked out of the playoff race.
Im really excited, Gruden said. Its been a long time. Weve been here preparing for this day for so long. It will be limited, but well put the boat in the water and it will be fun.
The conditioning phase of the Raiders offseason is voluntary, although Gruden believes most will attend.
Youve got a pretty good idea who will be there, Gruden said. Im sure there will be some surprises. It is voluntary, and obviously wed love to see everybody here, because we are new and wed like to start selling our system of football to them and making sure they can get in the best shape they can possibly be. Weve got a lot of work to do.