HENDERSON, Nevada – An emotional Derek Carr, who had forged a unique friendship with Jon Gruden for the past more than three years, had an idea in the wake of the Los Vegas Raiders coach’s resignation after leaked emails showed he had used racism, misogynistic and anti-gay language for a period of seven years: “Open everything.”
“If we started opening everyone’s private emails and texts, people would start to sweat a little … Hopefully not too many. But maybe that’s what they should do for all the coaches, GMs and owners right now. Going forward, it’s open, “the Raiders quarterback said Wednesday. “You have to open everything. See what happens.”
Of his former coach, Carr said, “I love the man, [but] you hate sin. Nobody is perfect.”
Less than 48 hours after Gruden’s resignation, Raiders owner Mark Davis, general manager Mike Mayock and interim head coach Rich Bisaccia addressed an emotionally shaken team in a meeting Wednesday morning. All three delivered a simple message: Interim training situations generally occur at the end of a lost season.
“All of our goals are ahead of us,” Mayock said. “[We’re] 3-2, one game away from the AFC [West] lead. The focus has to be on Denver. “
The Raiders, who play in the Denver Broncos on Sunday, are on a two-game losing streak.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Mayock said Bisaccia was the right choice and hinted that the rest of the season would be an audition for everyone involved.
“He has as much respect in the locker room, in our locker room, as any coach I’ve ever seen,” Mayock said of Bisaccia, who will retain his duties as special teams coordinator.
“Is he a great coach? Of course he is,” Mayock continued. “But he’s an even better man, and what I’ve always told people when I support him is that he’s the most natural male leader I’ve ever been with.”
Mayock now has the final say in personnel decisions on Bisaccia, a designation Gruden previously held on Mayock.
Bisaccia, 61, has been an NFL assistant for 20 seasons, 11 of which were under Gruden, with stops in Tampa Bay, San Diego, Dallas and with the Raiders. But he has never been a head coach at any level since his career began in 1983.
He read a prepared statement at the beginning of its availability in the media.
“Coach Gruden gave me the opportunity to coach in the National Football League and I will always be grateful for that,” Bisaccia said, his voice cracking. “That said, we all have a responsibility here and we have to be responsible for our words and actions. No one is greater than the Raiders shield. The Raiders have always stood for diversity, inclusion and social justice. It is important to live those ideals and carry them into the future. We cannot change the past, but we can do more to perhaps improve tomorrow. “
Bisaccia also echoed Mayock’s message.
“What is unique to us is that we have a good team,” he said. “We have 12 games [remaining]We feel like we have a lot of time, we feel like all of our goals are still in front of us.
“We were 3-0 at the same time, we lost two games. There is a bump in the road, it is not the end of the road. We are just going to put our heads together and put the players in the best position.” they can win the game, and we’ll see what happens on Sunday … I have a 7 year old granddaughter who can put a lot of X’s and O’s on the board, but I tell the players time, they’re the ones that make the X’s and O’s Or come to life. “
Gruden had been the offensive player. That responsibility will now belong to offensive coordinator Greg Olson, who was the Raiders’ OC and play-qualifier when Carr was a rookie in 2014.
Carr said hearing Olson’s voice during practice was familiar, but jarring, considering how long he had listened to Gruden.
The practice field was a respite from the emotional surge the Raiders had been feeling.
“What I told the players this morning is that there is a spectrum of opinions about Jon Gruden, from total condemnation to total empathy and everything in between,” Mayock said. “And what I told the players, basically, is that they have a right to their position. They have a right to have a say on that. But ultimately … the team has to come first at some point, after family and your religion.
“I have spoken with a number of the black players. We have communicated with a group of players, black and white. They all have emotions and feelings. I have spoken with some of the people in my department who are black. My director of career exploration [Dwayne Joseph]I just said, ‘DJ, I can’t put myself in your shoes, help me.’
Defensive end Carl Nassib, the first active NFL player to announce that he is gay, applied for and was granted a personal day.
“We’ve spent a good amount of time trying to help these guys and talk to them, and not talk to them but talk to them,” Mayock said. “The other thing I’d say is just for Carl [Nassib]Let’s be honest, it’s an openly gay community.
“We have a great community of African American players. We’re trying to do everything we can for that community too, obviously. It started there. Nobody forgets that. I’m trying to work with everyone and we’re going to keep doing that.”
When asked who he was thinking of on his first day as an interim coach, Bisaccia said he was thinking of his parents.
“My dad [acted like he] he was the head football coach for the New York Giants, “he said.” He never told anyone, you know? I have five sisters, four children, five grandchildren. Get a chance to coach the Las Vegas Raiders. Wow, right? So, I guess, really, that’s the only thing that’s going to drown me. “