NFL Notebook: Gruden’s new Raiders staff, history-making moments of 2017
The Oakland Raiders will hand Jon Gruden a 10 year $100 million arrangement to become their new (old?) head coach before the move to Las Vegas. The decision should have a tremendous impact involving the development of quarterback Derek Carr.
Gruden has gone so far as to line up his new staff. Rams QB coach Greg Olsen will come over to serve as the new offensive coordinator. Olsen was the quarterbacks coach at Purdue from 1997-2000 and mentored Drew Brees during that period. Brees was a Heisman finalist in 1999 and 2000. Olsen was Oakland’s offensive coordinator 2013 and ’14 when he worked closely with Carr during his rookie campaign. Carr threw for 3,270 yards and 21 touchdowns as a debutante in 2014.
Paul Guenther comes over to Oakland to join Gruden after serving as defensive coordinator for the Bengals. He will serve in same capacity for Raiders. Under his watch, the Bengals allowed 17.4 points per game in 2014, 19.7 points in ’16 and 21.8 points this season.
Rich Bisaccia will be the Raiders special teams coach. He served the Cowboys in the same capacity previously. Bisaccia was on Gruden’s staff with the Buccaneers from 2002-’08, winning Super Bowl XXXVII.
Interestingly, for as much notoriety Gruden has received for each coaching opening that has become available in recent years, he has a rather pedestrian win rate of 54 percent in the NFL.
2017 NFL MILESTONES
Week one saw Chiefs rookie sensation Kareem Hunt account for 246 yards and three scores on the ground, setting an NFL mark for most yards in a debut.
In week two, Chargers TE Antonio Gates became the record holder for his position with his 112th career touchdown catch surpassing Tony Gonzalez.
Week three was highlighted by Odell Beckham, Jr. who became fastest to reach 300 career receptions in only 45 contests.
Week 6, Tom Brady recorded his 187th regular season victory surpassing Peyton Manning and Brett Favre.
Week 7, Drew Brees became the fourth QB in NFL history to record 500 career TD passes, joining Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Brett Favre.
Week 9, Matt Ryan threw for 313 yards to reach 39,858 career yards in his 150th game, the quickest of any NFL QB.
Week 12, Ryan’s teammate Julio Jones made career catch number 563 to go along with 8,649 yards, most by a player in his first 90 games in NFL, overtaking Anquan Boldin and Lance Alworth.
Week 13, Brady led the Patriots over the Buffalo Bills for the 27th time in his career, setting a record of victories by a QB over one opponent.
Week 16, Brees threw for 239 yards to go over 70,000 career yards, joining Peyton Manning and Brett Favre. Brees reached that milestone faster than anyone else.
MAKING HISTORY AGAIN
When Geno Smith started at quarterback for the New York Giants on December 3rd, he became the first African-American signal caller to start in the franchise’s history.
Interestingly, there are five quarterbacks who became the first African-American starters for multiple franchises.
Jeff Blake started for the Cardinals Sept. 7, 2003 but before that made the same history with the Saints at the beginning of the 2000 campaign. He was the Black and Gold starter for two seasons, followed by Aaron Brooks.
Trailblazing James “Shaq” Harris was the Bills starter Sept. 14, 1969. Five seasons later he started for the Los Angeles Rams. Then on Sept. 18, 1977, Harris was the first for the San Diego Chargers.
Rodney Peete became the starter for the Lions on Oct. 1, 1989. Much later in his career – Sept. 8, 2002 to be exact – he was the starter for the Carolina Panthers.
Vince Evans was the Bears starter Sept. 16, 1979 and the Oakland Raiders Oct. 4, 1987.
The player who broke the most color lines as a starting QB was Warren Moon, a first time starter for four teams, the Oilers (Sept. 2, 1984), Vikings (Sept. 4, 1994), Seahawks (Sept. 7, 1997) and Chiefs (Nov. 16, 2000).
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Rene Nadeau has been involved in sports ever since his earliest memories. Rene played basketball, wrestled, ran track, and was an All-District running back in football at John F. Kennedy High School. He went on to be a member of the LSU football program, developing a passion for the game in even…