Saints consult Gruden to enrich development of Carr and offense

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Derek Carr, Jameis Winston

Jon Gruden is a proven NFL head coach with a Super Bowl victory in his back pocket.

He was an intriguing analyst on television as well.

His coaching career ended with embarrassment over inappropriate and offensive communication via e-mails which were discovered.

Whether Gruden is viewed as a winner or as a bad person or both, his football knowledge is certainly valued.

That is what Dennis Allen and the New Orleans Saints are thinking.

That Gruden has been brought in as a consultant, reported by Jeff Duncan of The Advocate, is understandable.

Gruden was the head coach of the Raiders when Derek Carr played the best football of his NFL career from 2018-2021. Gruden departed after five games in the 2021 season in turmoil.

In each of those four seasons, Carr passed for over 4,000 yards, the only four years in which he has accomplished the feat. Carr averaged 4,252 yards passing per season during that run.

In those four seasons, Carr posted four of the top five passer ratings on his nine-year career, averaging a rating of 97.5, including a 100.8 rating in 2019 and a career best 101.4 rating in 2020.

In those four seasons, Carr threw 90 touchdown passes and 41 interceptions, averaging 22.5 touchdown passes against 10.2 interceptions in that period of time.

In those four seasons, Carr averaged completing 68.7 percent of his passes, including a career-best 70.4 completion percentage in 2019. For his career, Carr completes 64.6 percent of his pass attempts.

While some will bemoan bringing in a coach with a tarnished reputation, the concept of turning to Gruden is understandable. The Saints are not hiring him on a permanent basis.

The Saints were all in on trying to get Deshaun Watson a year ago, much to the chagrin of many fans and observers, based on Watson’s off-field actions with litigation pending against him. Watson chose Cleveland, allowing many critics to retreat, though it was clear the Saints wanted him.

The Saints are all in on trying to win, as they should be. The question of “at what cost?” is paramount. Some will dismiss it as being in the past, others will not like going after a coach and a player with substantive negativity surrounding them.

The thought process with Gruden is not about his character or past, it is about his football knowledge and his knowledge of Carr and the similarities of the West Coast offensive scheme principles which both the Saints and Raiders employ, brought here by Sean Payton.

It was Payton who worked with Gruden with the Philadelphia Eagles and the concepts gleaned from the future Saints coach from the future Raiders and Buccaneers coach was seized and utilized successfully by Payton with Drew Brees in New Orleans.

By all accounts, Carr has adapted to the offense of Pete Carmichael quite well, if not seamlessly. The similarities of what he ran with the Raiders and what he is running in New Orleans are evident.

Carr’s knowledge of the offense will allow him to make pre-snap calls and adjustments, reminiscent of the glory days with Brees running the show. Carr has the ability to make more throws than Brees could but the knowledge and accuracy of Brees will be extremely difficult to match, given the consistent, virtually unparalleled success Brees fashioned with the Saints.

If Gruden’s input proves valuable and if Carr plays well and the Saints win double-digit games, win the NFC South and make the playoffs, Allen’s future will become secure. Carr’s position as the team leader at the most important position will be cemented. Fans will be satisfied, if not euphoric.

For better or worse, Gruden still has a lawsuit pending against the NFL, which has not been a friend to the Saints organization in several years, most notably under Payton. Turning to Gruden certainly will not win any additional favor for the Saints with Roger Goodell and his associates.

The NFL is the ultimate professional league and it all about results. If Gruden were a permanent hire, perhaps the narrative and opinions would differ, perhaps including here. By consulting Gruden, the New Orleans Saints are investing in maximizing results with no palpable downside to the move.

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Ken Trahan


Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…

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