It’s Raider Week once again, and with the AFC West and number one seed in the AFC on the line and more records to be broken, the Kansas City Chiefs have a lot to play for Sunday against Oakland at Arrowhead Stadium.
Despite the Chiefs and Raiders having opposite records in the 2018 regular season, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden proved that the rivalry between these two AFC West opponents is still very much alive.
Earlier this week, clips of Gruden vocalizing his hatred toward the Chiefs, and desire to beat them in week 17, surfaced on Twitter.
When local Kansas City Chiefs media spoke with Gruden this week, however, he bit more reserved in his responses to our questions. Here’s what he had to say:
On the team’s success in limiting the Chiefs offense in Week 13
“We missed them a few times, honestly, there’s some plays with Tyreek Hill that they didn’t make that they normally do make,” Gruden said, critiquing their 40-33 final against the Chiefs in early December. “The statistics, unfortunately, don’t tell half of the story, the way I see it. We’ve got to do a lot better job on Hill and on Kelce and on their whole offense because they scored 40 points and I think they left some out there.”
On what his team could get out of an upset victory Sunday:
“Obviously we’re trying to get some momentum for the offseason,” Gruden said. “We’re laying the foundation for how we want to practice, how we want to play, how we want to compete and I’m proud of our team. All we can do is keep developing our team, developing the way we want to play and fight like hell for 60 minutes.”
On what more he learned about Patrick Mahomes from seeing him play in person in Week 13:
“What’s really impressive to me is the command he has in the system,” Gruden said. “His playing style is one I really admire. He’s calm, he sees things and he has a game day presence that’s just as good as most quarterbacks I’ve ever seen play. That’s a credit to him and his development under Andy.”
On getting his team ready for a game that doesn’t carry a lot of weight:
“It’s the last game of the season for us, it’s our arch rivals and we want to win just like everybody else,” Gruden said. “Just because we’re not going to the playoffs doesn’t mean we’re going to go out there and pack it in. We want to win, we want to play hard, we’ve got guys playing for jobs, we’ve got a strong desire to compete and a real will to win.”
On the bigger role younger players are taking on his team:
“We’re trying to improve this team and to do that you have to know how to prepare, how to practice, how to play,” Gruden said. “We have 12 or 13 rookies playing, but the key veterans that really show those young guys how to be a pro...it’s invaluable. I can’t tell you how valuable Jordy nelson has been not just on the field, but behind the scenes. For our young linebackers to watch [former Kansas City Chief and Raider] Derrick Johnson in training camp, the way he conducted himself, will be a great resource that they’ll carry with them for the rest of their careers.”