By Sunday night, Schefter was adamant that Gruden would take the Raiders job, pending a few things happening first.
Defensively, the Raiders looked terrible early in the season. So, they fired defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. in November and replaced him with John Pagano. Oakland has been better under Pagano, but there were plenty of times where this unit could not help its offense out by creating turnovers. In fact, the Raiders set an NFL record by not intercepting any passes for the first 10 games. Oakland has one of the most talented rosters in the NFL, but the defense has to step up in the future.
So that makes it 1-1 in the battle of established quarterbacks vs. new kids on the block so far in the 2018 NFL playoffs. But that factor will be tested in all four Divisional Round games.
When Ryan plays in his 10th postseason game Saturday, he’ll become one of eight active quarterbacks — along with Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco, Brees, Eli Manning and Russell Wilson — with double-digit starts in the playoffs. Four of those players led teams to the Divisional Round this year, and each has played in at least one Super Bowl. This weekend they’ll each face quarterbacks who are brand new to playing in January.
Blake Bortles and Marcus Mariota played in their first playoff games a week ago, Nick Foles played in just one four years ago, and Case Keenum will make his debut Sunday.
Bortles, in particular, struggled in a 10-3 win over the Buffalo Bills. The Jaguars quarterback finished with just 87 passing yards and avoided being a total dud by rumbling his way to 88 rushing yards.