The Winter Report: Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Scott Winter
Rod Woodson Oakland Raiders

One of the most important tenets of leadership revolves around responsibility and accountability. The Oakland Raiders must move forward and put past failures and mistakes behind them.

The Oakland Raiders 2017 campaign began with incredible excitement. Many pundits – including this humble scribe -picked them to win the AFC West. There was a lot of chatter that the 2017 Raiders had a legitimate shot at a Super Bowl appearance.  Fast forward to the end of week 17 and those hopes and dreams were in tatters. It wasn’t even close. Not by a long shot.

Scott Winter Las Vegas Raiders Report

The Winter Report

The Raiders finished with a 6-10 record after being dominated by the Los Angeles Chargers in their final regular-season game. That game put and exclamation mark on a four-game losing streak that ended the tenure of former head coach Jack Del Rio and ushered in the new Jon Gruden era in Oakland.

This left many in Raider Nation in a mind-numbing state. Some were angry and others confused. All of Raider Nation wanted to know one question.


Unfortunately, a couple of the Raiders former coaches under Del Rio won’t let sleeping dogs lie.

First, it was former offensive line coach Mike Tice saying that players no longer want to be coached.

Wait, what?

Every player wants to be coached. They might not always admit that, but it’s the job of the coach to engage the players and get buy in. That’s not always easy as players have differing personalities, backgrounds and culture. And, yes, some players are much harder to coach than others. Find me a player who does not have a life-changing story about a coach in their past. Good luck with that.

Now, it’s former defensive backs coach and Hall of Famer Rod Woodson tossing the Raiders players under the bus. On the Fox Sports show Undisputed, Woodson displayed his ire over the replacement of wide receiver Michael Crabtree with wide receiver Jordy Nelson. It’s a fair criticism. If Woodson had left it at that, so be it. Unfortunately, he just kept going. He went as far to question the toughness and talent of Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. Something that his brother, David Carr, former quarterback and NFL Network mainstay, took exception to.

Woodson didn’t stop with Carr or Nelson. He called linebacker Bruce Irvin’s play “inconsistent.” He went on to suggest the Raiders have no players worth retaining on the defense other than Khalil Mack.

And this.

It’s understandable to see players and family defending themselves and their own. I get it. But it is time to let it go. These coaches have earned the right to offer their opinion on what happened to the team. However, just because they have that right does not mean they should exercise it. Sometimes it’s better to exercise another right – the right to remain silent. In this case, former players and coaches should choose the latter. Quit picking at the scab and move on.

One thing is certain: these comments, and the airing of dirty laundry from former coaches, shows why it was so crucial for owner Mark Davis to clean house. Yes, it cost $100 million. Yet, Gruden and his staff will bring a much-needed level of professionalism and accountability that the Raiders obviously were lacking.

Enough is enough, the king is dead, long live the king! There is really no reason to look back. Last season is in the books and nothing will change that. 2018 is now upon us and the Raiders have a coach whose words echo his call for responsibility and accountability.

“Put it all on me,” Gruden said.

That certainly shows how far the organization has come in a short time. It’s time to move forward.