Breaking his prolonged silence from the NFL, Jon Gruden has made a surprising comeback by making his way to New Orleans. The former Raiders head coach has taken up a new role, joining the Saints to provide crucial support and guidance to his long-time friend, Derek Carr.
As reported by NOLA.com, Gruden has been immersing himself in the Saints’ environment, focusing on helping Carr navigate the transition from the offensive system he ran with the Raiders to the one he will now operate within the Saints organization.
Interestingly, the offensive scheme employed by the Saints shares notable similarities with the one Carr was accustomed to under Gruden’s tenure with the Raiders. This connection can be traced back to Sean Payton, the mastermind behind the Saints’ offense.
While Payton has since moved on, the current offensive coordinator, Pete Carmichael, spent an impressive 16 seasons under Payton’s wing, ensuring continuity in the team’s offensive philosophy.
Gruden and Payton’s offensive bond can be traced back to their time together in Philadelphia. During the 1997 season, Gruden served as the Eagles‘ offensive coordinator while Payton assumed the role of quarterbacks coach, laying the foundation for their shared approach.
Carr says is the same offensive concept
Addressing the familiarity, Carr expressed, “It’s the same concept, just different terminology… Different words, different meanings.” Speaking to NOLA.com, Carr acknowledged the learning curve but emphasized the advantage of having a solid foundation in a similar offensive framework.
Recognizing the overlapping offensive concepts between the Saints and Raiders, the Saints management seized the opportunity to bring Gruden back into the fold, aiming to facilitate Carr’s transition. This reunion between Carr and his former mentor aims to ensure a seamless adjustment process for the talented quarterback.
Carr himself shed light on the situation: “It’s a new system, new terminology, but there are many similarities to what I grew up with and believe in. There’s still a learning curve, but it’s not as steep as starting from scratch in an entirely different system.”
Gruden previously served as Carr’s coach for three-and-a-half years until his resignation as the Raiders coach in October 2021, prompted by the public exposure of offensive emails containing derogatory language targeting various groups.