Monday's NFL: Raiders tap on-air analyst Mayock as GM
Alameda, Calif. — Coach Jon Gruden found another former television analyst to help him on his rebuild of the Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders hired former NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock as their new general manager on Monday.
Gruden had been searching for a general manager after the team fired Reggie McKenzie earlier in a 4-12 season that ended with a 35-3 loss to Kansas City on Sunday. It was an underwhelming return to the sideline for Gruden, who got a 10-year, $100 million contract to return for a second stint in Oakland after spending nine seasons as an analyst at ESPN.
Gruden inherited McKenzie, who won the 2016 NFL executive of the year award for his rebuilding job after the death of late owner Al Davis in 2011. The pairing didn’t work as Gruden frequently criticized McKenzie’s recent drafts and got rid of many of those players.
Now the Raiders are hoping for a better working relationship between Gruden and Mayock, who was widely respected as a draft analyst since 2006 but now will be responsible for helping make the picks.
“For the last 15 years, I think I’ve tried to be the GM for all 32 teams,” he said. “I’ve been in all 32 buildings for the last 15 years. I know what it looks like, I know what it smells like. I just need a little help with the mechanics,” said Mayock, 60.
Mayock has no experience in an NFL front office but will work with Gruden on upgrading a scouting and personnel department that struggled to find impact players in recent years.
The Raiders have three first-round picks in April’s draft. Oakland has its own pick, which will be fourth in the draft, as well as first-rounders from Chicago and Dallas, which will be in the bottom 12 picks in the first round.
Oakland acquired those picks by dealing McKenzie’s best two first-round picks from his seven-year tenure in Oakland. Star pass rusher Khalil Mack was traded to the Bears before the season for a package that included two first-round picks following a contract holdout, and receiver Amari Cooper was dealt during the season to the Cowboys for a 2019 first-rounder.
QB Foles gets start
Nick Foles will start at quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles despite a chest injury when the defending Super Bowl champions play the Chicago Bears in an NFC wild-card game next Sunday.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson says Foles is “feeling good” and will be ready to go against the Bears (12-4). He says Nate Sudfeld is the backup as of right now and couldn’t provide an update on Carson Wentz’s back injury.
Giants’ Shurmur reflects
Things didn’t go the way Dearborn native Pat Shurmur wanted in his first season as New York Giants coach.
The Giants (5-11) finished last in the NFC East for the second straight year. They missed the playoffs for the sixth time in seven seasons and were among the NFL’s worst teams despite a spectacular rookie season from running back and No. 2 overall draft pick Saquon Barkley.
“We didn’t win enough games,” Shurmur said. “What we did well is we took a young team and a new team and a new staff and we competed, and we had some good victories. But we’ve got to do a better job of winning those close games. We’ve either got to get a stop or get a score, and that’s where we need to get better.”
CBS reports ratings boost
CBS announced Monday that its Sunday afternoon NFL package posted an 8 percent increase over last season. The network also said the ratings during Sunday’s late-game window were up 14 percent over this time last year. The Cleveland-Baltimore game went out to most of the country, and the Ravens won on a last-minute defensive stand to take the AFC North crown.
Most of the league’s television partners are expected to see ratings increases this season after years of declines. ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” also had an 8 percent increase for its 17-game package broadcast over 16 weeks.
Andrew Luck threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns as the Colts beat the Titans 33-17 late Sunday to secure the second AFC wild-card berth and a visit to Houston on Saturday.
... Interim coach Gregg Williams, who led Cleveland to a 5-3 record after Hue Jackson was fired in October, will be the first candidate interviewed by Browns general manager John Dorsey to become the team’s ninth coach since 1999 — and fifth since 2012.
Dorsey said Williams will be interviewed today and added that offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens will be interviewed at a later date.
... The Atlanta Falcons fired offensive coordinator Steve Sarkasian, defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong a day after the end of the team’s first losing season since 2014.
... Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo says he’s retiring after 10 NFL seasons.