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Jon Gruden on Chiefs offense: ‘They make you defend every inch of grass’

‘I never wanted to leave the Raiders’: Jon Gruden introduced as head coach

Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden speaks at his introductory news conference on Tuesday, January 9, 2018.
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Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden speaks at his introductory news conference on Tuesday, January 9, 2018.

Raiders coach Jon Gruden may not have been watching Sunday’s Chiefs game as it unfolded, but he took note of how they started the season.

On the third play of a 40-26 win at Jacksonville, Sammy Watkins took a short pass from Patrick Mahomes to the house for a 68-yard touchdown. The Chiefs needed just 96 seconds to get on the board in the 2019 season.

“You watch the Chiefs, the first possession, I think Sammy Watkins catches an 8-yard pass and he looks like a rocket ship coming out the back end,” Gruden said in a news conference Tuesday, a day after the Raiders beat the Broncos. “They got a lot of skill, man, and Mahomes is spectacular. That guy is amazing. And defensively, they’ve got a new coordinator, they’ve got a whole new cast of players. Frank Clark is there, the Honey Badger is over there. It’ll be a tough, tough game for us on a short week certainly.”

The Chiefs and Raiders, who are both 1-0 on the season, play this Sunday in Oakland. Kickoff is at 3:05 p.m. on CBS. After having the NFL’s top-ranked offense a year ago, the Chiefs showed no signs of slowing down in Jacksonville.

Mahomes threw for 368 yards against the Jaguars, despite playing much of the game with an injured ankle. Watkins caught nine passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns and LeSean McCoy rushed for 81 yards in 10 carries.

Raiders safety Karl Joseph told reporters Wednesday keeping up with the Chiefs won’t be easy.

“They’re a very good group,” Joseph said. “They’ve been together for a little while and they’ve been playing at a high level. They got a lot of weapons all over the field. It’s going to be a great test for our defense.”

Gruden echoed that sentiment, giving a one word scouting report on the Chiefs: speed.

“That’s all you need to say,” Gruden said. “Speed on special teams, speed on defense and speed on offense. They have tremendous speed and they make you defend every inch of grass. Laterally, with the jet sweeps, you’ve got to defend them sideline to sideline, they can outrun you, outflank you, and vertically, they can run right by you over the top.

“And Mahomes can make any throw ... right- or left-handed, looking or not looking, so you understand the problem that everybody has dealing with them, and Andy Reid is pulling the strings and he’s a hard guy to deal with, too.”

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