When you’re playing a team that’s apparently not tanking but sure looks like they are, you have to go to great lengths for motivation.
Perhaps even to other sports.
Raiders coach Jon Gruden wanted to make sure his Raiders didn’t overlook the 0-9 Bengals Sunday, so he referenced the University of Evansville’s upset of No. 1 Kentucky earlier this week.
“No, we’ve had a tough season,” Gruden said, via Josh Schrock of NBCSportsBayArea.com. “We’ve had tough moments around here, so we’re familiar with tough moments. We’ve got a lot of respect for the Bengals. You ever heard of the Evansville basketball team? They just went into Lexington and beat the No. 1 team last night now.
“So, this is pro sports. This is the National Football League. I don’t really care about anybody’s record. We’ve got a lot to prove. We’ve got to keep getting better and keep working hard, and hopefully, we can find a way to win another game.”
Gruden’s larger point stands, though no one would confuse his 5-4 Raiders for the best team in the country in any sport. But they have won two straight, and have the Bengals and Jets (a combined 2-16) before they see the Chiefs on Dec. 1
“You’ve just got to remind some of the young people that you can’t believe everything you read and you can’t believe everything you hear these days,” Gruden said. “If you don’t respect Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap, if you don’t think Will Jackson and Joe Mixon are great players, then you better get some film and look at it.”
Gruden’s been over-praising players since his first stint as a coach, so that part’s nothing new. But even he might be hard-pressed to keep the list of talented Bengals going after that.