Raiders' Bruce Irvin gets along with Jon Gruden because 'he talks s--- like I talk s---'

Until the Raiders take the field during the regular season, Jon Gruden won't be able to answer the questions that have popped up ever since he left the broadcasting booth to fill Oakland's coaching vacancy. In the meantime, after giving him a dreadful grade for the Raiders' activities during free agency, we're going to have to rely on testimonials from the people working under him to assess how he's been doing in his long-awaited return to the sidelines.

Based on what pass rusher Bruce Irvin had to say recently, Gruden's been doing just fine in terms of relating to his players.

"He talks s--- like I talk s---, so we get along," Irvin said, per ESPN's Paul Gutierrez. 

So, it sounds like Gruden's relishing his chance to say whatever he wants without being censored -- not like he ever had a problem expressing himself with normal TV censorship in place.


As for Irvin, nobody should be surprised that he likes to "talk s---." He's been doing for a while now. 

After punter Marquette King got cut by the Raiders and then signed with the Broncos, Irvin took to Twitter to announce that he asked the Raiders if he'd be able to play on the punt return team during their games against the Broncos. When former Raiders assistant coach Rod Woodson criticized the Raiders' offseason, Irvin fired right back. When Irvin left Seattle for Oakland, he said that the Seahawks "limited" him. When the Raiders fired defensive coordinator Ken Norton during the 2017 season, Irvin tweeted an expletive to make it clear how he felt about the move, and his absence from practice a day later might've been related.

You get the point. Irvin doesn't hold back from expressing how he feels, and neither does Gruden.

"Jon is very easily agitated," Jay Gruden, his brother, once told Sports Illustrated. "We get along great, but the thing that worried me was, if you're in the same room with him for a long period of time, he's going to find something you're doing that bothers him. If I had an itch, he'd call me Dog Boy. Move my foot wrong? Sit still."

Maybe Gruden can get a little bit more out of Irvin. Since signing with the Oakland Raiders before the 2016 season, Irvin has collected 15 total sacks, which means he's averaging more sacks (7.5) over the past two seasons with Raiders than he did with the Seahawks (5.5) from 2012-15. Still, the Raiders are dreaming a bit bigger. 

"I knew he was a really gifted rusher ... Just coming here, I thought his best assets for us was to go forward rather than go backwards," said defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, per ESPN. "He's done a good job with what we're asking him to do in the base fronts.

"Obviously, we know what he can do as a pass-rusher. Hopefully, we can get him over a double-digit [sack] mark this year. That's the goal for him."

If the Raiders can get double-digit sacks out of Irvin and keep Khalil Mack rolling like he always does, their defense might just have a chance to rebound a year after finishing as the 29th-ranked unit by DVOA. Gruden's known for being an offensive-minded coach, but maybe he'll be the one to unlock some untapped potential in Irvin.

"We've got a great relationship. He speaks his mind, I speak my mind. I come to work, he comes to work," Irvin said. "You couldn't ask to work with a [better] person like that. A guy who is football, football, football. That's all it's about -- winning and football. That's the type of coach you want in the building."

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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