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Evaluating Jay Gruden in 2018


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5 hours ago, NickyJ said:

You. are. allowed. to. dislike. him. but. who. allowed. you. to. put. periods. at. the. end. of. every. word.?

.You .are .only .allowed .to .put .periods .at .the .beginning .of .words .now

Oops I'm so sorry your highness. Would you like a hug 

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1 hour ago, joeken24 said:

I think the Bruce Allen narrative is just a bunch sheep speak.


I mean think about it....if that was the case, it would speak to all the guys (I consider straight shooters) as yes men. In other words, when one says that Bruce is some slim type guy trying to run the team down or is some evil guy; what they're saying indirectly is that Jay Gruden, BMitch, Doc Walker, Doug Williams, Santana Moss, Fred Smoot (and the list could go on) are somehow yes men and simply put their heads in the sand as Bruce Allen runs the team in the ground. I mean at some point, if Bruce was this much of an ass, at least Smoot, Santana, BMitch or Portis would have had words with him by now? Hell, as many times as BMitch has gone off in the post game or on the radio, don't you think he would have mentioned Bruce by now?


Just sayin' 




More gray in real life than our black and white analogies


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On 4/18/2018 at 7:51 PM, Veryoldschool said:

Want to evaluate Gruden?  Fine, he inherited a putrid team and turned it into a mediocre one ahead of an accumulation of talent.  He showed bold leadership standing up to Snyder and insisting Snyder allow them to bench Griffin and go with Cousins.  Gruden produced 3 .500 seasons in a row despite a weak roster in my opinion.  The OL cannot run block and defense still can't defend very well although progress may have been masked last season because of the epic number of injuries.  It will be interesting if the defense is improved this year.  I  look at the Skins roster and think the Skins are still several good drafts away from being better than .500.  One last note in Gruden's favor is I think the team has always played for him.  This was especially impressive this past year.  I think Cousins deserves a large measure of praise for this tenacity but Jay also.

If Jay can manage a .500 year this season I would be pleased and think he should be extended.  


I want the GM fired, whoever that is, we don't know because no one wants the title.  The roster management is I think that goes to the ownership.  I want Allen and Williams fired and a real GM hired and Snyder to actually surrender control of his fantasy team to an NFL professional if one is willing to work for him.


That brings up my last post, who would take the job if Gruden is fired?  Let's assume Gruden squeaks out another .500 season and Snyder listens to Gruden's critics and fires him, who would want the job?  It's a multi-million dollar job so there will be candidates but only the third tier guys would be willing to come and work for Snyder.

7-9 isn't .500.  8-7-1 isn't .500.  9-7 isn't .500.


There's no need for an extension.  He's signed until Year 7, I think.  We gave him one extension already. He needs to earn it and the seat is warm.  A non-playoff season this year would be his 4th non-playoff season in 5 years.  8-8 or better and he gets to see Year 6.  A losing season and it's time to send his sorry ass to his brother. 


They are only 32 jobs available.  This isn't 2008; when you can really say Dan had a hard time getting someone to come here.  If Dan makes a change after this year; he will be able to find a coach.  Gruden gets fired, he's earned that firing.  Who Dan gets depends on what he's looking for.

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IMO Gruden has shown himself to be an average coach when given average to below a average talent to work with. I would expect another .500 season or close to it.


 I’d like to see what he could do with better players. 


Bruce Allen needs to be fired or relegated to the stadium project. The new team president can give Gruden a “show me”year and fire him in 2019 If there is a better option out there.

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This thread is NOT, I repeat NOT, a place to re-hash the same old arguments about whether or not Gruden is a good coach.  This thread has a specific purpose and question, which I outlined in the OP:


What criteria are you going to evaluate Gruden on in 2018.  


We all know the track record, the good, bad and ugly of his first 4 seasons, and absolutely nothing has changed since January to change any of those facts.


So, this is a forward looking thread. 


When we get into the season, and see what happens, we can look back at this thread to see what we were all looking for, and whether or not he has met expectations.


I laid out 7 criteria in the OP that I'm looking for, 9 of which are not tied to record.  Again, trying to separate out what Gruden can control vs. what he cannot.


In reading through most of the the thread, it seems as though there are 3 main areas people are focusing on:


1. Training camp/start of season.  A lot of folks have commented that Gruden's teams typically start slow, and that can't happen this year.  Especially opening against 2 teams with new HCs. The hope is the slow start was more in relation to Kirk than Gruden, but that's an evaluation criteria.


2. Improvement of the run game.  Clearly this is personnel related as well, but this is year 5, with no appreciable change in the run game scheme or productivity. 


3. Record.  There are folks where this is just a bottom-line business, and that's wins and losses.


I would also be remiss if I didn't mention that there are some folks out there that say while Bruce is around, you can't evaluate Jay at all.  He's stuck in a bad situation, and no matter the record, or really anything else, the performance of the team is not his fault. I might not agree, but it's popped up quite a bit.


So, as we move into draft, and then the off-season, please use this thread for it's intended purpose; I don't want it locked because it turns into a re-hashing of old arguments.  


I'm sue that there will be some lively discussion about the evaluation once the season starts. :)



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If we make it to the playoffs it means he and his coaches did a good job of making younger players better.

I think he needs to be tougher on players who are not performing the way he knows they can.  Of course

we cannot tell objectively if he does discipline them when needed.  I agree with the 7 criteria you stated.

For me we should have more wins at home.  His overall record of home wins is not what it should be if he wants

to be considered in the top echelon of NFL head coaches.  I want the team to do better than 8-8 this year.

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There's only one criteria that matters and that's the overall record.  A losing record is unacceptable for a 5th year coach. Should that happen, it would mean 4 non-playoff seasons in 5 years.  Should Gruden get to 8-8 or better but miss the playoffs; then you can factor in some of the other criteria. Though for me, I've said he gets to .500, he gets a year 6. Wins and Losses are the only criteria to evaluate a 5th year head coach; who only has 1 playoff season in 4 years and that was 3 years ago.


Why just one criteria?   Here's an example.  The Ravens won the Superbowl following the 2012 season.  Since then, they have had 2 .500 seasons, 2 winning seasons and 1 losing season. Only 1 playoff birth, 4 years ago. The owner has already said, Harbaugh misses the playoffs in 2018 and he's done. The criteria for the Ravens is making the playoffs.


The NFL is a bottom line business.  For head coach with 1 playoff appearance in 4 years; there's only one way to evaluate him; his overall record.  If he can't coach this team to at least .500 record; then he has earned the right to be fired. How he achieves that, it's up him.  Achieving the many point discussed in the original post; would be a good way to get there.   I would consider some of those points, if say this was Year 3.  We are in Year 5 and there's only one way to evaluate him.  If Gruden had a better record; then you can consider those other factors. He doesn't.  The ultimate result: win/losses is the only way to judge him.




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Season will fall on the shoulders of Jay Gruden. Someway, somehow, this Front Office has followed a decent off-season last year, with an even better one this year. The pieces are there for Gruden.


If he goes worse than 7-9 next year, he doesn't deserve another shot... He gotta go. 

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Maybe I have low expectations after all these years of  Redskins coaching carousel and Vinny-like mismanagement.


But since Gruden has arrived, the franchise has been taking baby steps towards looking like they have a logical plan for their rebuild (even though Allen occasionally throws in a curve that slows that progress.)


 I'm not sure how much of this is due to Gruden, but each year he seems to be helping the team move onto a more level, professional, footing, and further away from those classic dumpster fires of the Danny/Vinny/Shanny era.  When Jay arrived here, the team was a total mess (and just starting to have to cope with the fallout from the RG3 issues).  Inwardly, many of us knew it would take 4 to 5 years to get the franchise back on track.


Considering all the Skins FO Follies (and Allen's "cheapness") perhaps we should not hold Gruden too tightly to some timetable which  demands that Jay must win this year... or else. Gruden may not be the greatest coach tactically, but he's building something in DC, in spite of some of the deficiencies in the Skins FO.

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14 hours ago, Wyvern said:

Considering all the Skins FO Follies (and Allen's "cheapness") perhaps we should not hold Gruden too tightly to some timetable which  demands that Jay must win this year... or else. Gruden may not be the greatest coach tactically, but he's building something in DC, in spite of some of the deficiencies in the Skins FO.

You had me up until this point...


The reason I'm putting pressure on him is because he tends to make some crazy decisions, and the team has now struggled to score in the Red Zone for two straight seasons now. I feel like the FO is doing a good job and if the team regresses next season, it's gotta be on him now.

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  • 1 month later...

Since the last post in this thread (or there abouts), much has happened:


- FA has essentially concluded

- The draft has taken place

- The schedule was released

- OTAs and Mini-camps have wrapped up


And we're now on our way towards training camp starting in about 5 - 6 weeks.


I thought it would be a good time to re-evaluate some of the criteria on which Gruden will be judged this year.  As a friendly reminder, this is not the place to either eviscerate or defend Gruden, it's just to lay out what the expectations are of Gruden and what we will be looking for in the head coach next year.


I went back and looked at my thoughts when I started the thread, and the first two things I identified as things I would watch stand out even more now than they did then.


1. Must get off to a good start. I said before that they had to solve the slow start issue, and win the opener for the first time under Gruden.  That was before the schedule came out.  Now it's out. They open with Arizona on the road and then Indy at home.  If they are well prepared, they are more talented than both of these teams and should win both.  They don't at all have the luxury of a slow start this year under any circumstance, in my opinion.  Gruden's got to get them prepared and they have to start quickly.  Hopefully the slow starts the last 3 years were more on Cousins being a slow starter than Gruden.  We will see.  Week 1 and 2 are essentially must-win games in my mind at this point, given the opponents. You don't want to lose to 2 average talented teams with first year HCs and then put yourself in position to HAVE to beat a more talented team down the road.


2. Improved running game.  They spent their second pick in the draft on a very talented RB. They have talked about the running game all off-season.  They clearly are going to focus on running the ball more effectively, if not more often.  While previously you could say there wasn't enough talent to really have a dynamic running game, I don't think you can say that anymore.  The only question mark on the OL is at LG.  You have pro-bowl players at LT and RG, and Moses, when healthy, is a very solid RT.  Center you have a young guy who has played well.  


Now you have a high-draft pick, talented RB who seems to have explosion, vision and power.  Granted, he's a rookie, but this is a position where being a rookie doesn't mean you can't contribute in a meaningful way. There is also depth at RB with Kelley and Perine (one of whom probably won't make the team).


You also have a QB who can keep the ball on some design runs, or read option type plays, and has excelled at including that as part of his game.  


The big question mark is still the outside blocking ability of the TEs and WRs. However, I can't see any way to give a pass on not being able to run the ball effectively this year.  If they can't, then you've got to look at coaching and scheme.  I personally believe they WILL be able to run the ball significantly better with the upgrades in personnel.  However if they can't, I believe the blame will lie squarely on the coaches inability to figure out how to design, coach and call a good run game.  


None of my other criteria has changed (end of half/game situational coaching, not blowing 2 possession leads, no duds and overall record) because there really isn't any new information to change those in any way.  However I think we have more information on the quick start and the running game, and those two areas of interest for me are even heightened now.


I also believe the expectations of the team are generally higher now than they were several months ago, based on the seemingly easier opening schedule, good draft, and Alex Smith being talked openly about as being an upgrade...


Happy Father's Day everybody!  

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On 4/21/2018 at 3:30 PM, Voice_of_Reason said:

With the schedule out, my first evaluation of Gruden is if the Skins win the opener.  It’s a winnable game against a rebuilding team with a new coach and QB.  


Skins need to come out prepared, fired up and win.


No excuses. 


*In my most recent conversations with 'The Football Gods', I was 'assured' that Our Beloved Redskins would have, at least, 15 (out of the 19 Games played in the 2018-19 Season) Games like this...



And, I, personally, have zero reasons to doubt them.


As, they are 'Gods', afterall...


'HTTR-Til the Wheels Fall-Off'!!!

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Given the roster we have now, I would expect the following from Gruden:


1) We must be 2-2 at a minimum at the quarter-mark. He can't continue to dig out of a holes every season and we have some tough games late in the season.

2) The defense needs to be drastically better. I realize he's not the DC, but he as the head coach has every right to set the tone over there. With the personnel we have (especially in the front-7) this side of the ball needs to stop being a gigantic weakness. I don't care much about where it ranks, but it has to be at least a push most weeks. 

3) The offense needs a little more balance and I need to see some more innovation. I feel bad calling him to the carpet when it comes to offensive creativity because that's his strength, but we need it to become more of a differentiator if it's going to be what we hang our hat on. Devise a game plan every week to attack whatever the opponent doesn't do well. We saw that before injuries last year (run-heavy to beat LA and Oakland, for example), so I want to see whatever we need to do to exploit our talent vs. their talent (RPO, 5-wides, whatever). 

4) Cut down on the points given up in the final 2 minutes of each half. Whether that's due to defensive improvement, better clock management, more attention to controlling the ball late in the halves on offense, something else...I don't care. Just don't let those final 2 minutes of each half be so one-sided. 

5) Win 10+ games - just figure it out. Do it. This is your team with your guys with a culture you set. Make it work and make sure the guys are bought in. 

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Thought this was a nice article recently written by Kimberly Martin of the WP (I think she's been a good addition there and has done very well writing about the Skins). Posted by @Wildbunny in BHRBN: 




The morning jogs have become his meditation, the music his escape from outside noise. Jay Gruden welcomes the rare chance to be alone with his thoughts, his headphones, and hypnotic guitar riffs or bass-thumping hip-hop.


Those minutes spent running from the team hotel in Richmond to their training camp facility have become sacred. As the songs shuffle, so do his feet, his steps keeping pace with country songs that eventually give way to hard rock and rap. Gruden’s musical tastes are wide-ranging, his favorites as divergent as the individuals he coaches. He loves the “ King” George Strait as much as he adores AC/DC and Gucci Mane.


The morning jogs give him time for introspection and self-reflection. 


“That’s my alone time,” said Gruden, as he leaned back, legs crossed, on a leather couch outside the weight room at Redskins Park.


With the organized team activity and minicamp phases of the Redskins’ offseason schedule now complete, Gruden is shifting his focus to a much-needed respite — the six weeks of downtime for him and his players — between now and the start of training camp.


Those dog days of summer are fast-approaching for the fifth-year head coach, who enters the 2018 season with a new franchise quarterback (Alex Smith), a new No. 1 wide receiver (Paul Richardson Jr.), a new running back (Derrius Guice), and much higher expectations for the organization. Gruden, who is 28-35 in his career, having won nine games only once in a single season and earning only one playoff appearance, confesses he “didn’t do a good enough job” last season. But the ever-optimistic coach believes this year’s roster is special.


“I believe that we have more firepower than ever,” he said following the team’s final mandatory minicamp practice. (In keeping with tradition, Gruden ended veteran minicamp a day early and gave players Thursday off.) “Not to say that the teams in the past didn’t have any. I just feel good about our depth and the weapons that we have once they become healthy.”


He is acutely aware of the pressure to produce. The two-year extension he signed in March 2017, which keeps under contract through the 2020 season, is by no means a safety net for Gruden, one of 32 NFL head coaches who lose sleep over win-loss records. As excited as he is for this upcoming season, Gruden matter-of-factly admits his own failings, sometimes as a play-caller, other times as a clock-manager.


“I’ve got to do a much better job,” he said, before rattling off his missteps in rapid succession. “I could’ve called better games. Maybe used a timeout here or there. There’s a lot of things I could have done. You always second-guess yourself. Throw the ball when you ran it. Gone for it on fourth down against the Saints. Call a better play on third and 1 so they don’t get the ball back to [Drew] Brees, where he goes down and goes for two. That’s the game right there.”


In Week 11, New Orleans rallied from a 15-point deficit in the final six minutes (courtesy of two touchdown passes by Brees on the Saints’ final two possessions of regulation) before defeating the Redskins, 34-31, on a field goal in overtime.


“You go over and over it in your head,” Gruden said. “The last game [an 18-10 loss at the New York Giants on Dec. 31], we could have done a better job as coaches of getting our team ready to play that game. Both Eagles games we had opportunities to win, and there’s a play here or there that you have regrets about. Some of them may be clock management at the end of the half, decisions at the end of the half to try to get some more points or just go into halftime and call it a day, where things happened and they scored and got the ball, scored in the third quarter and the game could have been different. So there’s a lot of regrets.


“If your coach isn’t accountable,” he asked, “how do you get our players to be accountable?”


Gruden insisted he “felt good” about his roster during his first season as head coach in 2014. That group, which featured Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy each getting a turn as the starting quarterback, finished 4-12. Gruden also had high hopes for last year’s squad, which was decimated by injuries and limped to a 7-9 record. But he sees “a little bit of difference” with the 2018 Redskins “obviously with the talent that we have.”


The additions of Smith, Richardson, Guice and first-round defensive tackle Daron Payne are just as critical to the team’s success as the return of Trent Williams, Morgan Moses, Jordan Reed, Chris Thompson and Ty Nsekhe, who have missed offseason practices due to past injuries. Once they’re back for training camp, “it’ll make a major difference,” Gruden said. “The big thing is, let these guys play, see what they can do and adjust our plan accordingly.”


Before the Redskins fled the facility this week, he preached to his players the importance of continued progress. But he also stressed the benefits of a well-earned vacation. These six weeks are a chance for him to “get the hell out of here,” just like his players, he joked. “Really, this is a time for us to just kind of get away. And it’s very necessary, I think, for everybody to get away from each other because once we come back, we’re together.”


But Gruden can’t escape the facility for very long. After “a week or two” off, he’ll be back in his office watching tape of players in preparation for the supplemental draft in July. He also will use his time to devise practice scripts for training camp, ensure the staff has video cut-ups from practices and to study some other teams. 


“Once you take a week-or-two vacation you’ve still got a little bit of time to do that,” Gruden said. “Come in for an hour or two in the morning, get out of the house. If it’s raining, you can’t play golf, so you come out here. What else would I do if it’s raining?”

Soon, he will be back to his morning jogs in Richmond, back to those precious minutes spent completely, and blissfully, alone. 


“I love Gucci. 2 Chainz. Eh, Drake is okay,” he said, before revealing the rap album that has brought him the most joy: 50 Cent’s “Get Rich or Die Tryin’ ”. 


“Every song on that album was great,” Gruden said, grinning as he detailed playing the album on repeat during his commutes from Orlando to Tampa when he was an offensive assistant on his brother Jon’s Tampa Bay staff 15 years ago. “I love 50. I knew all those words by heart.”




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1 hour ago, TD_washingtonredskins said:

I know this is going to bite me in the ass, but I'm having a tough time shaking the feeling that we're going to surprise this year. I have no clue why this would be any different than any of the previous 25 years when I naively get my hopes up, but here we are...


I think there’s plenty of justification for it.


For me, I’ve loved Jay as HC since mid-2014, and I think this is the best group of assistant coaches he’s had. 


The roster is as sound as it’s ever been under Dan, and I’ve felt that way since last offseason. The injuries really did kill us, at Oline and especially when we lost guys like Chris Thompson, Jonathan Allen and Nicholson who were playing major roles.  


So the signs are there. If they can fix the injury issue, we should be as competitive as any team. But there are teams in the NFC that, on paper, had better rosters last year and were more aggressive this offseason than we were to improve... so we’re going to need this draft to provide a bigger boost than theirs if we’re going to really contend. 


Payne and Guice linger large. If they can do what guys like Kamara and Lattimore did for the Saints last season, look out. 

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One of the multiple things I like about Jay and Kimberly Martin's article brings it home is Jay's humility and quest to improve.  There are coaches who have been here and front office types that to me come off arrogant and stuck in the mud.   Jay on the other hand isn't like that.  He comes off very likable even from my small personal experience with him and definitely as to how he comes off in interviews.


I've made it clear multiple times that in my view this team could use a dose of class and could use a spokesperson who adds a strong element of needed likability to this franchise -- Jay to me is the perfect coach on that front.   You need a coach with this team IMO who is good at blocking out noise -- that's Jay, too.


I think he's a good coach, too.  I have a few beefs with him (but I do with all of our coaches) but no one is perfect.  Main thing for me is clock management so I liked reading that Jay is working on it.  But overall, the dude IMO is the #1 reason why the team has hung in there in recent years -- his coaching and his personnel skills which we've heard over and over again are really good.


I thought it was cool in the ESPN article about the recent draft where personnel guys from different teams weighed in on other teams drafts and for the Redskins the rap they gave was Jay is really good at player evaluation.    They didn't highlight anyone else -- they focused on him.


Scot told me to my face that Jay was a great person and great evaluator.

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On 4/21/2018 at 3:30 PM, Voice_of_Reason said:

With the schedule out, my first evaluation of Gruden is if the Skins win the opener.  It’s a winnable game against a rebuilding team with a new coach and QB.  


Skins need to come out prepared, fired up and win.


No excuses. 


A new QB, new RB, new WRs behind a line that won't likely play a ton in the preseason. Game one is likely to be about the defense. We are likely to start Smith, Doctson, Guice, & Richardson - thats not going to be a quick build imo. Buddha Baker is going to be incredible, imo, they have pieces to cause problems, we need to create turnovers, have a great special teams game, & work the clock. Imho. 


As for Jay, I did want to fire him, but only to keep McVay. My plan was to hire McVay, trade Kirk & move up for Deshaun Watson. That would have been nice, until Watson tore his knee again. Of course, I had just binge watched Cheers -- emotions were running high, times were wild...borderline unsafe, in volsmettown USA. 


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Aside from clock management stuff and perhaps getting the team fired up before the 2nd half-- my biggest worry with him [big cliché] has always been the running scheme.  This is Jay's year to prove that he's either an "elite" offensive mind, or someone who prefers job-security over evolving our team's gameplan.


The great coaches do it on both sides of the ball.  I think Jay is starting to feel like this finally becoming "his" team-- and the staff he's been building is indicative of that. I personally have unreasonably high expectations for next season-- but if the dominoes fall flat... it would be hard not to cut-bait-and-switch after the following season.

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16 hours ago, pjfootballer said:

I still can’t fathom why Jay is so bad with clock management. He coached in the arena league where the last 1 minute of each half you need to know how to manipulate the clock to get more possessions.


Even removing that, it would seem that any of the 32 head coaches in the NFL need only spend a couple hours of their lives dedicated to the math involved to draw up a cheat sheet (if needed). It really isn't THAT complicated. 

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