Through the preseason games, a pick has emerged as the best pick of the year for Redskins – Jay Gruden.
From a management point of view, Gruden is a walking business school lesson.
Some of his brilliant managerial moves:
- He has lowered expectations for RG3 for both RG3 and the fans that are sensible and listen.
- He hired Doug Williams to help build up RG3 and has earned RG3′s trust, respect despite openly mentioning RG3′s shortcomings.
- He has shown awareness of the key concerns of fans and communication them effectively (i.e. he knows fans wanted Morgan Moses to immediately replace TyPo).
- He kept some existing staff with head coaching experience, and has been totally open about being a ‘newbie’ at the head coach position and open to input.
- He actually tells the truth at press conferences.
- He seems to want to play to the strengths of the individual players and not stick to his preconceived plans at their expense.
- He adapts his plans, doesn’t force them, i.e. pouncing on DeSean Jackson when he became available.
- He seems to see the weaknesses on the team and is willing to give players a chance solely based on their performance, not on their ability to hail him as their king (a welcome change).
- His first draft class of 2014 looks INCREDIBLE so far (Breeland, Grant, Murphy, Seastrunk are HUGE draft steals).
- He is focused on fundamentals such as tackling and pass rushing.
The real test will be how he handles his mistakes. So far, his openness and honesty has been refreshing.
The mistakes will come. Carroll has turned the Seahawks into a powerhouse team. Yet he banked on Matt Flynn as their QB – a huge blunder. However, he was QUICK to recognize his mistake and put in Russell Wilson in training camp as their starter.
Gruden’s test will most likely come with the offensive line. Although he hired an incredible coach in Baker for pass rushing, he failed to find his equivalent for a blocking coach. The tight ends, full back and running backs need to be close to 100% in their blocking for the Redskins to succeed because of the Redskins weak offensive line. They blocked poorly against the Browns, and it exposed how bad the offensive line really is. Obviously, the lineman need extra help.
It was telling that Williams and Lauvao went off to a special offensive line school away from the Redskins. First, the rest of the line should have gone as well. Secondly, if the Redskins are doing such an incredible job in house, why did they feel the need to go? The coaching staff needs to bring in a specialized coach for blocking.
Everyone is waiting for Gruden to cut Chester and put in LeRibeus. We are also wondering if neither Compton nor Moses are ready to replace Tyler Polumbus, when is Coach Foerster being canned? The Redskins are pretty much the only job he has ever held for more than a year in the NFL after decades of experience. Something is amiss on the Redskins offensive line, and it will be interesting to see how Gruden handles it.
Gruden will also need to recognize the weaknesses of the players, not just their strengths. For example, Alfred Morris needs time to warm up in a game, especially his hands. You do NOT call a lateral to Morris during the first series in a game (nor would you call a screen pass). Note that Gruden was quick to admit that his play calling needed improvement after the game.
If Gruden adeptly handles the offensive line and blocking issues, it should be a great year to watch Redskins football with Gruden at the helm.