'Skins Hire Gruden; No, the Other Gruden
The Washington Redskins have chosen their latest on-field commander-in-chief.
Former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden will be moving from the Jungle to the zoo.
This season was an epic failure for Dan Snyder's dysfunctional toy, to say the least. The organization was rife with incompetence, controversy, and chaos. It could be that after running through a gamut of headstrong coaches -- from Steve Spurrier to a re-cycled Joe Gibbs to Mike Shanahan -- the even more headstrong owner was looking to find someone who took directions with less resistance.
Having said that, this tactic didn't work with Jim Zorn.
So, is this move risky, mad genius, or just plain silly?
I'm going with risky. Why? It’s hard to know where to begin.
- It's Jay Gruden, not Jon. No Super Bowl ring. No Hooters commercials. No head coaching experience unless you count his time in the AFL. (Yes, it still exists.)
- While he made some progress as offensive coordinator for the Bengals, his overall effectiveness has been mediocre, and that's being kind. Take this season. Yes, an 11-5 record looked good, but the AFC North was weak. Playoffs don't lie, as the 9-7 wild card Chargers proved. Cincinnati couldn't protect its own turf, and the NFL's seventh-longest drought in playoff victories has been extended once again. What was one of the main problems?
- Andy Dalton. Should I say more? I will, but I don't think I need to. 'Inconsistent' sums it up. If this is the best he can do with a quarterback, Robert Griffin III had best be really healed and a lot smarter with his game choices.
- Can he develop a coaching staff or will he be stuck with the cast of misfit he's handled by executive decree? If it's the latter, where does that lead him? Well, this team's Jerry Jone wannabe won't fire himself.
- Cincinnati is a lovely city. But it doesn't host a billion-dollar NFL franchise in the midst of a media contingent often confused with a pack of snarling dogs that has a penchant for star power. RGIII = sexy. JG-the-Younger = not so much. So much for not having a coach's authority undermined.
It didn't take London Fletcher long to respond with a tweet dripping in cynicism:
He can say that, since he's odds-on to retire. It was a parting shot at the old boy network trumping the interview-on-merit process.
Redskins fans can only hope the team may not have landed the right Gruden, but that they chose the right old boy.