Bobby Beathard: Jay Gruden ‘the right hire’ for Redskins

(1981 AP photo)
(1981 AP photo)

The last time the Redskins hit an unqualified home run in hiring an offensive coordinator from an impressive AFC team was … yeah, well I wrote a lot about that already this week. Bobby Beathard and Jack Kent Cooke decided on Joe Gibbs, and things worked out pretty well.

So Redskins fans skeptical over the Jay Gruden hire might be heartened to hear a strong endorsement from Beathard.

“I think it was a great hire,” the former GM told ESPN 980′s “The Sports Fix” on Thursday afternoon. “A great hire. Our son Kurt, he’s coached with Jay, and he thinks the same; he thinks he’s an excellent choice….

“He’s excellent,” Beathard said again, moments later. “I really do, I think it was the right hire. And I think even talking to Kurt — who I really believe is one of the top young coaches — what he knows about him, he just thinks he’s the perfect guy for them. But you’ll find out. His brother Jon’s a heck of a coach, and Jay’s from the same deal. So I think they did the right thing.”

After the Shanahan mess, it’s obvious that Gruden will be tasked with creating a lower level of media noise in coming seasons, and Beathard was asked about that notion.

“I don’t think you’re gonna have any problem with Jay,” he said. “The Grudens have a coaching history in that family. The dad worked with the 49ers, and I knew him, and then I know Jon. They’re well-suited, they know the ins and outs of this, besides the X’s and O’s and all that. They know how to handle people, they know what comes with the job, the pressures and all. So I think they did their homework and came up with a guy that will be suited well for the town and for the organization and the football part of it. I’ll tell you what, the Grudens are a great football family.”

Beathard was also asked his impressions of the Redskins coaching search, which was quarterbacked — at least publicly — by Bruce Allen.

“I think Dan did a wonderful thing getting Bruce in there,” Beathard said. “I have so much respect for Bruce. He’s a sharp guy, he’s going to listen to people. So I think that the combination of Bruce working with Dan, I think Dan has somebody in there now he has a lot of confidence in, trust in, and I really think they have the formula there at the top. Bruce is a guy that is going to do a lot of research, he’s very sharp, and he knows a lot of people in football. So he’s going to talk to the right people and listen to the right people and form an opinion about who he’s going to get. So I think that he’s gone about everything the right way. I would have confidence that he would go about doing everything the right way.”

There was more with Beathard, less germane to Gruden, but still interesting in light of recent events. Like, the former GM was asked about the concept of the GM being a buffer between coach and ownership.

“You’re right,” he said. “That’s one of the jobs that Bruce has and one of the responsibilities he has, and one of the things that I had there is to be that person between the owner and the head coach. And a lot of times when I was there, there were things, I would get called out to Middleburg to meet with Mr. Cooke about, and have to try to calm him down and not go right to Joe and bring up things. That position there has a lot more to do, at least when I was there, than just drafting players – it’s trying to be a buffer between the owner and the head coach.”

Including when Gibbs started his tenure with five straight losses.

“Wow,” Beathard recalled. “It was meeting after meeting. First he was gonna fire Joe after he lost another; then he said I should fire both of you, you’re the guy that got me into this damn position. Joe and I would laugh driving home from the meeting, but it wasn’t funny when we were getting chewed out. But he was good enough to put up with us until we got things turned around.”

MORE FROM THE POST

Jay Gruden’s winding path to the Redskins.

Gruden hired as Redskins’ coach.

Reid: Gruden’s hiring is first step in fixing RGIII.

10 things to know about Jay Gruden.

Haslett, Morris, McVay are coordinator candidates | Fletcher saw it coming

Jay Gruden, By The Numbers | All Jay Gruden posts on The Insider

D.C. Sports Bog: Gruden’s Hard Knocks speech | Cooley’s reaction | More Bog

Wise: The Redskins should choose a talent, not a name

Reid: Right candidate will see job’s appeal | Jenkins: RGIII a hindrance? | Video

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @MarkMaske | @Insider | Insider on Facebook

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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