Redskins mailbag: Gruden’s track record, Jackson vs. Robinson and more


Aldrick Robinson has shown flashes of talent. How does he compare to DeSean Jackson? (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The wait is almost over. The Redskins on Wednesday report to Richmond for training camp. They will go through physicals and some conditioning tests, and then, football practices begin on Thursday.

Then, as the position battles, system tinkering and experimentation get underway, we will start to get a real glimpse at what kind of shape this thing will take.

But until then, we’ve got one more pre-training camp mailbag, and today we discuss Jay Gruden’s previous successes, we compare wide receivers, talk trick plays and waiver procedures.

Looking at Jay Gruden’s history as a player and a coach in the Arena League, plus his career as an assistant in the NFL, the guy has won, or at least been successful everywhere he’s been. Do you believe that it’s fortunate coincidence or do some people just have intangibles that help to make them winners?

– John A. Little

I don’t think a winning track record can be written off as coincidence. Maybe some things fall into place that will lead to a successful burst. But true, sustained success comes from hard work, and a special something that few have. Every player and coach in the NFL has talent. But it takes something extra to distinguish themselves from their peers. There have been plenty of “offensive genius” college coaches or coordinators, who don’t have what it takes to make the magic work as a head coach. Does Jay Gruden have the special ingredients? He appears to have had enough to put him atop the heap in his previous stints as a college player, in the Arena League as a player and coach, and as an offensive coordinator in the NFL. Does he have enough of that special blend of smarts, discipline, vision, leadership and whatever else it takes to shine as an NFL head coach? We definitely shall see.

Editor’s note: Dave Sheinin wrote a feature that posted this morning that digs into some of the reasons why Gruden has had success and could have it in Washington.

What is the difference between Aldrick Robinson and DeSean Jackson’s games if they both play fast and are deep threats? Can Robinson be thought to be a Jackson-type player?

– D. Holmes

Both players have great speed, but Jackson is a hair faster. He clocked a 4.27-second 40-yard dash coming out of college while Robinson posted a time of 4.30 seconds. But the differences go beyond speed. Jackson has great versatility (the ability to run any route in the book) and consistently plays at a high, game-changing level. Robinson, thus far, has provided a bright spot here and there, but he also has struggled with consistency. Coaches have previously criticized his route-running ability, feeling that he doesn’t do well on much other than deep routes. Now, does this mean that Robinson can’t improve and become a more well-rounded receiver? No. But right now, Jackson is on an elite level while Robinson is not.

Jordan Reed came out of high school the 10th rated dual-threat quarterback on Rivals.com (per Wikipedia) and even played a little quarterback at Florida before converting to tight end. What are the odds we see Reed throw a pass this season using a gadget play? If not Reed, who do you see as the Redskins’ “gadget” player, who may be used in unusual or trick plays?

 – Dave Shockey, Sacramento, Calif.

It’s always possible, but super hard to predict the odds of such a play occurring. Not since the Josh Morgan pass to Robert Griffin III versus Pittsburgh two years ago (a play in which Griffin nearly got decapitated) have we seen anyone other than a quarterback throw a pass for the Redskins. That doesn’t mean Jay Gruden and Sean McVay aren’t cooking up any such plays. Remember, two years ago Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (another former quarterback) went in motion and lined up as a quarterback in the shotgun formation, took the snap and torched the Redskins for a 73-yard touchdown pass. Sanu also threw a pass last season for the Bengals (a 25-yarder). So, you never know.

Given their 3-13 record last year, do the Redskins get any preferential treatment in signing players cut by other teams? That is, if a team like the Seahawks with a strong secondary cuts a young player with potential, do all 31 other teams have an equal shot at signing the kid, or do teams like the 2-14 Texans and the Redskins have the first shots?

– Tom Lloyd

I think you’re referring to the NFL’s waiver system. If so, then yes, teams with worse records get some help. Here’s how: A team waives a player, and for 24 hours, that player is placed on the waiver wire, which means all 32 teams can put in a claim for that player. For the first three weeks of the regular season, the priority order goes according to the previous year’s standings. So, if the Seahawks cut a player, and the Texans, Redskins and 49ers all submitted claims for that player, the league would award the player to the Texans. However, say the 4 p.m. deadline comes and goes without a single team having put in a claim for the player, then the player is free to negotiate with and sign with whichever team he wants.

Have a Redskins question? Send an e-mail to mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered on Tuesday in The Mailbag.

More from The Post:

Reid: Allen’s got unprecendented control, and pressure

Fancy Stats: How Jay Gruden hurts Garcon’s value

NFL’s best QB battles start with Manziel-Hoyer

Training camp: Five story lines on defense | offense

More NFL coverage: Home page | D.C. Sports Bog | The Early Lead | Fancy Stats

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

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.
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