The Washington Post

Gruden feeling ‘weight of the world’ approaching first game

Jay Gruden must oversee the entire Redskins operation, and as he nears his regular-season debut, he’s feeling the pressure. (Gail Burton/Associated Press)

Now four days away from his first regular season game as a head coach in the NFL, Jay Gruden admitted to feeling some nerves.

After spending the past three seasons as an offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals, Gruden is still feeling his way along as he learns the head-coaching ropes on this level.

The former Arena Football League and United Football League head coach said that he is working hard to ensure that he has all bases covered as he continues to prepare for Washington’s game Sunday at Houston.

“I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders a little bit,” Gruden said with a chuckle. “When you’re a coordinator, you just worry about the offensive game plan and scripting the cards. But as a head coach, there’s a lot more on your plate and I’ve been eating it all.

“It’s rough. But it’s very exciting. I’m excited about the first game – very nervous,” Gruden added.

When filling out his staff, Gruden kept on staff veterans Jim Haslett (defensive coordinator), Chris Foerster (offensive line) and Jacob Burney (defensive line), hoping to draw heavily on their 57 combined seasons worth of NFL coaching experience. Under them, he hired assistants with strong teaching skills, and he believes that their efforts more than anything have positioned his players for success.

“I know the staff that I hired, and the players in the building, it’s not going to be about me,” Gruden said. “It’s going to be about them and their success. We feel like we’ve got the players and coaches in place to put together a successful football team on the field, and when it’s all said and done as a coach, that’s all you want. You want to put your players on the field and in a position to succeed and we feel like we’ve done that up to this point, and now it’s up them to go out and play.”

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Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @lizclarketweet | @JReidPost | @Insider

Post Sports Live:

The Post Sports Live crew offers bold predictions for the Washington Redskins season opener at the Houston Texans on Sunday. (Post Sports Live/The Washington Post)
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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Mike Jones · September 3, 2014