With each loss comes another round of negative reports about the dysfunction within the organization. Some of them, Gruden acknowledges are true and tries to offer the best assessment possible. Others he tries his best to squash and provide the truth. At the same time, he finds himself having to keep a pulse on the locker room and trying to maintain unity and professionalism there, while also maintaining a steady flow of communication with his direct supervisor Bruce Allen, who along with owner Daniel Snyder, reportedly has a differing opinion than Gruden about the future of Robert Griffin III. And, Gruden also does his best to block out concerns about job security while trying to find solutions to cure his team’s many ills.
It’s just another December for the Redskins, their fans and local media. But for Gruden, the circus has proven bigger and more draining than he expected when he took the job, he admitted.
“It’s a little bit more than I expected, yes, if that’s the question,” Gruden said. “I understand that there are stories to be had, and if you look around every corner, you can find a story about somebody negatively if you want to. We try to stay positive and upbeat, and I try not to let the stories get to me or this team.”
Gruden advises his players not to pay attention to media reports, and to keep their own social media activities to a minimum. He also cautions them to remain professional, and at times reads their tweets in meetings to remind them that he is watching.
Such job responsibilities are new to Gruden, just like dealing with the never-ending controversies of a team that always finds itself in the spotlight despite continual losing ways.
Back in March at the league meetings, when asked about his former assistant, and his capabilities as a head coach, Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis praised Jay Gruden for his abilities as a teacher, offensive architect and play-caller.
Asked if Gruden knew what he was getting into, coming to Washington, Lewis – the Redskins’ defensive coordinator in 2002 – laughed and said, “we’ll see!” I followed up and asked Lewis what kind of warning he had offered Gruden about taking the job, and he laughed again and said “I didn’t get the chance!” Lewis had granted Gruden permission to interview and knew the Redskins badly wanted him, but Gruden called following his visit saying he had accepted the job.
Gruden has admitted that fixing the Redskins has also proven more challenging than he expected. But he is determined to soldier on and find solutions.
“The way we coach should not change based on our record. We always coach, we are very committed to what we do, very passionate for what we do and that will never change,” Gruden said.
E-mail a Redskins question to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered Tuesday in the Mailbag.
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