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ESPN NFC East Writers Vote Jay Gruden Coach Of The Year


ESPN's NFL Nation reporters from the NFC East convened again to choose the best coach from the division, and there were unanimous votes for Redskins head coach Jay Gruden.

In a division that saw two head coaches leave their jobs at the end of the year – Chip Kelly with the Eagles and Tom Coughlin with the Giants – and a Cowboys team that went 4-12 under Jason Garrett, Gruden's choice is a rather obvious one.

But despite his opponent's shortcomings, Gruden turned around a 4-12 team and gained five more wins, along with choosing a starting quarterback the Redskins believe could be their long-term future.

Phil Sheridan (Eagles): "I'll admit that I wasn't all that impressed when Jay Gruden was hired two years ago. Back then, I was under the mistaken impression that Chip Kelly was about to become the NFC East's dominant head coach. Then Jason Garrett and the Cowboys won the division title in 2014, and Gruden and Washington won it in 2015. Kelly is gone. So is Tom Coughlin. Give Gruden credit: He greased the skids for both of them."

Todd Archer (Cowboys): "I wonder if we could have included coordinators into this mix. Maybe Ben McAdoo would have received a vote or even Bill Callahan, Washington's offensive line coach. But Jay Gruden deserves credit for sticking with Kirk Cousins and keeping the atmosphere positive in a place where that has been a difficult thing to do for any coach. But will he be a repeat winner in 2016? I'm not so sure about that."

Dan Graziano (Giants): "Jay Gruden wins "decision of the year" for his decision to go with Kirk Cousins at quarterback from the start, commit to him through some early struggles and put in the work to make sure he overcame his deficiencies to play as reliably as any quarterback in the league." during the season's most crucial stretches. But Gruden is also the only coach in the division who had a winning record and one of only two who didn't get fired, so this was kind of a no-brainer.

John Keim (Redskins): "Sort of hard to go anywhere but here considering two coaches were fired and a third went 4-12. But even in a weakened NFC East, Gruden deserves credit. The Redskins improved their win total by five games and though winless against teams with a winning record, they beat the teams they should. After the past two seasons in particular, that represented a big improvement. Gruden's decision to start Cousins, a move some players lobbied for, paid off. The Redskins had plenty of contributors in winning the division, and general manager Scot McCloughan brought in the right sort of players to change the culture. But Gruden won points with the players for how he took care of them and for how he sold his game plan each week (a knock on him his first season)."




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