Skip to main content

News | Washington Commanders -

Initial Reactions To Jay Gruden News


Yesterday morning, news broke that Jay Gruden would be hired for the position of head coach for the Washington Redskins.

Over the last 24 hours, members of the national media, former coworkers and NFL insiders have offered their opinions on the move. Here is a recap of the highlights:


Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis:

"I'm ecstatic for Jay. From the first time we met, I've been a Jay Gruden fan, and I'm grateful for what he did for us, his work with a young quarterback and helping take us where we've been, the last three seasons in the playoffs. 

"I knew he might get this kind of opportunity, of course, so it's not a surprise, and I just wish him all the best."


Bengals Quarterback Andy Dalton:

"Jay's first year was my rookie year, and it was cool coming in together and growing and getting better. One thing that really helped make it smooth for me was that from the start, Jay was big on asking my input, what I'm most comfortable with and any ideas I had.

"With Jay, I had a very positive transition from college to the NFL. I feel fortunate to have had him as my only pro coordinator. He's helped me in a lot of ways."


Former Redskins GM Bobby Beathard:

"I think it was a great hire. 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.

"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."


Former Redskins player Joe Theismann:

"I feel like Jay has the abilities to be able to adapt an offense to the personnel that he's dealing with. Not just his quarterback, but also everybody else on that football team.

"Jay has his own style, I think you're going to find out. I think that's the best way to put it. I really enjoyed the time I spent with him [with the Florida Tuskers], just watching him work, watching him prepare, the way he handled the football team...Just his organizational skills, the way he runs his offense, the style of offense he plays, the ability to be able to communicate to players was very impressive to me."


Former Redskins player Mark Schlereth:

"I think from a play-calling standpoint, from a design standpoint, Jay Gruden has been phenomenal. He's been phenomenal with great talent, but I think with a quarterback (Andy Dalton) that a lot of people have a ton of questions about.

"I think most owners see that, most organizations see that, most organizations want an offensive mind especially with a young quarterback who can be very creative in the way they call plays.

"Obviously the Washington Redskins saw those same things that most of us see about the way Jay Gruden has called plays in Cincinnati for the last few years.

"To me, the beauty of a guy like Jay Gruden is that his offense will morph into what he needs it to morph into to make RGIII as successful as he can be." .

ESPN's Jon Gruden (brother):

"I'm really proud of my brother. He's worked extremely hard to get this opportunity. The Washington Redskins are one of the great NFL franchises.

"I fully expect him to make the most of this opportunity." .

ESPN's Adam Schefter:

"A few things to keep in mind here: No. 1, offensive minded. No. 2, he's got the right pedigree and right background. No. 3, he has known Bruce Allen, the Redskins GM who is running this search, for a while.

"It's a situation here in Washington where the Redskins can bring in somebody like Jay Gruden. The Redskins have given this a lot of thought and have got it all planned out as to how this is going to shake out. Jay Gruden was the big piece to the puzzle here."


ESPN's Mike Greenberg:

"At the end of the day it's all about making RGIII the best he can be. If you look at the offense they run at Cincinnati, and of course he can adjust and do whatever he wants, but if we looked at the offense he ran at Cincinnati, how would that translate with Robert Griffin III as the quarterback?

"The Redskins, if you think about it, are only one year removed from the playoffs, a year ago at this time they had just gotten eliminated."


ESPN's Mike Golic:

"Jay Gruden will absolutely put him (RGIII) in the best position. Still the problem with RGIII is his pocket passing wasn't great. He is coming off the injury and when he runs he's still not making the smartest decisions and that's something that he's (RGIII) going to have to change but I think Jay Gruden will try and put him in good positions."

"It seemed like this was a process that was going to end up with [Gruden] being a head coach at some point.

"We'll wait and see who his choice is for defensive coordinator. All these guys have their list and waiting for their time where they get to pull out list of assistant coaches who they've always wanted to have on their staff."


Arena Football League Commissioner Jerry B. Kurz:

"We are very excited for Jay to seize this incredible opportunity with the Washington Redskins. He was an exceptional player and coach in the AFL for many years and has been a tremendous ambassador for the sport of Arena Football.

"We are proud of all that Jay has been able to accomplish since he first stepped onto an AFL field in 1991 and we look forward to seeing him do great things in Washington for years to come."




NFL AM's Eric Davis:

"You look at what he's done every year since his position with the Cincinnati Bengals. Offensively they've gotten better. You talked about developing the quarterback and the quarterback has gotten better as the most important position on the team.

"You look at a guy who has never been a head coach in this league but that's what they're starting to do now...At least you're looking at someone who does have experience with and talking to players, you do have someone who has experience dealing and talking with a quarterback, working with the quarterback issues and dealing with the psyche of the quarterback and the mindset of a quarterback.

"Going from a head coach that had so much authority, to a younger coach to where you may not feel that same amount of authority has been granted to him, could possibly help in that relationship from the quarterback and the head coach. Nothing is closer than the head coach of the football team and his quarterback.


NFL AM's Steve Wyche:

"Maybe they feel he is the guy who can develop Robert Griffin III; he did develop Andy Dalton. Andy Dalton has gotten better every year, now he's struggled in the playoff games but he has developed at quarterback. That has to be at the forefront at the thinking of this hire.

"Jay Gruden has never been a head coach before, he's coming to a division where Chip Kelly has never been a head coach before at the NFL level so maybe they are looking for that type of offensive bounce.

"He's going to have to surround himself with some good assistants right here because that roster is going to turn over. They've got some veterans, they're going to clear some things out on defense.

"The one thing that you do notice here is that they aren't making a radical departure from offensive schemes. Jay Gruden will be bringing in the West Coast principles offensively that Mike Shanahan ran. This isn't something that Robert Griffin III is going to have to all of a sudden learn new verbiage and a whole new scheme."


Former player/NFL AM Curtis Conway:

"You bring in a guy that is quarterback-friendly. A young quarterback in Dalton, he basically matured him and put him in a situation where he did get better--take the playoff games away and he did get better as a quarterback.


College Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger:

"I called him and left a message. I said, 'Hey, congratulations for this wonderful opportunity that the Redskins have given you and that you're my pride and joy because you've exemplified, more than any of my quarterbacks, perseverance, mental toughness, team above self and just plain stubbornness.'

"He was my quarterback at Louisville in the first year where we went 2-9. He was my quarterback when we went [3-8] and in the third year we go [3-7-1]. Then for his senior year we go 8-3 and even at 8-3 we couldn't get a bowl yet… He persevered and took the long trip.

"He didn't go up a smooth trail. He took a winding, hard trail to a head coaching job in the National Football League by being the best quarterback that ever was in Arena Football and being the best coach we've ever had in Arena Football. So now he gets his due reward. "


ESPN's Darren Woodson:

"It's a little bit surprising; Jay Gruden is a great offensive coordinator but he doesn't have the personality of his brother Jon Gruden so I wasn't sure how he would interview and if it would come out well in Washington.

"You talk about Cincinnati there is a lot of weapons on that football team; the Redskins don't have that type of weaponry. They're going to have to get out of that, personnel is going to have to be a different personnel and I'm sure Jay Gruden is going to have to find a way to go about doing that."


ESPN's Skip Bayless:

"I do think Jay is a fairly innovative offensive play-caller and creator and he did elevate the Cincinnati Bengals with Andy Dalton at quarterback all the way to tenth in offense--not bad.

"I'm going to say that this is going to be like a good cop fit after the bad cop fit that was Mike Shanahan was to RGIII. Because of that, I have a good feeling about it because I do know that Jay Gruden has that livewire personality that his big brother has and demonstrates often on our Monday night football telecasts.

"Just a gut feeling, top of head feeling, I'm going to say thumbs up to this with the caveat that I'm going to sleep on it. I'm not saying great hire, I'll just say it's a pretty good one and it did surprise me."




This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.