Jay Gruden is now the Head Coach of the Washington Redskins… check.
So, what do we know? Gruden is a proponent of the West Coast offense… a tedious, tormentingly methodical philosophy, dependent upon crisp, well executed pass patterns, and quick reads and release. It is offensive football taken to it’s pinnacle. At the core of a successful WCO is an intelligent quarterback, who understands every component of the offense, every conceivable pass route in any circumstance, and who has an immediate grasp of what the defense is trying to do to him and his receivers.
There, of course, is the rub. There is no doubt that Robert Griffin III is intelligent. His talent and athleticism are off the charts. His arm is an accurate cannon. He does have a quick release. His escapability has caused collective screams on defensive sidelines. But, he has never been asked to run a Pro style offense. He struggled mightily when working from the pocket, (admittedly, with a handicapped O line), being hit and sacked at an alarming rate this year. Some of that was simply the result of the game not slowing down for him… of holding the ball too long trying to make a play, of not feeling the growing pressure in the pocket. There were times when he simply didn’t see what the defense was doing… Griffin the quarterback is still “under construction”. So… Gruden’s task is to teach… turn Griffin into a pocket passer, relegating his incredible pool of athletic talent to “emergency use only”.
Gruden certainly has a reputation of a developer of Andy Dalton… but what of that? Did he get everything that could possibly be culled from an average quarterback, OR did Dalton plateau, and stagnate? Gruden has been criticized for “coddling” Dalton, refusing to crack the whip when needed, to protect his quarterback’s ego. He has been criticized for relying excessively on the passing game. And, he has been criticized for going one and done three years in a row in the playoffs, scoring a total of less than 30 points in 3 games…
That’s the question. Is he the man Griffin needs? There is no doubt that the future of this team is currently tied to him. Gruden needs to know… Griffin is a young man who is used to discipline. An occasional kick in the butt is not going to break him… he needs to know that his coach will demand his best… Earn his respect, Coach Gruden…
I am optimistic.