NFC East: Mike Wise

What they said about Jay Gruden

January, 10, 2014
Thought it would be interesting to take a look at the coverage of Jay Gruden's hire as coach of the Washington Redskins. We get to write something like this, oh, every several years. So here goes:
  • This was an interesting take by's Michael Silver, looking at the impact of Jay Gruden's hiring on both Robert Griffin III and Andy Dalton. Silver writes that Gruden did not coach Dalton hard and would let things slide, at least in public view. While Griffin might respond better to his style, I know that Griffin still needs to be coached hard on certain aspects of his game.

  • Here's my Bengals counterpart for, Coley Harvey, with two stories on Gruden's departure, the first of which says it was time for a change with the Bengals' offense because of the playoff failures. And here are a few quick hit items on the topic. Meanwhile, Andy Dalton and A.J. Green talk about Gruden.

  • My old Washington Examiner colleague Rick Snider writes that this time maybe the Redskins got it right by going a different route and signing the hotshot coordinator. And another former Examiner colleague, Thom Loverro, points to Gruden's last name as a reason he's in this position.

  • The Washington Post did a nice job with a full slate of Gruden coverage. I'll start with Mike Wise's column, which takes history into account and lets Gruden know if he fails, it's not necessarily a reflection on him. Wise wrote, "You will simply be caught up in a vortex of an owner and a management structure that really, sincerely wants to win but still hasn't shown it knows how." And that's a statement I agree with. I touched upon Gruden's unique path to the Redskins head coaching position in a blog posting Thursday night. But Dave Sheinin is, well, Dave Sheinin, and he writes anything better than pretty much anyone else. So here's his take on Gruden's path. The Redskins got it write, says Jason Reid. And Reid is right when he says Gruden's first task is to fix Robert Griffin III.

  • Paul Woody of the Richmond Times Dispatch covered the Redskins in their glory days. He's seen pretty much the opposite ever since, not to mention a number of coaching changes. Woody wonders how well we should get to know Gruden. It is the Redskins after all. But the first day of a new coach also is the time for optimism. Here's where Gruden has a shot as Woody writes: "He's confident. He doesn't pretend to know everything. He has a sense of humor. He's quick witted. He certainly came across as a man who plans to be in charge of his fate, his destiny, his team, his offense and maybe even his quarterback, Robert Griffin III."

Thoughts on Clinton Portis' career

November, 25, 2010
The Washington Redskins made it official Wednesday -- placing running back Clinton Portis on injured reserve after he tore an abdominal muscle against the Tennessee Titans. Coach Mike Shanahan doesn't think Portis' career is over, but it's hard to imagine him playing for the Skins next season unless he's willing to restructure his contract.

"I don't think there's any question about it," Shanahan said. "He's got such a strong will. It all depends on does he come back a hundred percent? Does he want to come back and play? He's got that inner drive that most people don't have. He wants to compete. But obviously, he's got to get well."

Former Redskins coach Joe Gibbs may have been Portis' biggest supporter over the years. He once became emotional while explaining to me how fearless Portis was on game days. But the issue that coaches and fans had with Portis over the years was his unwillingness to commit to the team during the offseason. He often returned to Miami instead of participating in the club's conditioning program. And that may have caught up with him in recent years. Portis stayed in Washington this past offseason to prove his commitment to Shanahan, but he still ended up on the IR for the second time in the past three seasons.

Mike Wise of the Post has a good column Thursday talking about how Portis grew up after losing his close friend and teammate, Sean Taylor. I've taken issue with some of the things Portis has done during his Skins career, such as calling out quarterback Jason Campbell, but the leadership he showed in the aftermath of Taylor's death was pretty remarkable. And that will be a big part of his legacy in Washington.