- John Keim, ESPN Staff Writer
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ORLANDO, FL. -- New Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden emerged from another meeting, ready to hustle somewhere else, and sounding a bit drained from the experience. Six straight hours of meetings, he said. It's part of the gig for a head coach; it's also a new experience for him.
"I'm a little brain dead now," Gruden said. "Being a coordinator and being a head coach are totally different, and it's starting to sink in a little bit with all the things you're responsible for on and off the field. It's overwhelming now, but once I take time to go back and read through all my notes, hopefully I'll be better prepared for it."
But, speaking at the owners meetings here, Gruden also said being around the other head coaches has been fun. It's also a bit daunting as well.
"[Bill] Belichick, Tom Coughlin, these guys have been great coaches for a long time," he said. "Now to be in the same group with them is exciting. I have a lot of work to do."
But it's work that will be a little on hiatus until he leaves Wednesday.
"I always feel like anytime I'm away from the office I'm missing out on doing something," he said. "It's very stressful, but I know we're coming along at the right pace. Our schedule is intact for OTAs... and the draft and all those things are ready to roll. I still feel like I need to be there doing something."
His big surprise thus far? How easy things have gone since he was hired.
"The communication with the staff and [owner] Dan Snyder, so far it's been a smooth process," he said. "We haven't played a game yet, obviously, haven't had a chance to meet all the players yet. But I'm very happy the way things are going."
He also likes having two former head coaches on his staff in defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and secondary coach Raheem Morris.
"Having coaches who have been through it is very, very important," Gruden said. "I lean on them heavily."
The Redskins' players can start offseason workouts April 7, which is two weeks earlier than teams who do not have first-time head coaches. But it's still later than it used to be before the new CBA.
"We'll have plenty of time," Gruden said. "You'd like to have more time, you'd like to be able to meet with them now and go over the playbook. You'd like to go outside and play catch with them if you wanted to. Obviously the rules prohibit that. But we'll have plenty of time to get going mentally and physically. Sometimes it's good to get the player away from the building for some time so he can reflect and get ready on his own. A lot of these guys are self-starters anyway. They'll do a lot of work on their own. I know Robert [Griffin III] is working hard now. He has a bunch of guys in Arizona this week. It's exciting to see them work on their own and when they're here we'll help them along the way."
2dEric D. Williams
2dEric D. Williams