NFL Nation: Ruston Webster

Tennessee Titans general manager Ruston Webster visited with me, Chad Withrow and Jonathan Hutton on The Midday 180 this afternoon to talk about the team's decision to cut ties with Chris Johnson.

"There is some sense of relief that we're through it and we're moving forward and I am sure it's the same for him," he said.

He also said the team never got to the point where it offered a reduced deal.

I think it's safe to presume that between agent Joel Segal's tone in a meeting at the combine and Johnson's comments to Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean about not taking a pay cut, the Titans figured it would have been fruitless. And I'm not sure they wanted him at even a reduced price.

"I don't know that we ever got into solid numbers on those things," Webster said.

Other topics:

On the timing: The Titans had to do their due diligence. Ultimately, they weren't able to make a trade.

"In the end I had told Chris and Joel that once we exhausted those options that we would move on and that's what we did," he said.

On evolving running back economics: "For whatever reason, the way offenses are going right now, the use of the multi-runner backfield as opposed to just having the one guy has changed the economics of things. And I think you can even look to the draft and see what's happened to the running back position in the draft. Very few, if any, will go in the first round this year. So that has changed.

"The league is a little different now in how they value the position. So I think those running backs that signed the big contracts are a little bit the victims of the circumstances at this day and time."

Will the Titans definitely be drafting a running back: "We will definitely look at that position in the draft."

On the interest level: Webster said there were points in time during the process where he thought the team had a chance to get a deal done that then didn't work out.

"There was a market and there were times I felt good about it," he said.

Johnson as a player now: "I think Chris still has a lot left … . I think Chris will have a some good years left in him.

On starting the offseason program Monday without Johnson: "I think it's important for the head coach to start new and be able to move forward. Saying that if we'd have felt that keeping him was the best thing for the franchise, we would have done it. I think it's good for Whiz to be able to start anew with everybody on board and heading the same direction."

On Johnson's health: Webster said Johnson passed his physical Friday and would have been able to participate in organized team activities.

On what they will look to bring in to go with Shonn Greene and Dexter McCluster: "I think moving forward we're going to look for another back with just some all-around ability, with size and speed, some explosiveness and possibly one that could stay on the field all three downs.

On how the draft class rates: "I think it's good. I don't think there is necessarily that one, the Adrian Peterson of the group that's going to go in the top 10. But there's a lot of depth there, from probably the late first to the fifth."

On confidence he can find a back if they wait until the fourth or fifth round: "I am, yep."

Meanwhile, Johnson issued a statement that he also tweeted:

"I'd like to thank all of my teammates, the fans, the staff and the coaches who have supported me throughout my journey with the Titans. I have grown so much as an individual and as teammate over the past few years, and I am excited about the opportunity to bring my experience and talents to a new organization. I'm looking forward to the next chapter and can't wait to contribute to my new team."
There is a big gulf between a team or a few of them being interested in trading for Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson and a trade actually happening.

Johnson
If the Titans can get a pick for him, that'd be great.

But it takes more than the Titans being willing to deal him and a team being willing to deal for him and the sides agreeing on compensation. (A fifth-rounder? A sixth? A sixth that could turn into a fifth?)

The team that would trade for him likely won't be willing to inherit base salaries of $8 million this year, $8 million in 2014 and $7 million in 2015.

They'd want permission from the Titans to talk to Joel Segal, Johnson’s agent, to negotiate a friendlier deal with Johnson.

Johnson would then agree to that contract with the Titans on the condition they trade that contract to the team in question.

All of that would require Johnson to move away from a very firm stance that he is not taking a paycut.

If he can force the Titans' hand and get released, he can then peddle his services to 31 other franchises. And that’s more appealing.

That’s a stronger stance on principle, and Johnson would be doing some serious backing down to negotiate down in order to facilitate a trade. (He should by the way -- it's time to acknowledge reality.)

Ruston Webster said Tuesday he’d like to get things resolved sooner rather than later, but that there is no ticking clock.

PFT has pointed out one thing that can create a deadline: April 7. That's the start date of the offseason program. If Johnson showed up and suffered a freak injury that cost him the season, the Titans would be on the hook for all $8 million.
The Titans struck a two-year deal with their free-agent defensive tackle Antonio Johnson, according to Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.

Johnson
General manager Ruston Webster said earlier Tuesday that the Titans are turning their focus to the draft. Any remaining acquisitions in free agency will have to come to the team more than they will result from the Titans being aggressive in the market.

Tennessee has signed 10 players.

Five are returning -- safety Bernard Pollard, defensive end Ropati Pitoitua, return man Leon Washington, running back Jackie Battle and Johnson.

Five are newcomers –- Running back and returner Dexter McCluster, defensive lineman Al Woods, backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, inside linebacker Wesley Woodyard and right tackle Michael Oher.

With those and the returning roster, I think we can say the Titans really have only three significant holes -- pass rusher, running back and quarterback.

As for the rusher ...

With ends Derrick Morgan (who may be an outside linebacker now) and Pitoitua, with outside linebackers Akeem Ayers and Kamerion Wimbley and with penetrating lineman Jurrell Casey, who could line up in different spots on the line, the Titans have options.

They need more.

"It's definitely something that this year we are going to take a hard look at," Webster said. "I think scheme-wise, it helps us, it opens up more rushers for us. I think sometimes in the 4-3, if you're looking for guys that can really play the run and rush, it can be difficult to find those players.

"I think with what we are going to do defensively, it opens up more players to us that can rush. So they'll be some players I think all through the draft that can help us as rushers and we'll definitely look hard at that."

Beyond edge help, what do the the Titans now have to have?

Running back is going to be the other main priority, with Chris Johnson on his way out and the Titans in need of a guy to get a good chunk of carries along with Shonn Greene and with McCluster, Battle and maybe even Washington in the backfield mix.

I can see the Titans adding a quarterback, though where a rookie would find the practice snaps needed to develop would be a big question.

Woodyard
Inside linebacker has numbers, but perhaps not enough talent.

I see Woodyard competing with Zach Brown and Zaviar Gooden for weak inside linebacker, where Webster said the two young players project. But the team's newest linebacker could also play strong inside linebacker if he's a better option than Moise Fokou or Colin McCarthy.

One more guy there would be nice.

They could add a guy who might be ready in a year to replace Michael Roos at left tackle if they are ready to move on as his contract expires, or as insurance if Oher doesn't pan out and is washed from the books after one year.

With their work in free agency, the Titans have left themselves two clear-cut needs. I won't be surprised if they address edge rusher and running back them with their first two picks if possible, especially since they head into the draft without a third-rounder.

On drafting quarterbacks regularly

February, 24, 2014
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Jake Locker is in line to be the Titans' starting quarterback in 2014.

But he’s going to have competition and Tennessee hopes the group is better overall.

Right now it’s Locker, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tyler Wilson.

Expect a draft pick as well.

“I really think you probably should look at the quarterback position every year,” general manager Ruston Webster told Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean. “I’d like to take that philosophy moving forward.”

Ron Wolf, the former GM of the Green Bay Packers, believed in drafting a quarterback every year. Hit on them at any kind of decent rate, you develop the most important commodity in the league, give yourself options, make trades and upgrade draft picks.

The thing that makes it somewhat difficult is that to take an approach like that, a team without a clear-cut franchise signal-caller probably has to commit to carrying three quarterbacks.

In the Titans' case, it’d be the presumptive starter in Locker. It’d be the veteran backup in Fitzpatrick or someone like him who could play when needed but not require regular practice snaps. And it’d be the rookie or second-year kid like Wilson.

The loser of that last spot could be rated as a practice-squad talent, but there would be very little practice work for the third guy, let alone the fourth.

Here's some detail on drafting quarterbacks from Michael Bonzagni of ESPN Stats & Information:

In the last 10 drafts (2004-2013), there have been a total of 126 quarterbacks taken.

Most QBs taken in last 10 drafts:
  • Broncos: 7
  • Jets: 6
  • Eagles: 5
  • Packers: 5
  • Browns: 5
  • Ravens: 5
  • 49ers: 5
  • Redskins: 5

The Titans have drafted three in that span, tied for 24th most.

Two of the three quarterbacks the Titans have taken in that time frame have been first-round picks -- Vince Young, third overall in 2006, and Locker, eighth overall in 2011.

That's tied with four other teams (the Broncos, Browns, Bills, Redskins) for the most QBs taken with first-round picks.

Tennessee is the only team in the last 10 drafts to use two different top-10 picks on QBs.

There have been a total of 28 quarterbacks taken in the first round in the last 10 drafts, 16 with top-10 picks.

The Titans also took Rusty Smith with a sixth-round pick in 2010.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Five things to be conscious of as the Tennessee Titans get set to watch workouts at the combine Saturday through Tuesday:

It’s not the workouts: Of course they will watch workouts with interest, but those aren’t going to sway opinions much. The two most important things in Indianapolis are the medical checkups and the chance to interview guys. The Titans will come back to Nashville with a full medical file on every guy and they will have talked to a good percentage of the players they are interested in, either in the short formal sit-down or the more casual secondary setting.

Tweeners are big: For as long as they’ve been in Tennessee, the Titans have been a straightforward 4-3 defense. They made the right call in 1999 when they looked at Jevon Kearse, judged as a tweener who might be an end or might be a linebacker, drafted him, installed him at end and watched him become a difference-making pass-rushing force. But they steered away from a slew of other guys who weren’t clearly 4-3 ends or 4-3 outside linebackers. Now, with a hybrid defense on the horizon, the franchise will be looking at guys who are not clearly an end or an outside linebacker in a different way. A flexible guy able to rush from the edge in different ways could have a whole new appeal. Those guys work out on Monday.

The quarterback plan: The three most powerful football people in the organization are endorsing Jake Locker as the team’s quarterback. Still, the team needs quality alternatives if Locker doesn’t pan out in 2014 or if he gets hurt again. It will be hard for a rookie to find sufficient snaps to develop, but the team should be thinking it needs maximum options at the position. The Titans won’t be in range of the top three quarterbacks. But might they be in the process of falling in love with a lower-ranked guy like Jimmy Garoppolo, Zach Mettenberger, Aaron Murray or David Fales? Meeting them could advance those feelings.

Same page: Ruston Webster’s scouting staff has watched these players for some time, but in-season they were picturing them in the scheme the team ran under Mike Munchak. In pre-combine meetings, they discussed altered thinking. Here is a chance for those scouts to mingle more switch with Ken Whisenhunt and the new staff. And in meetings to come, those coaches will further spell out what they feel they need and the scouts will continue to revise their thinking about who has the qualities the evolving scheme needs.

Planting seeds: I can't see the Titans moving up in this draft. They are already without a third-round pick and aren't going to get any compensatory picks. Odds are it will be difficult to resist a talent at No. 11. But if they can bump down a few spots, still get someone they love who can be an immediate impact guy and gain a pick or two, it’s surely an option they’d consider. Most teams will know that, but perhaps Webster will have a chance while standing alongside a colleague or two to plant a seed that grows into something in early May.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- One by one, they have faced the same questions.

One by one, they have given similar answers.

When the topic is Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans president and CEO Tommy Smith, general manager Ruston Webster and coach Ken Whisenhunt talk enthusiastically and optimistically.

Johnson
Locker
When the topic is Chris Johnson, Smith, Webster and Whisenhunt are far more reserved, talking about how a decision has yet to be made, and not offering so much as a lukewarm endorsement.

I know the trio in power to varying degrees. But none of them has anything on his resume that I am familiar with to suggest he doesn't tell the truth.

Given that, I'm not finding it difficult to interpret things.

Money is not an issue with Locker this season. He’s got a cap hit of a little more than $4 million and a salary of $2.091 million, which is guaranteed. He remains an injury-prone unknown, but they want to give him every chance, and they don’t have a good alternative on the roster at this time.

Money is a huge issue with Johnson, who collected $10 million in each of the past two years and is scheduled to make $8 million more this year. That’s a high price for a self-proclaimed playmaker who averaged 3.9 yards a carry and maxed out with a 30-yard run in 2013. He has spent more time publicly assessing the offensive line and his coaches than being accountable himself.

If he’s cut, it won’t necessarily be in line with the start of the new league year on March 11. Per Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean, Thursday morning at the combine Webster said "we can be as patient as we want to be" regarding a decision on Johnson.

Said Whisenhunt of CJ: “He practiced every day from what I’ve seen when you look at the records from last year, and he played in a lot of games, and he’s been a good football player.”

That, ladies and gentlemen, is not a coach doing a cartwheel about a player he’s inherited.

The Titans aren’t going to come right out and tell us much on hot-button issues when they don’t have to. Maybe they wait to make a move with CJ until they draft his replacement.

If the plan is to keep him and have him on the field in 2014, they’re doing him quite a disservice with their tepid answers. But that is not what they are doing. They are getting Johnson, his agent and his fans ready for a divorce.

They are endorsing Locker and avoiding saying anything substantive about Johnson.

Oftentimes I advise we shouldn’t jump to conclusions.

Here I am far more inclined to say, jump away.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- You want quick reaction, immediate consequences, fast change.

It's the default setting for the vast majority of fans. Your team butchers a signing, a draft pick, a game, a season, and people need to be fired. Heads need to roll. Patience isn't a virtue, it's a weakness.

If you think that way even at times, I present to you the Cleveland Browns.

They fired Rob Chudzinski as their coach after one season. And Tuesday, not long after hiring Mike Pettine to replace him, they've fired general manager Mike Lombardi, also after one season, and said CEO Joe Banner will step away in the next two months. Ray Farmer is being promoted to GM.

The Browns undergo near-constant change, and it's incredibly unhealthy.

Maybe Jimmy Haslam decided he made bad hires in Chudzinski, Lombardi and Banner. If that's the case it's better to get rid of them than to make it work.

But you know what trumps all of that? Making the right hires in the first place.

The Titans have a third head coach in five years now in Ken Whisenhunt. But it's an organization that would rate as very patient. Ruston Webster, the GM who's got a lot of power now with Tommy Smith as CEO and team president, has time to work. The coach he told Smith to hire, Whisenhunt, got a five-year deal.

Hire good people, put them in place, give them time to work.

It's a formula that's worked for New England, Pittsburgh, the New York Giants and the Packers.

Notice how teams want to be like those four a lot more than they want to be anything like the Browns.

Beware of the desire for immediate and drastic consequences.

Would the Titans draft Michael Sam?

February, 10, 2014
Feb 10
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The question of the day is about Missouri’s Michael Sam, who is preparing for the combine after publicly sharing that he is gay.

He’s a defensive end who played quite well at Missouri, where he was SEC Defensive Player of the Year along with Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley.

Aside from how he grades out as a draft prospect, will teams take into consideration that he will be a big news story -- as the first openly gay NFL player -- and let it influence if and when they’d draft him?

Odds are some teams will let it be a factor.

Would the Titans?

General manager Ruston Webster is an upstanding guy who’s well-connected and well-respected around the league. I think Webster and his scouts will evaluate Sam as they would any other player. If he’s the top-rated player on Tennessee’s board at a time when the Titans feel they need a defensive end, I don’t think they’d pass because he’d bring attention with him.

But reports from the Senior Bowl I’ve read said he didn’t look very comfortable playing in space as an outside linebacker. The Titans are going to be a hybrid front, not the traditional 4-3 they’ve been for their entire time in Tennessee.

If Sam is not a football fit, the Titans won’t be a team that really faces the question.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It’s a little too easy to look at the Tennessee Titans' hiring of Todd Toriscelli as their Director of Sports Medicine as Ruston Webster linking up with an old friend.

The Titans' GM and the team’s newest employee did work together in Tampa Bay. But Webster is a man of integrity who just watched coach Mike Munchak’s job come apart largely because of loyalty to friends on his staff who were not up to their jobs.

Toriscelli
Toriscelli
The Titans’ longtime head athletic trainer Brad Brown was let go last week. Toriscelli’s hiring was announced Friday.

“I have known Todd for nearly 20 years and have a great deal of respect for the work he has done through the years,” Webster said in the team’s announcement. “He is organized, professional and has a wide-range of knowledge from his years in the field. He also has respect within the athletic training world, as many of his former assistants have gone on to become head trainers in the NFL and college.”

Toriscelli joined the Buccaneers in 1997, after seven years as a head athletic trainer in the college ranks, split between Stanford, Miami (Fla.), and Kansas State.

The Titans have been talking of culture change, and while sports medicine might not jump to mind when considering that transformation, it’s actually an area where there might be room.

Sports science is becoming bigger and bigger, and there certainly are advances and new ideas that have come into play in injury prevention and treatment.

The Titans could be looking to Toriscelli to advance the organization in some of those areas. Increasingly we hear of players going away from team headquarters for treatment of injuries, particularly in the offseason.

Perhaps Toriscelli and a revamped department will fare better in giving the Titans a modern training room where players and their agents feel they are being best served.

Some highlights from Toriscelli’s time with the Bucs:
  • Participated in research projects on dehydration and exercise in the heat with scientists from the Gatorade Sports Science Institute.
  • Completed a large research project on hamstring injuries and other injury-related topics among NFL players. He has published many articles and lectured on topics related to sports medicine.
  • Named to the NFL Health and Safety Panel.
  • During his Tampa Bay tenure, eight former Buccaneers assistants or intern athletic trainers have gone on to become head athletic trainers at the professional or major college level.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Ken Whisenhunt's big assessment of Jake Locker will come after the new coach is in his post, not before.

Locker
At this stage, he's leaning on the opinion of the general manager, Ruston Webster, who picked him out more than the other way around.

"I really trust Ruston and his assessment of our team, and his staff, and I think that's part of the process," Whisenhunt said. "Plus, you can look at some of the things that he had on tape. Hopefully I'll get a chance to sit with him and talk with him, because that's a big piece of the puzzle too.

"Everything I've heard about Jake as far as a student of the game and how he works, has been positive. With the successful guys that I've been around, that's a big piece of it, so that'll help."

The question has never been about whether Locker will be on the roster in 2014 -- he's got a salary of just over $2 million and it's guaranteed. It's more about the quarterbacks Whisenhunt and the Titans are compelled to also have on the roster.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is heading into the second year of a two-year deal and Tyler Wilson was signed late in the season as a developmental guy. Rusty Smith is set to become a free agent.

Locker has said he's OK with competition so long as he's got a shot at claiming the starting job. I think he'd be wise to tell Whisenhunt in their first meeting that he intends to be the starter and will do whatever it takes to earn the role.

"I'm excited about the hire and looking forward to having the opportunity to work with coach Whisenhunt," Locker told Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean. "He has always had very successful offenses and I look forward to learning from him."
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Sure, the Detroit Lions have some quality players on their roster.

Calvin Johnson is spectacular, Ndamukong Suh is intimidating and Matthew Stafford has a great arm.

Those guys have huge contracts, however, which means Detroit is a salary-cap challenged team.

I understand the Lions' roster is better, but when coaches have multiple suitors, since when do they choose teams based on the roster?

Relationships, personalities, power, facilities, geography and a lot of other things can factor in.

I asked general manager Ruston Webster on The Midday 180 Wednesday about why the prevailing assumption is that the Titans had to outmaneuver the Lions as opposed to the other way around.

"I don't quite understand it," Webster said before changing course. "I do understand it, I know where they are coming from with it. But I think people are probably taking it a little bit too far. And really we have a lot to offer here in Tennessee and here in Nashville especially. That's a big part of it.

"A lot of times with somebody part of it is a connection. Ken had a connection here [and] his wife is from Atlanta. That does play into decisions that we all make. So I think there was probably more to it than what people might have realized. They looked at it strictly from a football standpoint. And football was a big part of it, but there were other things as well."
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Titans president and CEO Tommy Smith said in his one press conference since taking over those posts that he would be around Nashville regularly.

That may still be the case, but since the season ended, he has not been in Nashville once.

He participated in part of Jim Caldwell's interview by phone, per Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean. Presumably he did the same with the others. Cincinnati defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer has a second interview in Houston, where Smith lives and works.

[+] EnlargeTommy Smith
AP Photo/Mark ZaleskiTitans president Tommy Smith is expected at Tuesday's press conference announcing Ken Whisenhunt as the team's new coach.
I have not been able to get confirmation that Whisenhunt has actually met Tommy Smith face-to-face. Which makes me think he hasn't.

That tells me two things: Webster has even more power than I thought to run the football operation and Smith may be even more hands off as head of the ownership group than anyone has speculated.

I still don’t believe Smith needs to have a big presence in Nashville. In fact, I’d still argue it can be good for football people to have 800 miles of space from the owner.

I do wonder, however, what will warrant the promised visits to Nashville from Smith? After all, a press conference announcing the firing of a head coach who was with the franchise for 31 years didn’t. And interviews for his replacement didn’t.

Webster interviewed Whisenhunt Friday in San Diego, as the Chargers were getting ready for their playoff game in Denver. Smith wasn’t there, as he wasn’t in Nashville for interviews with Jay Gruden, Jim Caldwell or Mike Zimmer.

I understand Smith’s faith in Webster, and respect the team's top executive allowing his top football man to do his job. I understand that a lot can be gleaned from a phone conversation. I think Whisenhunt is probably a good choice.

But hiring an NFL head coach is a huge deal. How can a team president and CEO sign off on such a move without looking the candidate in the eye?

I’m completely open-minded about Smith as the team’s top executive. I’m told he will be at the Tuesday press conference with Whisenhunt and Webster.

He should stick around a bit after it’s over and talk to employees who won’t be visiting with him in Houston anytime soon.

That’s about everyone but Webster, Whisenhunt and the team’s top executive on non-football matters, Don MacLachlan.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans have officially announced Ken Whisenhunt as their new coach.

Titans president and CEO Tommy Smith:

“This is a big day for this franchise. Ken is a well-respected coach in this league and I am looking forward to seeing his vision become reality for this team. He has a history of building successful offenses and took Arizona to a Super Bowl as a head coach. We all share a common goal for this team and that is to build a consistent winner. I want to thank Ruston for his hard work in the process and the quality candidates that he brought in for interviews.”

Titans General Manager Ruston Webster:

“I have a lot of respect for Ken as a coach and as an offensive mind. The traits that stand out to me when identifying him as our next coach -- he is intelligent, has a track record with quality offenses and head coaching success. I really enjoyed our meeting on Friday night in San Diego and we share similar philosophies about the game. Additionally, we have several mutual colleagues that have spoken highly to me about Ken both as a coach and as a person. I am excited about Ken joining us and the future of the Titans.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer interviews with the Tennessee Titans today about their vacant head coaching job.

I can't imagine the Titans will hire him before he leaves Music City. I expect methodical, deliberate general manager Ruston Webster to talk to everyone he wants to talk to before making that leap.

Zimmer
But that could mean Zimmer goes off the board.

Zimmer interviewed in Minnesota on Wednesday, and there is a great deal of buzz saying the Vikings really want him.

Will the Titans be influenced by that? Should they be? If Webster ends the day feeling like Zimmer is his guy, does the GM accelerate his timetable?

The thing here is to get the right guy.

If Zimmer is the right guy, then Webster might have to act faster than he might have liked to ensure he gets him. He's expected to head west to talk to San Diego coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. It would be out of character for Webster to cancel that, having made a decision to hire Zimmer.

Webster can't be surprised, however, if he gets word on his way to the aiport that the Vikings have hired Zimmer.

One thing the Titans have going for them: Theirs is a better job in a more attractive place to live, where Zimmer won't be coaching a team about to enter two seasons of stadium limbo.

Quick Takes: Jay Gruden

January, 9, 2014
Jan 9
8:45
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  1. The Washington Redskins always had Jay Gruden at or near the top of their list of coaching candidates. General manager Bruce Allen already knew Gruden from working with him in Tampa Bay, as did some Redskins coaches, including secondary coach Raheem Morris and tight ends coach Sean McVay. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett worked one season with Gruden in the United Football League. So there is a familiarity, and he had an “impressive” interview, according to one source.
  2. Gruden
    Gruden was considered one of the hot candidates, maybe even the hot candidate, for the various head coach openings in the league. So once he started interviewing, it stood to reason that someone would sign him soon. In fact, his side expected a deal to be done with a team by Monday. One reason Mike McCoy landed in San Diego last year is because the Chargers had the first interview and wouldn’t let him leave without a deal. This apparently was the guy the Redskins wanted, and it clearly looks as if they went with the full-court press.
  3. Gruden met with Tennessee this week and had been scheduled to meet with Minnesota on Thursday, and Detroit this weekend.
  4. It would make sense for McVay to become Gruden's offensive coordinator. He’s highly thought of; they have worked together, and they share the same agent, Bob LaMonte. That doesn’t always mean anything, but McVay is a smart coach and also would have been a logical candidate to make this jump had the previous staff stayed and, say, Kyle Shanahan had left. It’s easy to see McVay climbing high on the coaching ladder. I don't know who would be the defensive coordinator yet, though I could see Morris being elevated to that role.
  5. I know Jay Gruden’s brother, Jon, is high on Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins. During an interview I had with him before the Nov. 25 game against San Francisco, Jon Gruden brought up his name unprompted. Does that mean his brother is equally high on Cousins? Don’t know. I do know he preferred Andy Dalton over Colin Kaepernick when they both came out of college. But Gruden said that was more because Dalton was much closer to being ready to play immediately. A number of teams liked Kaepernick, but believed he was more of a project.


    What does it mean for Robert Griffin III? One person involved in the process said if Gruden could turn Dalton into a playoff quarterback, what could he do with Griffin? Also, Griffin was a consensus top-two pick, so we're not talking a direct comparison and that Gruden somehow does not like this style of quarterback. Most coaches like quarterbacks who have talent. Griffin remains the most talented one on the Redskins' roster.

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