Washington Redskins: 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 NFL.com'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 ESPN.com, 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."

Quick Takes: As the Redskins turn

December, 18, 2013
  • This question gets asked a lot and now I can say: This is the most bizarre turn of events that I think I’ve covered in Washington. So much sniping going on and story planting that comes across as a smear campaign, mostly against Robert Griffin III with a little Kyle Shanahan bomb tossed into the pile.
  • Jim Zorn’s entire final season was bad -- the play caller plucked from the bingo hall, remember. But you knew entering that season it had the potential to go south in a hurry. He was on shaky footing and there already was back stabbing going on before the season. What happened was predictable.
  • We knew about the dynamics between Mike Shanahan and Griffin before the season. And you knew if the Redskins started poorly it could lead to trouble. But to this degree? And this sort of a full-season meltdown by the organization? The players have handled it well, to their credit. But the constant drumbeat of stories and accusations seem designed to win a PR battle, among other things.
  • Somewhere, Albert Haynesworth is laughing. You never want Haynesworth laughing at you.
  • Somewhere, Vinny Cerrato is laughing, too. You never want Cerrato laughing at you.
  • It’s also shocking to see how much this franchise has turned in the last year, with Griffin now painted as the bad guy. He’s not perfect by any means and must continue to learn. But if someone wants him viewed as a bad guy, the more that gets piled on will have a reverse effect, probably in the court of public opinion and in the locker room. Just a guess.
  • What free agent would want to come to this mess – should it be allowed to continue? Besides those who like a lot of money, of course. Still, there are agents who would steer their clients elsewhere if the money is close.
  • I agree with everyone who says general manager Bruce Allen needs to say something. Anything. He has a powerful role in this organization and if owner Dan Snyder isn’t going to talk, then someone else needs to step in front of the cameras aside from coach Mike Shanahan. The Washington Post's Mike Wise wrote a good column about this topic Wednesday.
  • Allen probably wouldn’t say a whole lot, but that’s not the point. Your organization looks to be in shambles right now. It would be good to hear from management’s side about any of this. We already know nothing will be decided until after the season. But you can still address some of the issues.
  • Otherwise, you’ll continue to get this mess. Maybe it will go on anyway, but let people know what the organization thinks of what’s going on. Is it that difficult. From what I’ve heard, behind the scenes Allen does more than you think. OK, part of that should include saying something if only to appease the fans.
  • A fan could say this much better than I could, but this has to be the most dissatisfied they’ve been over a season in a long, long time. After last season’s love affair it’s been nothing but drama and disappointment. Clearly, fans had to feel that the their devotion to 20 years of mediocre -- at best -- football would be rewarded over the next five years or so watching Griffin help win titles. And now this. Now you have no idea where this disaster is headed.
  • Fan dissatisfaction – and empty seats – played a role in owner Dan Snyder’s changes in 2010. It’s hard to see selling another year under this regime, regardless of who’s at fault. And there’s a lot of blame to go around.
  • The assistant coaches, the ones who have not created this mess are frustrated (at the least). They’re not the one’s leaking stories, they are the ones who will get caught in this wake of this disaster. Coaching in the NFL is all about timing and opportunity. A year ago some viewed the timing here as terrific; I remember talking to one person in the organization who felt like Griffin would help get a lot of people paid. Now some of these coaches and staffers will be out of work, not knowing if they’ll still work in the NFL or not. They went from a dream situation to a nightmare. Some will stick in the NFL; some will not. Perhaps some shouldn’t be in the NFL, but the fact is they were and now their careers will be shaped in part by the drama of the last couple weeks.