By HCR Staff | Aug. 17, 2018
Between now and the start of the 2018 season, Head Coach Ranking will provide a scouting report on all 32 NFL head coaches. Today, we’ll take a look at Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden.
The “other” Gruden may not have won a Super Bowl yet, but Dan Snyder does have himself a fine football coach, and one who still is growing. And while he doesn’t have a Super Bowl, he is a winner as a head coach, having won multiple Arena Football titles as a head coach and player. Yes, we know it isn’t the NFL level obviously, but it does indicate that when Jay Gruden is involved with football, he has won and can win.
Unfortunately for Gruden, he has had to deal with an enormous amount of injuries. We generally don’t like to speak about injuries, as every coach has to deal with them, but Gruden has had more than his share.
In 2016, his defense was decimated but the Redskins finished above .500.
Last season, his record was 7-9, but nearly his entire starting offensive line was wiped out. On top of that, top pick DL Jonathan Allen was off to a dominant start until his season was cut short.
Even with a depleted offensive line, Gruden’s offense moved the ball. He is also beginning his own coaching tree (Sean McVay).
Gruden also is handicapped by the fact that he isn’t in control of his football operation. If he were, Kirk Cousins still might be his QB and the drama that went on with Cousins’ contract negotiations might not have cast a cloud over the entire franchise.
Gruden is a terrific offensive game planner and play caller. Defensively, he has an experienced DC in Greg Manusky as well as former head coach Jim Tomsula doing what he does best — coaching the DL.
Already though, the injury bug is starting to bite the Redskins’ brightest young stars (LB Ryan Anderson, first-round pick Da’Ron Payne, RB Derrius Guice). Gruden simply needs to either hope for more luck here or completely reassess how he does things in practice as well.
But even though Gruden has to break in a new QB, we see the Redskins competing well in this division. Gruden has more grit than is visible to the eye, and he’s a better strategist than people know. He stacks up well with the other head coaches in this division, so we expect the Redskins to contend.
Previous HC Previews:
Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks
Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams
Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers
Steve Wilks, Arizona Cardinals
Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers
Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings
Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions
Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears
Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints
Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons
Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers