By HCR Staff | April 30, 2020
“Jay Gruden” was trending today on Twitter. Why? Because the Bengals finally have released quarterback Andy Dalton, and the speculation is rampant that he’s on his way to joining Jaguars offensive coordinator Jay Gruden in Jacksonville.
And whether Dalton joins Jacksonville or not, he wouldn’t be the Jaguars’ and head coach Doug Marrone’s best acquisition.
Jay Gruden is.
Obviously, the Jaguars continue to need good players. This is a team that was just a few plays shy of going to a Super Bowl a few years ago, but many of those players have moved on.
As Marrone moves to rebuild in an increasingly competitive AFC South, Gruden is going to bring to Marrone an attribute that Marrone sorely needs: a true coaching peer.
In our view, Marrone has needed a peer to offset and balance Marrone’s own qualities and blind spots.
Marrone hasn’t had that on his staff. He’s had offensive coordinators in Nathaniel Hackett and John DeFilippo who were much younger than Marrone, and neither of those coaches have been NFL head coaches.
Every head coach needs someone to talk to that understands the unique challenges that come with the position.
He’s from the same generation as Marrone (they have a mere three- year age difference). When they communicate, their cultural references will be similar, their friend network will be comparable, and their philosophical roots offensively are shared as well (Marrone worked with Sean Payton…who served as a QB coach for Gruden’s brother, Jon Gruden).
Yes, X’s and O’s are important, but just as important is having a head coach who can demonstrate good judgment on a consistent basis. That, oftentimes, is contingent on whether there is another personality on the staff who has enough gravitas to talk about red and green light situations with candor to the head coach.
Jay Gruden was a great catch for the Jaguars, whether they obtain Andy Dalton or not.