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Bengals Predict Successful 2014 Redskins

Posted Mar 21, 2014

Redskins.com's Brian Tinsman caught up with Bengals WR A.J. Green and RB Giovani Bernard had the opportunity to preview Jay Gruden, Alfred Morris and the Redskins’ 2014 season.

As the Redskins add pieces in free agency and prepare for the 2014 NFL Draft, anticipation is building for the flavor of the new-look Redskins.

Will quarterback Robert Griffin III return to form and take the next step as a professional passer? Will the offensive line protect him and blow open holes for running back Alfred Morris? Will other receivers step up to take the pressure off of Pierre Garçon and Jordan Reed?

Some early clues lie in the Cincinnati Bengals’ game tape over the last three seasons, where then offensive coordinator Jay Gruden opened things up for his playmakers. Just ask them.

Redskins.com had that opportunity several weeks ago on the red carpet of NFL Honors, where Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green and rookie sensation running back Giovani Bernard had the opportunity to preview the Redskins’ 2014 season.

“He’s a great leader. He’s a players’ coach,” Green said of Jay Gruden. “He’s not going to get in your face, he’s not going to do any of that other stuff, but he gets his points across.

 “You love guys like that. You love to play for a guy like that. It’s tough to lose a guy like that. He deserves everything and I think it’s going to be great for him.”

Green worked closely with Gruden over the last three seasons, taking unquestioned collegiate talent and translating it into the upper echelons of the NFL.

“He was always coaching me to get better, always asking me what I like,” he said. “He just taught me how to be a good receiver and run my routes. Things like that.

“It’s going to open up a lot [on offense]. That’s what he’s all about. That’s a great fit for him.”

Bernard joined the Bengals last offseason as a second-round pick (37th overall) of the 2013 Draft out of North Carolina.

Not only did he play with Gruden in Cincinnati, but he also worked closely with new Redskins running backs coach Randy Jordan during his final season with the Tar Heels.

“I only had him for one season, but that season he really taught me about understanding the schemes, rather than running here and running there,” Bernard said of Jordan. “It was more so the scheme of everything and I learned a lot from him in my last year there.

 “Coach Jordan is a really good dude. A really spirited, high-tempo kind of guy. He’s a guy that’s going to take care of his players. Alfred Morris is really going to like Coach Jordan.”

Having already had the combination of the two coaching styles in his background, Bernard predicted that Alfred Morris would be a major beneficiary of their collective style.

 “Coach Gruden, I would really compare him to Coach Jordan. He’s really a players’ type of coach. He’s a guy that demands the best but he’s going to joke around with you here and there,” Bernard explained.

“I really think the Redskins will have a good season upcoming. If they can all buy into Coach Gruden’s system, they’ll be fine.

“Coach Jordan and Jay [Gruden], they’ll put him to work. I’m sure he’s used to that, but he’ll definitely have a good season next year.”

As for Morris? The Alf Man also caught up with Brian Tinsman and Redskins.com on the runway, sharing his own first impressions of new head coach Jay Gruden.

“He’s a great guy. I actually met him coming out [of college]. I had a meeting with him with the Bengals and he actually interviewed me,” Morris recalled with a smile.

“It was interesting because I told him, ‘I think we’ll cross paths again.’ He said ‘Yeah, I know.’ So it was good to see him. I’m looking forward to the offseason and reporting back and getting into his playbook.”