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Gruden: Personnel Made Redskins Appealing

Posted Jan 14, 2014

Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden revealed last week that it was the personnel in place: coaching staff, front office and players, particularly Robert Griffin III.

Before agreeing to become the 29th head coach of the Washington Redskins, Jay Gruden had some decisions to make.

According to league reports, Gruden had offers to interview for other head coaching vacancies around the NFL.

He also had a comfortable position to remain in Cincinnati with a top offense on a team that had made the playoffs in three-straight seasons, something the Redskins have not done in a generation.

But Gruden elected to come to Washington, in large part because of the people already in place in the front office, coaching staff and locker room.

That started with his new boss, general manager Bruce Allen, who worked with Gruden in Tampa Bay.

"A big role. I know Bruce. I have a history with Bruce. I know his passion for football," Jay Gruden said. "I know he loves the Washington Redskins and he wants to provide the head coach with every opportunity to win."

Moving forward, Allen is expected to spearhead personnel decisions on the roster while Gruden handles the X's and O's on the field.

Both, however, are collaborative decisions as part of this new partnership.

"I know Bruce – it’s not about Bruce and I know Bruce knows it's not about Jay," Gruden said. "We know it's about us, and moving forward it's about the Washington Redskins, the fans, the players, the equipment men, the staff, and we're going to do it together.

"It's going to be a difficult task, but I know working together with [Redskins owner] Dan [Snyder] and Bruce and the coaches, we can accomplish a lot."

At the end of the season, Allen interviewed what remained of head coach Mike Shanahan's coaching staff, electing to retain more than half of its members while letting eight assistants go.

Part of the remaining contingent included defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, defensive backs coach Raheem Morris and tight ends coach Sean McVay, all of whom Gruden has worked with before.

Obviously, this familiarity played a role in Gruden's desire to come here.

"Yes, you know it really did," he said, leaving the door open for outside candidates as well. "I understand that they know football and they love football.

"We’ll see what happens, but there are good people and coaches in this building, yes."

The most important element for any head coaching candidate to maximize is the development of franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Gruden, a decorated AFL quarterback in his own right, was credited with developing Bengals signal caller Andy Dalton to a Pro Bowl and perennial playoff-caliber quarterback.

Now he will be tasked with forging a positive relationship with RGIII and ushering in a new era of quarterback success in Washington.

"Robert's a great quarterback and it’s very exciting. Anytime you want to move forward with a franchise that’s a very important position, as we well know," he explained. "He's a great player and I look forward to the chance of coaching him."

"I’m going to let him know that I’m a trustworthy guy. He’s also got to understand that I expect a lot from the starting quarterback.

"I expect him to come in and prepare and work hard and I expect him to take the blame on some throws. I expect him to be a great leader. I expect him to do extra things to be great.

"As long as he’s working his butt off, I will provide him with everything he needs to be successful and I will give him every avenue – if he doesn’t like a play, I’m not going to call the play.

“It’s got to be genuine. He’s got to believe it...I want to make sure that he’s going to be comfortable with everything we’re doing so he goes out on game day and he can succeed."

Gruden vowed to spend significant time this offseason identifying areas for improvement in the offense and the quarterback specifically.

"I have to go back and watch him on tape, but I've seen him on highlights and I've seen some of the games that we carry over and studied other teams," he said. "I see a ton of talent.

"I see a guy that can run, I see a guy that can maneuver in the pocket, I see accuracy, I see long ball accuracy, I see toughness, I see a guy that wants to win and I see a strong leader. I see every trait that a quarterback has to have to be successful.

"I see Robert having all of those, so why wouldn’t you want to coach a guy like that? So I'm excited to coach him and hopefully he's excited to play here."

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