On Monday, Jay Gruden told his quarterback to keep quiet. It’s now time for the coach to do the same.
I kind of like Jay Gruden so far. I’m not sure I’m in love with everyone on his staff but I’m all in for seeing more of the Skins’ 6th head coach in 12 years. I’m not all in for seeing, hearing, or reading any more of Gruden’s public bashing of his quarterback. We get it Jay. Griffin can’t play and you don’t want to coach him anymore.
I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a coach in such descriptive detail rip his quarterback the way Gruden did this week. Monday’s public undressing included how badly he mangled his drops, progressions, and reads. He then not so subtly told his quarterback to critique only himself and to keep his mouth shut about anybody else. His comment “it’s not his place to talk about anyone else” had an angry edge.
He kind of apologized on Tuesday but still couldn’t help himself by answering the claim that Griffin didn’t put in enough time in the film room by saying, “he could do more, maybe”.
On Friday came Gruden’s couch session with NFL.com’s Albert Breer. “Since the preseason, in the games that he’s (Griffin) played, our production from an offensive standpoint has been awful.”
He then for all intents called Griffin a baby. “His biggest thing, he’s been coddled for so long.” Ouch.
And then there was this line-in-the-sand comment from Gruden. “He’s auditioned long enough. Clock’s ticking.”
And if you thought that by Friday afternoon the coach had exhausted his long list of Griffin blunders from the Tampa game, you were wrong. There was this little gem from his coach’s show on our station. Doc Walker asked him why Leonard Hankerson was called up when it appeared he wasn’t ready to play. Gruden addressed a play in which Hankerson lined up on the wrong side of the field by implying that the quarterback should’ve noticed it and fixed it. It was less direct than the shots he took all week long but you could hear in his voice how much he wanted to lay Hankerson’s poor showing on Griffin.
There it was all week long for all to see, hear, and read. Tampa Bay 27, Robert Griffin III 7. Add to that the implication that the team would be 5 and 5 or better if he wasn’t here.
What a week. Unprecedented in terms of a head coach calling out a quarterback. I’m sure that everything Gruden said about Griffin this week was accurate. The way Gruden feels is likely justified. With that said, I’m not thrilled with the way he handled it.
Leaders are more in control than Gruden was this week. If you really think what we witnessed this week was some sort of calculated strategy in a war against his owner and GM then have at it. I think it was pure frustration and emotion that Gruden just couldn’t keep inside.
Some have referred to his outbursts as an attempt to coach-up and motivate the kid. Really? Then why haven’t other great coaches coached-em-up in the same way.
I’m sure there were moments when Joe Gibbs would’ve loved to give a tell-all press conference on what a jerk Jay Schroeder was but he never did. None of the greats did what Gruden did this week but perhaps Gruden is a coach-em-up trendsetter and we’ll begin seeing more of this kind of thing in the future. I doubt it.
Publicly embarrassing a key employee rarely results in something productive especially when that employee has an extremely sensitive soul. I’m sure it was entertaining for many and I bet Gruden felt a little better when he got it all off his chest but the guess is that Griffin’s just too sensitive for that kind of public tough-talk.
Just go back through a year’s worth of Griffin tweets and tell me you think he wasn’t hurt deeply by his coach’s words. Those words were revealing for sure and Gruden may have saved the locker room for now but benching him would’ve been more impactful than humiliating him in the media.
Gruden de-valued Griffin this week for all to see. All includes other NFL teams that may have thought a draft choice or two for Griffin was worth the risk. Not anymore. Maybe it was a genius move and Griffin will play great from this point forward but a more likely result is that the Griffin era in D.C. is winding down. Gruden should let it go quietly.