Redskins Exec VP & GM Bruce Allen sees new coach Jay Gruden as a "man who can put the focus of the organization back on football after a tumultuous year of off-field drama," according to a front-page piece by Michael Phillips of the RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH. Gruden was formally introduced yesterday after signing a five-year deal with the Redskins, but financial terms were not disclosed. The press conference was "most notable for what it didn’t include." Redskins Owner Daniel Snyder "took a seat in the auditorium alongside Gruden’s family, and left the franchise’s Lombardi trophies, usually a staple at these events, in their hallway display case." The Redskins have had eight different coaches in Snyder's 14-year ownership tenure, but Gruden "didn’t see any red flags." Gruden: "I can tell when I’m being lied to, and I can honestly tell you this: Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen have the fans’ best interests at heart, and the players’ best interests at heart, and all they want to do is win" (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 1/10). In DC, Mike Jones notes Allen and Gruden "worked together" with the Buccaneers from '04-08. Gruden and Allen said that "evaluating and improving the roster will be a collective effort." Redskins Dir of Pro Personnel Morocco Brown and Dir of Player Personnel Scott Campbell "will evaluate pro and college prospects, respectively, with input from Gruden." Allen said that he "will make the final decisions" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/10). Also in DC, Zac Boyer reports Allen "insisted that the interview process was thorough and that he did not enter it expecting to hire Gruden" despite the "obvious connections" to him (WASHINGTON TIMES, 1/10).
A NEW MOLD: ESPN.com's John Keim wrote Gruden is "not the typical Redskins coaching hire" under Snyder. Gruden "lacks the sizzle of coaches such as Marty Schottenheimer, Steve Spurrier, Joe Gibbs and Mike Shanahan," but he also "didn't come out of nowhere like Jim Zorn" (ESPN.com, 1/9). In Richmond, Paul Woody writes Snyder has "hired almost every type of head coach imaginable: proven NFL winner (Schottenheimer), big-name college coach (Spurrier), Hall of Famer and three-time Super Bowl winning coach (Gibbs), unknown position coach (Zorn) and two-time Super Bowl winning coach (Shanahan)." Yet he "never had hired the 'hot' young offensive coordinator, the guy who seems to have the potential to be an outstanding NFL coach ... until now" (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 1/10). In DC, Rick Snider wrote it seems Snyder "was tired of paying big money for legendary coaches and getting little results, so why not try someone ready to move up?" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 1/9).
ADVICE FOR GRUDEN: In DC, Mike Wise gives his advice to Gruden, writing, "Statistically, there is a very good chance you will eventually be fired." However, it is "not your fault." Wise: "You will simply be caught up in a vortex of an owner and a management structure that really, sincerely wants to win but still hasn’t shown it knows how." Snyder "means well; he really does." But "almost unconsciously he could soon make you compromise your values and beliefs about this game in ways you can't imagine" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/10). In Orlando, George Diaz writes under the header, "Jay Gruden Lands Dream Job -- Only To Step Into Redskins Nightmare." Diaz: "Unfortunately, it doesn't get any lower than becoming an employee" of Snyder and the Redskins. Coaches "go to Washington to lose, be humiliated and then fired" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 1/10). Meanwhile, ESPN's Dan Le Batard wondered why people "aren't looking a little bit higher" for the cause of organizational problems. He asked why Allen has a job "that allows him to make this decision when he's responsible" for bringing in high-profile players such as QB Donovan McNabb and DT Albert Haynesworth who have not panned out. Le Batard: "Why do we keep focusing on the Shanahans and the Grudens instead of the more important person, which is the one making this decision above them?" ("Highly Questionable," ESPN2, 1/9).