Jay Gruden is entering his fifth season as the head coach of the Redskins, and the offensive guru has spent his time in Washington trying to turn the offense into an elite unit especially through the air. For the most part, that has not been the reality during his tenure. However, his offense has come a long way since his rookie season in 2014 and still has the possibilities of being a top ten unit on a yearly basis.
Gruden is heading into 2018 with a new lease on life so to speak. With no disrespect to quarterback Kirk Cousins, the offense has the potential to be revamped and renovated with Alex Smith at the helm. Smith, outside of his ability to play the quarterback position very well, provides the Redskins with the opportunity to surround him this offseason with explosive playmakers in the backfield and at the receiver position. This is not to say Cousins was preventing them from doing such a thing, however with the Redskins now having some stability at quarterback for the immediate future, Washington can properly invest into other aspects of the team and offense.
The Philadelphia Eagles had an incredible 2017 season (ouch) that ended in their first ever Lombardi trophy. The style of coaching and mentality of Doug Pederson was contagious and latched on to his players. No, this will not be a “take notes, Jay, because you are not good enough” piece, but there are some things Gruden can improve upon to establish a more dominant offense in 2018.
Doug Pederson and company were hurt when their franchise quarterback Carson Wentz went down against the Los Angeles Rams back in week 14, but that did not end their season. Pederson adapted to the new situation, catered to Foles strengths, and rode the run-pass option (RPO) all the way to the Super Bowl. Not only was that the money scheme for the Eagles, teams knew what their bread-and-butter was, and Pederson forced defenses to adapt to what he wanted to do offensively. Some coaches will get caught up playing into the defenses hands, and that hurts them in the grand scheme of things during a game, getting them out of rhythm and likely making it difficult to regain it.
Now Jay Gruden will have an entire offseason to scheme an offense around Alex Smith’s play style. That is critical in this new marriage that will exist for at least a couple of seasons.
Pederson also never backed down as a play-caller, his aggressive style was an added dimension to how great the Philadelphia Eagles offense was this year. The threat of the run while having the ability to drop back and connect on a 35-yard pass was the ultimate luxury. Pederson on a fourth and one, with just over five minutes left in the fourth quarter, did not hesitate to go for the first down trailing by one point. Whether or not he had confidence in his defense is one thing, but he also had the ultimate confidence in his offense’s ability to get the first down and threw the ball in an obvious running situation. It is that type of confidence in critical situations that makes a coach look great, I am not saying he is a great head coach just yet, but this season was an excellent season for him and his team.
Gruden, for whatever reason, has often called games inconsistently and timidly. Of course, it is not always on the coach, the players have to execute, but when one is conservative as a coach the calls that go with that play style can also hurt them. Look at how the Jacksonville Jaguars played the New England Patriots up ten late in the AFC Championship game, there is no doubt in the minds of many of the Jaguars would want a re-do of that fourth quarter. Again, after this off-season, Gruden will have an opportunity to redefine his style of coaching, and it will benefit him and the Redskins offense in the long run.
What are your thoughts? Do you think Jay Gruden needs to change his style as a play-caller? Let us know.