COMMENTARY | On Thursday morning, The Washington Post reported, and later confirmed, that the Washington Redskins have hired former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. It is reported that he was signed to a five-year contract. Without a doubt, this move was made specifically with Robert Griffin III in mind.
While I disagree with the Redskins hiring an offensive-minded coach, I certainly am not surprised that they hired the kind of coach that they did. As history shows us, owner Daniel Snyder loves offense. If there's one thing about the Redskins that he loves the most, it's the team's star offensive player, Robert Griffin III.
From the very beginning, it was obvious that the Redskins were going after a coach that specializes in quarterbacks, so it comes as no shock that Gruden was their guy. Gruden has a very extensive background in the quarterback position that dates back to the late 1980s when he played quarterback for Louisville.
Following college, he then went on to play quarterback in the Arena Football League with the Tampa Bay Storm and he thrived. He won an MVP award and six championships. He then went on to become a head coach in the AFL where he finished with an 82-54 record and two championships. In 2012, he was voted the AFL's fourth greatest player of all time.
Gruden has been able to transfer his knowledge from the AFL to the NFL with the Bengals. When he was hired in 2011 as the team's offensive coordinator, it was Gruden that made the call to draft Andy Dalton in the second round of that year's draft. He then developed Dalton and has turned him into one of the most productive quarterbacks in the NFL.
Under Gruden's tutelage, Dalton has thrown for at least 3,300 yards in each of his first three seasons, including 4,296 yards and 33 touchdowns in 2013. In his rookie season, Dalton finished with a QBR of 80.4, but finished this past season with a QBR of 88.8. They may have had an early exit from the playoffs, but there's no denying the good work that Gruden has done with the Bengals' offense.
With Gruden as the team's offensive coordinator, they slowly improved over the last three seasons from 22nd in the NFL in yards per game to 10th in 2013. They also finished 5th in the NFL in points per game with 26.9, a far cry from Washington's 20.9 average.
Across the board, the Redskins were a bad football team in 2013. The special teams struggled, the defense was as effective as a wet paper towel and the offense was a complete mess. Not to be overlooked, the quarterbacking struggled mightily, despite what the statistics may say.
Simply put, Robert Griffin III, as he currently is, is not a good quarterback. He is an athlete, that is all. If you were to ask him right now to be purely a pocket passer, he would struggle. He is inaccurate, his pre-snap reads are often wrong and he is turnover-prone because of it. Unfortunately for the Redskins, they can't handle that, not after all they gave up for him.
When the Redskins decided that Griffin was the man they were going to draft, they broke the bank in order to make a trade with the St. Louis Rams for the second pick in the 2012 draft. They shipped three first round draft picks and a second round pick to the Rams in exchange for the pick they used to draft Griffin. They have invested far too much into him to not get a coach that's going to make him worth it. As of right now, they are coming out in the red on their investment.
While the Andy Dalton project in Cincinnati was a challenge, it's nothing compared to the Robert Griffin III project that Gruden faces in Washington. Between now and next September, he needs to transform Griffin into a quarterback capable of being a pocket passer. All the while, he needs to make sure that he stays in the good graces of Snyder and Griffin as it will only put us right back in the same situation next year.
Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen are going all in for Robert Griffin III by hiring Jay Gruden as the team's newest head coach. They are staking the future of the franchise on Gruden's ability to transform an average quarterback into a league leader.
Brian Skinnell is a contributor for RantSports.com and Yahoo Sports covering the Washington Redskins, Wizards and NASCAR among others. You can follow him on Twitter, @Brian_Skinnell.
- Sports & Recreation
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- Robert Griffin III
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- Andy Dalton
- Cincinnati Bengals