Jay Gruden: There’s a cloud looming overhead

Josh Alper
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

The Saints pummeled his team on Monday night, but the other three clubs in the NFC East were losers in Week Five as well so Washington head coach Jay Gruden woke up on Tuesday morning at the helm of a first place team.

Gruden did not sound like that was his spot when he spoke to reporters on a Tuesday conference call. Gruden said there is “a cloud looming over our head with issues we have to clean up.” Those issues include safety D.J. Swearinger‘s feeling that the team isn’t taking its business seriously enough, defensive lineman Jonathan Allen‘s belief that the defense’s “communication was horrible” and an offense that has not lived up to expectations.

Offense is Gruden’s calling card and he said on Tuesday that his focus is going to be making sure that the team is running the plays that get the most out of quarterback Alex Smith.

“We had some plays we left out there for whatever reason,” Gruden said, via the Washington Post. “We have to make sure we get on the same page as him and dissect his brain a little bit and make sure that we’re all on the same page with what we are trying to read on each given play. I am a firm believer in really, really close communication with head coach and quarterback, especially the playcaller and quarterback. That’s something we’re working on … and we’re going to get him in better situations to succeed.”

With no one showing signs of running away from the pack in the division, there’s time for things to come together before it is too late to harbor hopes of advancing to the postseason. The more issues that pile up, though, the tougher it is going to be to hold onto them forever.

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