The Washington Redskins have hired Jay Gruden as their new head coach. And while it seems Gruden was the man they really wanted, there’s a sentiment out there that Gruden is not a worthy choice. Some seem to think that he doesn’t have enough experience, or that the fact that his name is Gruden is the reason he got the job.
And while those are fair criticisms of the Redskins new head coach, the fact is anyone the Redskins could have hired would have had questions marks about them. And as we’ve seen with Redskins head coaching hires in the past, even the sexiest, most qualified candidates can turn out to be a bust too.
Remember Norv Turner? He actually seemed like the perfect hire at the time. Turner was the offensive coordinator for the high-powered Dallas Cowboys offense during their 1990’s dynasty. And many believed that Turner would duplicate that success at least on offense with the Redskins. But those results never materialized. I remember Marty Schottenheimer flying in on Daniel Snyder’s helicopter with much fan-fare, and that only last one season.
The hiring of Steve Spurrier also generated much excitement. Fans hoped that Spurrier could bring his vaunted passing attack that he used in coaching in college with the Florida Gators. But again, a much hyped hire was followed by mediocrity and then failure. The Same can be said of Mike Shanahan. A two-time Super Bowl winner, and an over qualified candidate. And yet more failure.
Sometimes you have to think outside the box to find the right person. And I don’t know that Jay Gruden will be any more successful as those other coaches. But the Redskins have had plenty of sexy, stylized hires at head coach. And some will laugh at Gruden’s Arena League background, but coming from those humble beginnings can add substance to a foundation. So maybe it’s time for a little more substance in the Redskins head coach and less style.