Jay Gruden has been a head coach before, just not in the NFL. He was a head coach in the AFL and UFL, so he has some managerial experience, which is key. And yes, the NFL is on a much higher level than any Gruden has been a head coach at before, but at least he’s had to deal first hand with the types of issues head coaches face.
Dealing with the different types of personalities from players to front office personnel can be tricky for first time head coaches. But it helps that Gruden won’t be blindsided due to a lack of experience. However, being head coach of a high-profile organization like the Redskins is hard for even the best coaches. Especially with an owner like Dan Snyder.
But Gruden has succeeded as a coordinator in the NFL, and he’s been a part of building a winning organization with the Bengals. So he’s seen it done first hand. He was also a coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when they won the super bowl in 2003, so he’s been a part of two winning NFL franchises.
And Gruden’s career record as a head coach is 93-61, with a 60.4% winning percentage. He also won two championships in the AFL. That’s a lot of games coached and a lot of success. It’s unfair to equate his success in minor leagues to what he’ll do in the NFL, but you can’t ignore it either.
If the Redskins are to have a winning season in 2014, Gruden will need to hit the ground running and be able to adapt quickly if the Redskins stumble out of the gate. I think Jay Gruden can be a good head coach in the NFL, but we won’t know for sure until we see him in action, and see how his team performs.