The 5 things from the Jay Gruden era EB will never forget

Josh Luckenbaugh
December 11, 2018 - 9:10 am

Barring a late season turnaround, it looks like Jay Gruden could lose his job after the 2018 season, the Redskins sitting at 6-7 after a four-game losing streak. 

And with Gruden's seat seemingly hotter than ever, Eric "EB" Bickel of The Sports Junkies took some time Tuesday to recount the five aspects of Gruden's tenure he'll never forget.

1. "Inability to settle on a quarterback"

"He inherited Robert (Griffin III) when he was basically broken," EB said. "I'll never forget, though, when he first got the job and when he was asked about (Griffin), remember he said, 'Well, it's gonna be like you're playing a video game guy. Like you're playing Madden. This guy's got all the tools, I can't wait to work with him.'"

"Soured on (Griffin) pretty quickly, but then he didn't love Kirk (Cousins), either. There was something about Kirk's personality. It was in a really bizarre way, throughout that tenure of that triumverate here. He was always, reportedly, behind-the-scenes, more of a Colt (McCoy) guy."

"Colt was the guy, truly, if you put a gun to his head, he wanted to win that job. To Kirk's credit, he went out there and won it and played well, and there was nothing Jay could do." 

EB went on to say this inability to pick a QB is what "ultimately doomed" Gruden. 

"They never committed to Kirk. When he was first asking for longer term deals, they just thought it was preposterous that anybody would pay him $16 or $20 million a year for a significant number of years. They pissed him off to the point that they had to move on from him."

"I think Jay was never sold on Kirk, and never wanted to hitch his wagon to him. So he was willing, then, to make the trade, the fateful trade, for Alex Smith, who God bless him, doesn't look like he'll be able to come back from this."

"And now you're just on a road where they bring in Sanchez, it's gonna be sort of a mockery. Josh Johnson, God love him, hopefully he can play well here these last few games, but you're talking about a guy who hadn't thrown a pass in the league before last week since 2011."

"The quarterback situation, that sort of unrest, the inability to settle on one, find one that he can ride out, I think ultimately is what's gonna doom him."

2. Unprepared in key moments/primetime games

"It just seemed like it was an unorganized group, all the time, especially in key moments. And that always comes back to the coach," Jason Bishop said, bringing up the terrible moment when Cousins took a knee instead of spiking the ball to take away a great opportunity against the Eagles in 2015.

"And they always seem to let us down, during Jay's tenure, on national TV," said EB. "Big Monday Night Football games, on Sunday night games."

"There are the exceptions: the Thanksgiving win there a few years ago, the Monday night game that Colt did win in Dallas. But for the most part, when the team really needed a big performance or when you felt like, okay, this is gonna be a game here they're gonna win or you need this for this playoff push down the stretch, they would come up shockingly empty."

"Uninspired, and that's another thing, and I've talked about it for years..."

3. "His perplexed, befuddled, exasperated look on the sidelines"

"I will never forget it. Like he could not believe what he was seeing, which I believe, and he did not know how to change it," EB continued.

"There was nothing he could do. That crumpled play-sheet he had the first few years there, he just looked like a big mess on the sidelines. He did not look like a guy commanding respect, I just never felt that." 

4. Press conferences

"The botched cliches, the stumbling over his words. When he first came here, what was kind of nice about him is he wouldn't hold his tongue," EB recalled. "Remember when he just lit RGIII on fire, when Robert kinda threw his own guys under the bus? Remember he said, 'Well, I don't have the Aaron Rodgers offensive line. I don't have the same weapons.'"

"And then Jay lit him up and said, 'Robert's taking three steps when it should be five steps, he's taking five steps when it should be seven steps. He's looking left when he should be looking right. Remember he just lit him on fire?"

"He used to be really, really honest in those things. I think now he's more into cliches, he's backed off, he's not nearly as open as he once was and he's gotten a lot more defensive."

5. "Inability to fix the defense"

"He had moments where could move the chains, Kirk Cousins put up some big years," EB concluded. "They never had overwhelming talent out there, but there were able to put up some points and move the chains offensively. But they mowed through (defensive) coordinators."

"They had (Jim) Haslett, they had Joe Berry, Manusky's not gonna survive this. There's no way Manusky comes back. So, those are the things that come to my mind when I look back on Jay's tenure."

Did EB cover it all, or was there anything he may have overlooked?

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