Russell: Jay Gruden 'unhappy,' coming out 'guns a-blazin'

Chris Lingebach
March 27, 2019 - 7:08 pm

Jay Gruden is unhappy with his current situation at Redskins Park and has decided to respond by coming out "guns a-blazin'," Chris Russell tells Chad Dukes of 106.7 The Fan.

The conversation Wednesday started with Dukes asking if Gruden is "unhappy" with his current standing in the Ashburn pecking order, and it would tie into a report earlier in March that suggested Gruden isn't being consulted as much as he should be on the team's offseason moves.

"Is Jay Gruden unhappy right now," Dukes asked. "It sounds like he's very unhappy."

"Yes! And he's come out guns a-blazin' in some ways," Russell replied. "From the way it was described to me yesterday, by a source that is very familiar with Jay, is he doesn't give a bleep right now, about what he says and what people think about him."

Dukes noted that's not the tone he's observed from Gruden this week at the NFL owners meetings in Arizona. "It sounded like he's being very diplomatic," Dukes said.

"Again, politically correct in some ways," Russell said. "But in a lot of other ways behind the scenes – in terms of pushing what he's pushing for, in terms of letting his frustration and anger..."

"I shouldn't jump to this," he said, "but I'm just saying, the EB story didn't come out of nowhere. Maybe it's not fair of me, but it generated somehow, some way, through Jay Gruden's frustration and anger. Somebody found out about that. I don't know how they found out about it. Maybe it was Jay wanted them to find out about it. Jay is not happy right now behind the scenes about the inner politics, nor should he be."

Over a week ago, Eric Bickel of The Sports Junkies passed along some information he'd heard from Ashburn, saying Gruden wasn't being consulted on Redskins free agency moves.

"I'm told he heard about the Landon Collins signing through the media," Bickel said. "A guy in the media texted him."

"He's super frustrated," Bickel went on. "Bruce is calling all the shots. They're not consulting Jay at all. As of Friday, Jay was like, 'We have so many needs. We need linebackers, we need outside receivers, we have all these things.' And they had basically signed a backup quarterback and Landon Collins. That's about what they had done so far in free agency."

106.7 The Fan's Craig Hoffman would go on to contradict Bickel's source, saying that while Gruden is indeed "unquestionably frustrated," when it comes to free agency, Gruden "absolutely is involved in the process."

Gruden fears "he's going to get blamed for this," Russell told Dukes Wednesday.

"He feels he's going to be ultimately the one that's sacrificed," Russell said. "And Bruce is going to keep his job, and Eric Schaffer, rightfully so, is going to keep his job. Guess who else is going to keep his job? Doug Williams. And that's a problem, too."

"That Doug Williams is going to keep his job?" Dukes asked. 

"No. I think that Jay feels that Doug is walking around with like this protectant on him, that he's impervious to suffering the ultimate fate," Russell clarified. "And he's supposedly in charge of personnel, right?

"And Jay's point is: 'Wait a second. I'm the head coach, and I have a share of the burden and a share of the responsibility, but damned if you're gonna blame me all for it when I'm not making all of these decisions, when I'm not in as much control of the bottom-line decisions. Like, for instance, Jamison Crowder. Jay desperately wanted to keep Jamison Crowder. Jay absolutely would have kept Jamison Crowder if it was truly up to Jay. It was not."

Dukes drilled down on the implication that Gruden potentially leaking information to media sources is somehow honorable, the sign of a head coach 'going down fighting.' That approach, Dukes argued, is the same tact that Mike Shanahan took on his way out of town in 2013. "And he was roundly criticized for that," Dukes said of the former coach.

"I'm not saying specifically that I know Jay gave that information," Russell said. "But Jay let it be known to whoever in turn got it to EB. Unless EB got it directly from Jay – I don't know."

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