Jay Gruden hadn’t lobbied for a contract extension. And he didn’t see one coming earlier this month when Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and Bruce Allen, the team’s president, offered the two-year extension that takes Gruden through the 2020 season. “I signed it right away when it was offered — no negotiation whatsoever,” Gruden recounted with a chuckle during a 45-minute question-and-answer session with reporters at the NFL owners meeting Tuesday. “‘Just give me the pen!’” Having played a round of golf after wrapping up his NFL obligations at the Arizona Biltmore, Gruden was relaxed and in good spirits. And the coach, who was entering the fourth year of a five-year contract when he signed the extension, spoke with optimism about the coming NFL season. He was proud of the offseason changes he has made to the Redskins’ coaching staff, bullish about the free agents added to the roster and eager to upgrade further through the 10 selections the Redskins have in the April 27-29 NFL draft. It was Gruden’s first extended remarks since early March, and he peppered his replies with signature jokes and self-deprecating cracks. But his tone turned serious when asked about the team’s March 9 firing of general manager Scot McCloughan, who had worked closely with Gruden the past two seasons to assemble rosters that delivered the Redskins’ first back-to-back winning seasons since 1996 and 1997, as well as the 2015 NFC East championship. “I was disappointed,” Gruden said, when asked how he felt upon learning McCloughan had been fired with 22 months remaining on his contract. “I like Scot; I liked working with Scot. I think he’s a good person and a great talent evaluator. Anytime you lose someone, it’s disappointing. But at the end of the day, it’s professional football. Anyone who has been around it understands that change is going to happen.” Asked whether he felt the Redskins needed to make a change at general manager, Gruden paused. “I’m not going to say it had to be made. It was made,” he said. “That’s all I can live with. When decisions are made of that magnitude, you reflect on the good things you learned from Scot and the good things he did for the team. And you move forward.” And in the “moving forward’ that has followed — the additions of a towering crop of wide receivers that includes 6-foot-4 Terrelle Pryor, a pair of defensive tackles in Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee that Gruden believes will thrive under line coach Jim Tomsula’s tutelage, not to mention the work quarterback Kirk Cousins is already putting in on his own time to get familiar with throwing to taller targets — Gruden sees every reason to be optimistic following an 8-7-1 season that fell short of the playoffs.
Redskins’ Jay Gruden ‘disappointed’ about the Scot McCloughan firing
Washington Post | Mar 29