Bell on Gruden: Would he be hired if it weren't for his last name?

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Thursday afternoon, Jarrett Bell, the senior NFL writer for USA Today talked to us from New England about the Washington Redskins hiring Jay Gruden as head coach.

He described his initial reaction: "I wonder if his last name was not Gruden if he would be the Washington coach. Dan Snyder likes to get his name hires in the off season. This is the biggest name out there because of Jon Gruden, of course. That's a question. And, you know, I heard your introduction a minute ago and you talked about how he did some fine work with Andy Dalton, but there's a ceiling to that. The Bengals 0 and 3 in the playoffs, right? Andy Dalton, major, major, major disappointment in the playoffs, and we just saw it last week."

He continued, "And some people are saying that the Bengals are lucky that Jay Gruden is gone because Hugh Jackson, the former Washington assistant who is now in line to be promoted to be offensive coordinator with the Bengals, will do a better job play calling. All of that remains to be seen but that is an interesting dynamic to all this."

"The other thing, Bruce Allen's fingerprints, obviously. You know, Bruce told us a couple weeks ago that he was in charge. He was going to make this deal for the next coach with Dan Snyder's input. But obviously Jon Gruden, Bruce Allen, a history together in Tampa."

He added, "Now, one last point, maybe some of the speculation or some of the questions about Jay Gruden and his brothers, the connection to his brother might be a bit unfair. We're going to have to give him the benefit of the doubt because he has the job now. We'll see what he can do on his own."

On whether or not the search was extensive enough Bell said, "It certainly looks like it, and sometimes you never really know if people are being brought in to be interviewed as part of a legitimate search or as part of window dressing. So that's a question I really can't answer, but I can say this: when they hired Mike Shanahan a couple years ago, they interviewed Jerry Gray a couple minutes and he was in the building already, so this is definitely more extensive than that. And some of the people that they've brought in, and some of the people they talked about. And I'm curious, though, as to, you know, whether or not they really want to give a good shot at Ken Whisenhunt who has coaching experience.

"But the other factor to point out in all of this, you know, Jay Gruden got a 5 year contract. That's a lot for a first time head coach, right? Shanahan got five years, lasted four but he came with two Super Bowl rings. Jay Gruden first time coach in the NFL. He has been successful in the AFL, right, but that's a big commitment. So we'll see where that stands, but there was competition for Jay Gruden and you know what Dan Snyder does, Dave, when there's competition. He ups the ante, so I'm prettty sure that factored into all of this as well. That's good for Jay Gruden."


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