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Jay Gruden, the read option and Dalton vs. Kaepernick

Jan 8, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT


So if you want to believe the post-draft revisionist history—and I’m as highly suspicious of that as I am of pre-draft utterings by NFL personnel types—Mike Brown wanted to draft Colin Kaepernick to become the Bengals quarterback. Jay Gruden, who was then the Bengals’ first-year offensive coordinator, fresh out of the UFL, wanted Andy Dalton.

Gruden believed that Dalton could start right away and with Carson Palmer threatening to retire (a threat he made good on until the Bengals traded him in midseason), he thought that was what the Bengals needed.

He was down on Kaepernick for another reason. Nevada coach Chris Ault was a pioneer in the Pistol formation offense and Nevada won a lot of read option plays.

“I also wasn’t really into the read-option stuff and it wasn’t really that popular at the time,” Gruden said earlier this week.

That line has some Redskins fans flipping out over the possibility of Gruden becoming the Redskins’ head coach. The line of thinking is that Gruden will not be able to get the most out of quarterback Robert Griffin III if he is not “into the read-option stuff.”

That line of thinking is flawed. Most who panic don’t read the last part of the sentence. Nobody was into the read-option in April of 2011. Cam Newton was drafted in the first round that year and had not taken the field. Griffin and Russell Wilson were a year away from entering the NFL and Kaepernick would not become an NFL starter for another year and a half.

Even though Griffin needs to develop into more of a pocket passer if he is going to be successful in the long run (or even to have a long run) there should be some read-option elements in the offense to keep defenses off balance. It is likely that Gruden will see this and, if he gets the job, get “into” the read-option a bit.

It’s pretty simple, really. During his interview today, one of the things that Gruden will be asked to do is to paint a vision of an offensive scheme that will maximize Griffin’s talent and enhance his longevity. Making him into a pure pocket passer won’t accomplish the former and the heavy use of the read-option will have an adverse effect on the latter. The read option or some other element that utilizes Griffin’s speed will need to be incorporated into Gruden’s plan. If it isn’t there, he is unlikely to get the job.

All of this doesn’t mean that Gruden is the ideal candidate for the job. Like almost everyone being considered he has his plusses and minuses. But his apparent distain for the read-option three years ago is a non-factor.

Gruden’s prowess in choosing a QB won’t matter, either. Obviously Kaepernick is the better player now and it’s hard see that changing at any point in the future.

But Gruden won’t be picking the Redskins’ quarterback. Griffin is already here.

  1. aprilwalker2013 - Jan 8, 2014 at 2:13 PM

    It’s his job to turn down!! Just my opinion mind you,but I believe it none the less!! Not too happy with this move, but know they don’t need my approval! HTTR

    • ajbus1 - Jan 8, 2014 at 8:00 PM

      You’re awfully excited for someone who isn’t happy with the move!!!!!!

      • ajbus1 - Jan 8, 2014 at 8:01 PM


      • aprilwalker2013 - Jan 13, 2014 at 10:48 PM

        Don’t get where you think I was excited! I wasn’t!!!! Gotta dance with who you have though,I support the Redskins so if he’s the coach, I gotta dance with it..still not excited!! But don’t know a ton bout the guy, just didn’t like what I think was just a show they put on interviewing all others! HTTR

  2. ajbus1 - Jan 8, 2014 at 8:03 PM

    I completely disagree that Kaepernick is obviously better than Dalton. He barely has to do anything because the niners are so good on D and they also have the best O-line.

  3. timwillhidetimwillhide - Jan 8, 2014 at 9:55 PM

    Greg Roman is the only guy that they reached out to that I think would be a good fit and could devise a good offense to Maximize RG3s talent. I think CHRIS AULT could come up with a good offense for RG3 also we could use a good Xs and Os guy

    • timwillhidetimwillhide - Jan 8, 2014 at 10:00 PM

      Btw Greg Romen sought out Chris Ault for advice. and the Kansas City Chiefs hired him as an offensive consultant both of these offenses have played pretty well since seekimg out Chris Ault just some food for thought Archives

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