The Redskins sent defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, offensive line coach Chris Foerster and defensive line coach Jacob Burney to the Senior Bowl. They will be there through Wednesday. Everyone else will stay behind. Jay Gruden and Sean McVay, once the coaching staff is fully assembled, will start putting together the playbook in full force.
Jay Gruden already is more accessible than his predecessor as the Redskins shift away from the Mike Shanahan policies. It’ll certainly be an easier organization to deal with under Gruden. After a year’s worth of bad press -- from Robert Griffin III’s knee injury to the name change to the Griffin/Shanahan relationship to the December Debacle -- it’ll help generate a different vibe. Will it help them win? Only if Griffin plays well and the defense gets fixed.
There is no right way or wrong way to conduct things as a coach. You need to be yourself. Some are open and don’t mind assistants talking; some want one voice to speak for all. If you’re too uptight, it leads to paranoia in the organization. If you’re too loose it can lead to backstabbing. I’ve seen it all here. None of it has produced a consistent winner. Will it work this time? Who knows. There's always a freshness to the start of any regime and some optimism that it will work. Well, to most of them that is. You could tell early on that certain coaches would not work out (Jim Zorn, Steve Spurrier), either because they should not be in that spot or were unprepared for life in a different league.
It’s good that the Redskins have a coach who is not interested in having all the power. But can the others provide him the necessary help to win? They have a lot to prove.
Zorn and Spurrier didn’t want the power, either. But, again, neither should have been an NFL head coach. Who knows if Gruden will be a good head coach, but he’s much more prepared to be in this position than either Zorn or Spurrier. I don’t think I need to explain that statement.
Ike Hilliard was allowed to leave after one year in Washington (NOTE: he was not fired as was stated earlier) and followed that with a one-year stint in Buffalo. That’s not what you want on your résumé. Word out of Buffalo is that there’s still uncertainty as to why he was really fired, though coach Doug Marrone simply called it a “difference of philosophy.”
Here’s what Gruden said about why he hired Hilliard: “He knows the receiver position as good as any. He knows the slot and outside receivers. He was here two years ago and I know the players had a lot of respect for him. He was in Buffalo and for whatever reason it didn’t work out there. I had him in the UFL and worked closely with Ike and I know he’s a standup guy and will get the most out of his guys. That’s all you can ask for. I know Ike will do that.”
Gruden said when assembling his staff, “One thing I wanted make sure is to hire a staff that has continuity and gets along. We’re together a lot. I didn’t want to force a bunch of defensive guys that Jim [Haslett] wasn’t comfortable with and I don’t want to hire offensive guys Sean [McVay] isn’t comfortable with.”