PHOENIX -- Sometimes it was just a text, other times a phone call early in the morning. Jay Gruden’s former boss in Cincinnati would check in on him. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis just wanted to be supportive of his former offensive coordinator.
A year ago at the owners meetings, Lewis was asked if he had warned Gruden about the perils of coaching in Washington. Lewis said, “I didn’t get the chance.” Lewis also knows any first-year coach faces adjustments, and that was no different with Gruden. It didn’t matter that Gruden had been a head coach in other leagues, it’s just different in the NFL.
“That first year as a head coach, there’s those days that come around and you can’t wait for them to be over,” Lewis said. “They become fewer and fewer. ... He’s weathered the storm and now he’s going into Year 2, everyone knows each other better, the players have a better feel for him and him for them, and that’ll be good.”
There’s another factor Lewis said can make a difference for Gruden: general manager Scot McCloughan.
“[Gruden] is excited going forward,” Lewis said. “With the addition of Scot, they added a guy who has great experience. I know Jay’s excited to be working with Scot.”
But last season was tough for Gruden as the Redskins went 4-12 and once more dealt with an atmosphere they had hoped to tame.
“I thought Jay handled them well,” Lewis said. “But I don’t have time to judge someone else. All I was there for was to be supportive of him.”