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Jay Gruden pushes back against idea he’s ‘super frustrated’

March 26, 2019

Jay Gruden had an explanation.

Every year at the NFL owners meetings, the leagues head coaches get together and take a group photo. And when you zoom on this years picture, youll see the Redskins coach hunched over with a look that suggests he was about to be sick.

Jokes were promptly made with one Twitter user posting before-and-after photos of Gruden with the caption working for Dan Snyder really kills your soul.

I was looking down because it was so bright, the sun, Gruden said. I was waiting for them to say 1, 2, 3 and then I was gonna look up So yeah.

That wasnt the only time Gruden defended himself Tuesday. Speaking to reporters in Phoenix, Arizona, Gruden pushed back against a recent report that claimed the coach was super frustrated he wasnt being kept in the loop on free agency.

Last week, 106.7 The Fans Eric Bickel cited a source who told him that team president Bruce Allen was signing players without consulting Gruden. The quote I heard was He wants to jump off a bridge, Bickel said of Gruden.

Gruden, though, said he has been involved in free agency.

Theres a move or two I might be surprised by, but for the most part, Im on board for all of them, Gruden said. So really, its good. It works out fine. I think the media there kind of I dont know where they got that from. But frustration may set in from time to time for a move or two, but at the end of day, I know that Im on board and I know that Doug (Williams), Bruce (Allen), Eric Schaffer and Dan are trying to better this football team and try to put us in a position to win.

And Ill coach whoever is on the dang field.

The radio stations report particularly stood out because of comments Gruden made at his end-of-the-year press conference in late December. Gruden said the coaching staff and the front office needed to be on the same page moving forward.

Asked if the team had taken any steps to improve that communication, Gruden said there had been. He pointed to meetings to prepare for free agency, in which he said coaches and the front office graded each player available by position. Gruden also praised director of college scouting Kyle Smith for seeking the coaching staffs input on potential draft picks.

The Redskins have been busy this offseason. Theyve signed former Giants Landon Collins, Ereck Flowers and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and re-signed Adrian Peterson and Brian Quick. Washington also traded for quarterback Case Keenum.

Gruden said Collins was the No. 1 free agent on the teams board before the Redskins gave him a six-year, $84 million deal. Gruden, though, said he wasnt part of the contract negotiations.

So a lot of times I dont know we signed a guy, if they signed them at 11 oclock at night until the next morning, Gruden said. So thats just natural, but thats how it works.

Gruden said every decision the Redskins make is a unified one.

Every coach in here, if you polled them, theyd want total control but theres probably only one in here who has it, right? Gruden said, referring to New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick. So no coach is going to totally be everybody has their opinion, but at the end of the day, we give our reports, give our recommendations, we have our say. In a perfect world, sure Id like to have total control, but I dont. Thats just not my position. And I accept that and our coaches accept that.

Elsewhere during the leagues meetings, the NFL shot down a rule proposal that would have given teams a one-time chance to convert a fourth-and-15 from their own 35-yard line instead of attempt an onside kick in the fourth quarter. Instead, the league adopted five minor rule changes Tuesday, including retaining last seasons tweaks to kickoffs.

The league will continue to discuss expanding replay, a hot-button issue after referees missed a blatant pass interference call in the NFC Championship game that would have likely swung the contest.

This year, the Redskins proposed two rule changes: Allow personal foul penalties to be reviewed, as well as allow all plays to be subject to review by either coaches challenge or the officials.

Were trying to find a solution, Gruden said. I dont know if there ever is going to be a true solution. You dont want this to be over-reffed, overcalled either. You dont want games to be four or five hours because theyre looking at every play. But you do want to make sure those plays are called right.

They have a major effect on seasons, on professions. You just want them to be right.