Clausen's segment with Gruden hints at a leadership flaw

We’ve been fascinated by Jon Gruden’s recent segments with the 2010 elite quarterback prospects, even though we realize that Gruden is treating the effort as part of his broader plan to eventually get back into the NFL — and with maximum options and leverage when he’s ready to make the jump.  (Indeed, that’s the real reason he’s so positive about every team, owner, and player when he’s on the air, and we’d have a ton of extra respect for him if he’d simply admit it.)

The latest snippet being played on the SportsCenter cycle features Gruden working with Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen.  And it contains an arguable example of Clausen demonstrating the kind of leadership hiccup that some have pinned onto his portfolio.

Breaking down an ugly interception thrown by Clausen against North Carolina, where the only man open was wearing a powder blue jersey, Gruden asked Clausen what happened on the play.

Said Clausen, “So we got 50 hitch read called, and I gave [the receiver] a signal telling him to run a fade.”

“Didn’t get it?” Gruden said.

“He got it, [but] he just kept [the original route] on,” Clausen said.

Undercarriage of bus?  Meet Notre Dame receiver.

On camera, Gruden seemed to measure his words carefully but he still made the unmistakable point that in this situation the blame falls to the quarterback.  Off camera, we’re hoping that Gruden pulled Clausen aside and said, “Look, Jimmy.  You’re already getting killed by Todd McShay for having leadership and maturity issues.  When you publicly blame your receiver for something that ultimately was your responsibility, you give guys like McShay something tangible to point to.  You never publicly blame your teammate like that, not right after the game or six months later or six years later.  And if he told you that he saw the hand signal but that for whatever reason he chose to ignore it, then you resolve the situation in house.  Regardless, you take the responsibility for not giving the guy a clear signal, for not being sure that he got it, or for not having the kind of relationship with your receiver where he’d never dare do anything other than what you tell him to do.”

And, no, we don’t know whether Gruden said anything like that.  But if he’s really trying to help the players and not simply himself, he sure as hell should have.

Regardless, the show airs tonight on ESPN at 7:00 p.m. ET.  And the DVR already has been programmed to capture it.

68 responses to “Clausen's segment with Gruden hints at a leadership flaw

  1. What has Gruden ever done to prove to be a good mentor for a young QB? He has never developed a quarterback.

  2. Reading too far into it. Clausen is right and rightfully acknowledged his receivers mistake because it was a mistake by the receiver and not himself. He didn’t blame anyone in a negative sense. He was asked a simple question and gave a perfectly fine answer. For anyone to come to the conclusion that he has leadership flaws because of this response is pure ignorance and only means that people don’t just blindly believe the hype/gossip, they actually want to.

  3. I feel like Clausen has a sense of entitlement to being an elite NFL QB, almost like Brady Quinn had a few years back. He really hasnt done much in his college career and now he expects to be this great leader and a first round pick.

  4. Well, if it’s the receivers fault it’s the receivers fault. I don’t think that says anything about his “leadership”. What else should he have said?
    “I forgot what color jerseys we had, and thought that guy was wide open.”
    Also, how can anyone take this Gruden stuff with anything more than a grain of salt? Didn’t he get fired in Tampa because he couldn’t get anything out of his vast collection of quarterbacks? I can’t figure out why Gruden is heralded as this quarterback guru when he got fired from the Bucs for not being able to develop one.

  5. Gruden stop “helping” QB’s and get your a#$ back to Oakland where you belong – Al get Chucky back, so we can get back to the AFC Championship….your wasting away, my man.
    And…wtf is “we dont know whether Gruden said anything like that” about?

  6. If Gruden ever taught a qb not to point out a teamate’s mistake on a route, it was lost on Brett Favre.

  7. WR runs the wrong route, play results in a pick and Clausen’s meant to take the blame? Nuh-uh. Not here.

  8. A point but a very trivial one in the big picture. Whether Clausen is the next Couch/Russell/Leaf/Quinn waiting to happen or the next Joe Montana (or somewhere in between) He is one of the top two quarterbacks in the draft. Things like that can be corrected. I would still rather have him than Colt Mccoy or Tim Tebow.

  9. Right…so somehow because he didn’t throw himself under the bus for somebody else’s mistake, he’s got leadership and character flaws. And yet, if he had taken the blame and said the the guy didn’t get it, you’d be reporting how he has problems with communication or some other thing.

  10. Didn’t Kurt Warner throw Anquan Boldin under the Bus for his infamous interception in the Super Bowl?

  11. Florio,
    After the draft you would be right. But before the draft, waht is Clausen supposed to say?.. “Yeah that was on me, it was a miscommunication”
    Well then you’d be on him for miscommunicating or not being that good.
    You know, I usually defend you Florio, but when you overanalyze everything like this, it makes you look like a real asshole. And I don’t mean that playfully… I’m talking a REAL asshole. You are hurting this kid’s life just so you can put up another post.
    Clean it up man.

  12. Peyton Manning is the Standard for good quarterback play. I dont think he would ever throw his receiever under the bus. He would say something like “it was my fault for not getting the ball to the receiver in the right spot.” Good coaches and players always take the blame away from everybody else and put it on there shoulders. That’s the mark of a good leader.

  13. Clausen’s a bum..
    After watching the guy in college, who honestly thinks he will come into the NFL and be a winning QB.
    There’s no comparison between Drew Breese and Clausen, save their dimunitive stature…

  14. When you are the QB of a team you are suppose take all the blame in the public. You are a leader and that’s what great leaders do. This not only apply in football but in the regular world too. You then address the issue with the person that made you look bad behind the scenes. I guess that why leadership in the world has gone down, no one want to take the blame for the fail!!
    Classen=Quinn

  15. “(Indeed, that’s the real reason he’s so positive about every team, owner, and player when he’s on the air, and we’d have a ton of extra respect for him if he’d simply admit it.)”
    LMFAO! Like Jon Gruden gives a FUK about your respect! And like you would really expect him to come out and disrespect any team in the NFL?
    And you act like Peyton Manning or any other elite QB never places blame on his WRs when he throws a pick that wasnt his fault. Trust me, Peyton lets them have it all the time! Leave the QB talk to real coaches and NFL scouts!

  16. Almost half of this post is devoted to something “…we don’t know whether Gruden said anything like that.” Absolutely amazing.

  17. reading too much into this PFT. like Dan Snyder said above, he was asked a question and gave the honest answer.

  18. Unfortunately the public persona that is the NFL has not recognized that true leadership, at times, requires honest answers and calling people out. The military, which has a long standing tradition and formula for developing some of the finest leaders requires those leaders to “call out” and be “called out.” Everyone (our entire country) needs to stop being such a collective group of pu**ys. Be honest about mistakes, take your lumps, and quit crying about it. God and everyone knows we all screw up. Everyone is so worried about offending someone that it has become detrimental to taking the next step in civic evolution. Why are we so worried about publicly acknowledging the receiver ran the wrong route. I applaud Clausen for being honest. I still don’t know if he is a good leader or not, but if McShay (who is an idiot) defines a leader as someone who won’t acknowledge (tell the truth) the obvious when asked a specific question, what does that say about McShay? It says he is part of the pus*ification of the United States. The fact that I have replaced the “s” with an asterisk in specific words shows that I too am a pu**y. Rant complete, suck it Viking fans.

  19. Florio, how exactly is Gruden supposed to “admit it”? He’s already on the NFL network talking about everything football he can trying to stay relevant. Just like all the other coaches that don’t have jobs do. Just like Dungy, just like Martz was until he was hired by the Bears, etc. etc. Isn’t his desire to get back into coaching a foregone conclusion?

  20. (Indeed, that’s the real reason he’s so positive about every team, owner, and player when he’s on the air, and we’d have a ton of extra respect for him if he’d simply admit it.)
    Im sure Gruden could care less if he gets your respect or not Mr Florio……

  21. He needs to teach Claussen to lie??? Why dont we teach these guys to be more honest instead?

  22. Now we know why Florio Jr. always beats you at Madden. The “read” part of the 50 hitch read went right over your head. Sure the blame falls on the QB but I’ll guarantee you Charlie Weis tore the receiver a new one .

  23. This Clausen kid is a punk ass diva. People have been on his nuts since he was 12, and you wonder why he’s a pre-madonna.
    I’m no pro scout but Clausen hasn’t shown me anything to believe he is a 1st rounder & instant starter. It sounds like he needs to sit on the bench for a year or so.
    Watch the eagles take em. Trim him proper for the pro game and trade him. OR have another controvery at QB which they love to do

  24. Why do you thing Jake D. is off Carolina…HIS NAME IS STEVE SMITH….was constantly called to run hot routes and didn’t do it….and Jake threw the ball only to get intercepted.
    STEVE SMITH SUCKS!

  25. Now Florio’s angling for an NFL job.
    Easy to give those speeches when you have a “Backspace” button and time on your hands Mikey.
    Speaking of “just admit it alreadys”…how about you finally admit your man-crush on Favre and your seething rage at the Saints ruining your party is why you ran 183 blogs on the new OT rules?

  26. I just watched the Clausen clip and this article is overhyping what he said. How come it is never mentioned that he said “it was a miscommunication between me and the WR”?? Come on what is he supposed to say anyway? Oh I through a ball into middle of the field for no reason. Come on this article is crap

  27. Gruden and coaching QB’s??
    You have to admit he got the most out of Rich Gannon at Oakland and Brad Johnson at Tampa Bay – both of those were established veterans but their game improved tremendously. He’s disciple of Holmgren, with Bill Walsh influence and I think he has credentials significantly superior to Mel Kiper and Todd McShay – who seems to have everyones ear because they have nothing else to do but watch tape of players.

  28. @DanSnyder
    I whole heartedly agree. This is a classic, “if I were you”…But guess what, You’re not! And Jimmy boy has every right to say I threw a signal and the guy read the corner one way and hoped I picked up on it. I gaurantee you if someone slipped in the broadcast booth, JG would no doubt say, “I didn’t put that out there”. WHy is it that people are expected to take the blame for someone elses mistake. We all saw what happened and he was honest. He did not belittle the receiver, he acknowleded his mistake. BTW- Johnny Boy, you got your current gig by ABC?ESPN admitting theirs when it came to the Korn man. Funny, I don’t remember Terico saying it was his fault for not making Korn better!

  29. He was just trying to give an honest answer. If QB with unquestioned leadership ability, like Manning or Brady or Favre had said the same thing in a veteran’s quarterback segment, would anyone think twice about it? Of course not, it’s only because Clausen is being looked at through the prism of a poor leadership reputation that this was even posted.

  30. Never developed a QB? Gruden took a career journeyman QB (Gannon) and made him into a multiple Pro Bowl-MVP who took the Raiders to the SB.

  31. He didn’t do much? Did you see his stats last year? This kid has sick talent. If the NFL would put a damn rookie wage scale in someone could afford to risk having to sit on Jimmy for a year or two IF he’s not mature enough. Problem with paying a zillion dollars to high picks is teams feel they have to play them and it’s a lose/lose for the player and the team (and the fans).

  32. On camera, Gruden seemed to measure his words carefully but he still made the unmistakable point that in this situation the blame falls to the quarterback.

    That’s why he’ll always be “Jimmy” not Jim Claussen until the day arrives when even the most rabid Irish fan will not-so-fondly try to recall … “Jimmy WHO?”
    Unlike this guy.
    “You should always do what you can to take the blame when things go wrong” — Joe Montana on QB leadership, p. 90, The Art and Magic of Quarterbacking.

  33. Quick question here Florio…..These segments are supposed to be Coach/Player not media player, correct? I am sure they pound that into the head of the 20 year old kid-Coach/Player don’t think of me as the media. Coach asks you in a meeting did WR get the signal? Does player give honest answer or does he lie. Before you answer remember there is another top rated prospect getting killed for lying to the NCAA. This is all propaganda garbage from ESPN.

  34. It’s not about political correctness or honesty – it’s about leadership. Praise in public; punish in private. You just don’t throw one of your own under the bus. For any reason. Period.
    For Clausen to do that while McShay and others are already questioning his leadership abilities was a bad move – that’s all the article is saying.
    I’d be more interested in knowing who the receiver was, personally.

  35. @DanSnyder:
    You are ABSOLUTELY WRONG! QB’s and coaches take blame regardless of who got the signal, who missed the signal, or who ran the wrong route. You take responsibility for everything. That is what a good QB and Coach does. They put the whole world on their shoulders and say “Who’s comin with me”. And those who do this…… They are rewarded with guys that will do anything in the world on and off the field for them. A QB MUST be the true Gladiator of the team. He is most times looked at as the face of the franchise. The Gladiator who passes the buck is not the Gladiator who is looking out for the best of the Brotherhood. He is the Gladiator who is looking for his own coin and success in the arena. Most often, he is the one that is thrown out to the lions as well.
    That comment in itself dropped Claussen out of the Top 10, GUARANTEED! Only way he gets drafted in the top 10 is if Gruden gives Holmgren a word of faith that Claussen can be really good and he thinks that Claussen will embrace the role of top dog and prove to be a leader!

  36. There’s no way around it, Florio. You are a COLOSSAL tool.
    Your little 1000 word paragraph about what Gruden should’ve told Claussen after he pulled him aside straight up gave me douche chills.
    You are a joke and so is this site.

  37. Of course he’s gonna blame it on the receiver. If anything I said could cost me millions, I’d throw someone under the bus too. If the receiver is mad, mail him a chunk of that 1st check.

  38. He didn’t do much? Did you see his stats last year? This kid has sick talent. If the NFL would put a damn rookie wage scale in someone could afford to risk having to sit on Jimmy for a year or two IF he’s not mature enough. Problem with paying a zillion dollars to high picks is teams feel they have to play them and it’s a lose/lose for the player and the team (and the fans).

  39. I doubt he said this.
    ___________________________________
    “Look, Jimmy. You’re already getting killed by Todd McShay for having leadership and maturity issues. When you publicly blame your receiver for something that ultimately was your responsibility, you give guys like McShay something tangible to point to. You never publicly blame your teammate like that, not right after the game or six months later or six years later. And if he told you that he saw the hand signal but that for whatever reason he chose to ignore it, then you resolve the situation in house — and you take the responsibility for not giving the guy a clear signal, for not being sure that he got it, or for not having the kind of relationship with your receiver where that he’d never dare do anything other than what you tell him to do.”

  40. The fact that Gruden is sitting in a studio harassing pimply faced kids young enough to be his sons indicates a leadership flaw.
    Gruden’s.

  41. gotta love all the “gruden sucks,he got fired from tampa”,,crap,yeah he got fired,,after he won a super bowl with brad johnson at qb,oh and how has tampa doing without him,with the cheapest owners in football,and a front office that didnt tryy and get a future star until after he was gone,i think that anyone who questions grudens merits are waaaay crazy,this dude needs to be a coach again now,he is probably the hardest working,one of the smartest coaches,and i think as soon as bowen figures out that mcduffus is a quack,gruden should end up in denver[now that dummy has completely dismantled the entire squad]

  42. I have tried and tried to like Jimmy Clausen but I just can’t…he simply rubs me the wrong way. He is one of those people that just for whatever reason, isn’t very likeable. Even his mannerisms during his Pro-Day were annoying — he must have grabbed his nuts before every single throw. WTF?

  43. I’m not one to usually attack someone for their typing or spelling skills but I just have to say this in general.
    The word is
    Prima Donna — It is Italian for first lady and comes from the Opera world to signify the leading female singer who, by coincidence, was usually full of herself and a headache to work with. That is why it has now come to be used to describe someone who has a big ego and is difficult to work with.
    I don’t know what this pre-madonna thing is I keep seeing people type on here is. Does this mean that Claussen’s attitude pre dates the singing career of Madonna? Does it mean he’s older than the bible? I’m confused.

  44. What is the difference between Clausen making that statement on TV and ripping his WR after the play on national TV?
    I have seen Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and other top tier QBs scream at their WRs for running the wrong route in a game.
    Nothing different here. Granted, I am still holding out hope that Mangini gets fired and Gruden comes to Cleveland. (or Cowher)

  45. DanSnyder says:
    April 15, 2010 10:16 AM
    Reading too far into it. Clausen is right and rightfully acknowledged his receivers mistake because it was a mistake by the receiver and not himself. He didn’t blame anyone in a negative sense. He was asked a simple question and gave a perfectly fine answer. For anyone to come to the conclusion that he has leadership flaws because of this response is pure ignorance and only means that people don’t just blindly believe the hype/gossip, they actually want to.
    ————————————————
    That is the complete opposite of the way I see it. I *AM* in a leadership position, I have 36 employees and 4 supervisors that report to me, and I have to answer for their actions and results every day. When something goes wrong, the leader takes responsibility for the error in public, and then corrects the problem in private (how you correct it depends on your personality). To do otherwise undermines your credibility with the workforce/team. Who is going to trust you or give you full effort when they believe you are just out for yourself? To not see that flaw is either willfully being blind to the obvious, or just shows you have no idea what leadership is all about.

  46. If he wanted to blame the WR, do it in private. Then you take the blame in the eyes of the media, that’s just how it is. That’s how your teammates come to trust you and that’s how you gain respect as a leader. During the whole segment it just seemed like Clausen wasn’t focused or paying attention. I’d say it’s a huge red flag, doesn’t seem like the guy is mature at all. He talked about being like Manning and Brady, but I don’t think he understands what that takes.

  47. Gruden argued with every QB. Only worked with Rich Gannon, who’s just one angry SOB with an ego as big as Gruden.
    Which is what you need in a QB.
    Aikman, Young, Brady, Manning are not wallflowers with their receivers.

  48. If Gruden wants to get back into the NFL he has to make his play language alot simpler, seeing as only a few QBs, (Jeff Garcia) could ever understand.

  49. sequtugh says:
    April 15, 2010 12:30 PM
    DanSnyder says:
    April 15, 2010 10:16 AM
    That is the complete opposite of the way I see it. I *AM* in a leadership position, I have 36 employees and 4 supervisors that report to me, and I have to answer for their actions and results every day. When something goes wrong, the leader takes responsibility for the error in public, and then corrects the problem in private (how you correct it depends on your personality). To do otherwise undermines your credibility with the workforce/team. Who is going to trust you or give you full effort when they believe you are just out for yourself? To not see that flaw is either willfully being blind to the obvious, or just shows you have no idea what leadership is all about.
    _________________________________
    You and a few others on here who said similar things are 100% correct.
    No one is saying QBs shouldn’t correct their teammates…only that it should be done PRIVATELY. Taking public blame while spreading credit is one big way to get guys to work for you regardless of whether you are a QB or in a regular job.
    All Clausen had to say was “We had a communication error and I am responsible because I have the ball in my hands on every play” or some such thing. PERIOD. Done.
    The reason I dislike Peyton, McNabb, Favre etc. as leaders is that they aren’t actually leaders…all of them have publicly thrown teammates under the bus multiple times.

  50. Or, Clausen called a spade a spade?
    Florio, you’re really reaching for straws on this one…like REALLY reaching.

  51. Keep this up and Mel Kipper’s draft book order of 2,000 copies from Clausen’s agent might get canceled.

  52. ESPN’s scheduling committee is a bunch of jerks. why don’t we start the sweet qb draft review thing at 7:00???? SAME TIME AS THE PUCK DROPS FOR THE SABRES PLAYOFF OPENER!!!! >:o

  53. @ klungemonger: took the words out of my mouth.
    @ Florio: similar to what others have said, stop being the poster child for the kid that gets picked last and thinks it’s not fair. You criticize one person for speaking out and another for not saying anything.
    Do you fall down when you weeble-wobble?!? Shit, I just dated myself didn’t I?!?

  54. sequtugh, I’m sure Jon Gruden would have loved it if Jimmy lied to him on the air. I think, in football, you are dealing with very masculine personalities, and not a whole lot of intelligence. So, it’s very crucial that you get the details right and correct the mistakes and no one’s ego will be permanently bruise.
    I don’t know if Kurt blamed Anquan but I remember him saying he didn’t see James Harrison which is what some quarterbacks use, not as an excuse necessarily, but as an admission of error explaining why they threw the ball. It’s kind of a moot point when Tim Hightower got blocked in the back.

  55. # jj jones says: April 15, 2010 10:15 AM
    What has Gruden ever done to prove to be a good mentor for a young QB? He has never developed a quarterback.
    __________________________________________
    DUDE what the F*** are you talking about? he was a QB coach for SF (under Walsh) then GB (under Holmgreen) then Philly(under Ray Rhodes) then became a HC in 98 w/ the Raiders… I think Steve Young and Brett Favre are pretty good QB’s he helped develop…
    GOOGLE…. before you say something you don’t know.
    HAIL SKINS!

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