Let there be no mistake: Jay Gruden loves him some mobile quarterbacks now.
The new Redskins coach, who reportedly preferred Andy Dalton to Colin Kaepernick in the draft when he was the Bengals offensive coordinator, said upon his introduction as Robert Griffin III’s boss that he was all for running zone-read plays.
“I love it. We ran some with Cincinnati with Andy and I think it’s part of football now,” Gruden said, via Mike Jones of the Washington Post. It’s something you have to get your defense prepared for. It’s something that has a place in the National Football League.”
His deeds in Cincinnati didn’t match up with those words, but he advocated drafting Dalton over Kaepernick so he wouldn’t have to stray too far out of the pocket. But adding the multi-talented Griffin (who has been a better thrower of the football than Kaepernick, at least pre-knee injiury) will give Gruden a chance to expand his operation.
“I like them all, man. I’ve never found a play I haven’t liked that works,” Gruden said. “The one thing you really want to do is – during my process here the next few days, I want to really study the offensive personnel that we have in place. They’ve done some good things here offensively in years past. I think they’re in the top 10 the last couple years, so they have a system in place that’s very good.
“They’re an outside zone blocking team that can do inside zone. I like the power plays. I like the gap blocking plays. So there’s a little bit of everything. I don’t think any offense in the NFL anymore is just, ‘We are this.’ I think we have to adhere to what we have offensively, talent-wise. We can do the read option. We can do naked bootlegs. We can run outside zone. We can run bubble screens. We can run deep balls. We can do play-action deep things. I think the whole idea to be a successful offense is to be diverse and be good at a lot of different things and not just one.”
Mostly, what he needs to figure out is how to make Griffin happy. Because whether he had a hand in picking the coach or not, the reality is that Gruden’s first job is making Griffin productive again.
Do that, and all the other things could fall into place.