Gruden’s words on Griffin are starting to get overblown

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It’s become a sport of sorts for Washington coach Jay Gruden to talk publicly about the flaws in quarterback Robert Griffin III’s game.  And it’s become a sport of sorts for the media to shine a light on the things Gruden is saying, apparently in the hopes of creating the impression of dysfunction in the building and/or a Costanza-style effort by Gruden to get fired.

While Gruden has indeed been pointed and harsh about Griffin in the past, the coach’s comments from Tuesday have unfairly been twisted by some in the media.

For example, Gruden’s Tuesday press availability included a comment about Griffin that caught plenty of attention on Twitter.  The tweet sounded a lot worse than the transcript revealed it to be.

From Mike Jones of the Washington Post, via Twitter:  “Gruden says it’s important to get a lead so griffin doesn’t have to do a lot of dropback passing and defense reading.”

Here’s what Gruden actually said, via the transcript provided by the team and in response to a question about Griffin’s development and whether Griffin has begun to “get it” in recent weeks:  “We hope so.  That just comes with repetition. You look around the league at some of the successful guys.  I was looking at Eli Manning – I think he’s on his 195th career start and Peyton [Manning] is on 200.  Drew Brees is on 200. He’s on what, 15 or 16?  So, it’s going to come with time, man.  This position is very difficult, especially when you’re learning new concepts with a new system.  It takes time.  So, it’s important for us to try and have some success on first and second down so we don’t have to dropback and throw it 30 times a game and have a lead so we don’t have to worry about it.  But, eventually, like I said, when you get behind, you get in third down, you get behind the chains, those have to be accomplished — the dropback reads and progressions have to be accomplished and that’s something we’re fighting through right now.”

Slightly different, to say the least.

Jones also tweeted that Gruden said “it’ll take time for Griffin to become more savvy.”  I can’t find that comment or anything close to it in the transcript.  It would have been better for Jones to simply pass along direct quotes.  Then again, the direct quote from Gruden that Jones posted on Twitter wasn’t an exact quote.

The tweet from Jones, quoting Gruden on Griffin:  “I don’t expect perfection from him but I just need to see some progress from him.”

The actual quote from the transcript:  “But, he’s taken this game, taken this game plan and these plays and has a better understanding and a little bit more confidence, but I don’t expect perfection from him, but we want to see improvement from a weekly basis.”

(It’s not a huge discrepancy, but there’s a not-so-subtle difference between the words “need” and “want.”  Besides, if there’s any discrepancy, it’s not really a quote — so quotation marks shouldn’t be used.)

Gruden also was asked about his prior comments regarding Griffin, something that didn’t blow up Twitter.

“It was coaching out loud,” Gruden said. “The whole thing came up when it came out that he was ‘criticizing his teammates’ or what have you, and I just wanted to make sure that he was worried about his own game. There’s some things that he can clean up and I can clean up, and everybody just needs to clean up. That comes with coaching. I need to coach him to clean up his fundamentals. I need to coach our left tackle to clean up his fundamentals, our middle linebacker, our safety. . . . It’s just fundamental football that everybody needs to clean up on a weekly basis, and we’ll never stop coaching fundamentals.”

In fairness to Jones, he has written a story that contains some of Gruden’s full quotes, but Jones linked it on Twitter with a lamentation that “[e]verybody [is] blowing up a 140-character condensed Gruden on RGIII statement.”

That’s not the fault of the audience. The tweeter selects the 140 characters. If the message can’t properly be conveyed in 140 characters or less, then it shouldn’t be.

36 responses to “Gruden’s words on Griffin are starting to get overblown

  1. I hear Mike Jones on the radio all the time. It does seem like he has an ax to grind with the Redskins for some reason. To put out tweets like these just shows how unprofessional and petty this guy really is. Maybe someone on the Redskins took his lunch money.

  2. FINALLY. Thanks for pointing this out Mike. THe MEDIA (DC in particular) are the ones stoking the fire with the incessant garbage reporting. If Gruden and Griffin were in, say, Kansas City or Jacksonville, you wouldn’t be hearing as much pot stirring and negativity from the media.

  3. This is foremost one of the reasons I hate Twitter, which seems to be reducing national discussions to a bunch of lobotomized soundbites.

  4. That’s how the media goes with the NFL, over react and blowing things out of proportion.

    I remember after the Seahawks beat GB the first game of the season and people want to talk 16-0.

    Whether it’s the weeks slate of contests, game to game, or QB controversy everyone get all worked up.

    People can’t even let Andrew Luck keep his trash talk on the field.

  5. Thanks for writing this Florio. This isn’t the first time that a reporter in D.C has overblown a quote or presser. It sickens me as a fan who follows the team and reads the pressers or watches them live to then see the context twisted to create controversy. I sure hope players aren’t only looking at tweets and misunderstanding what the coach is actually saying. Because stuff like that can get lost in translation and cause in house drama. That’s the last thing the Redskins need, more drama.

  6. So … now it’s okay for so-called reporters to just flat-out make up quotes and attribute them to someone? And retain their job as a “journalist?” Wow.

  7. The DC media is always stirring the pot. One of the main reasons for the dysfunction. It’s what makes that coaching job untenable.

  8. Finally! Thanks for pointing this out. As a Skins fan not in DC, you read this nonsense on line every day and wonder what the hell is going on there. I haven’t been a fan of Jones at the Post and if this is actually what he’s doing he’s changing the narrative. The worst thing is that other outlets pick these tweets and garbage reporting from Jones and run with them adding in their own narrative and by that time, it’s too late. Bleacher report in their Redskins feed ran with an article from The Big Lead.com that pulled the Mike Jones garbage off and added to it. This nonsense happens every day. The coach and the QB have to constantly be on the defensive from accusations on things that they didn’t really say. If this is the MO of the media in other cities, I can’t blame the players or anyone for not wanting to talk to them.

  9. Actually, Gruden needs to slow down with the chitchat with reporters. He is way too verbose. He is way too honest. What he should do is read the Belichick book on media relations and memorize the part about talking without moving your lips while repeating “we’re doing what is best for the team.”

    He will not survive as a head coach if he keeps up this incessant gabbing with the media about his players.

  10. The media goes over board?

    So does that mean that Kevin Love or some of the other Cleveland hoop players WON’T be playing QB for the Browns, even though they combined to “throw for more yards.”

  11. What the heck was wrong with the 2012 RG3 and the Skins O??? Nothing… here’s an idea, let Robert run the read option again and win some games. As far as everyone saying can’t get him hurt again… he didn’t get hurt on read option plays. He got hurt on trying to turn a 20 scramble into a 4o yard scramble and a freak sideline thing. All he has to do is slide like Wilson and Kap. Seems the read option working just fine in Seattle. Plus, next year is Robert’s last year of his contract… let him be himself again.

  12. I can’t even imagine the stress on the Redskins team this year. They need a win against the Philadelphia team this week really bad.

  13. I think it’s a 2-way street. The media shouldn’t be twisting the words of anyone they are “reporting” on. And they need to stop creating a story where no story exists. You won’t find a bigger Griffin fan than me but I said during his glorious rookie season that EVERYTHING HE SAYS OR DOES IS NOT NEWS. Nor is everything said about him. By the same token, Jay Gruden has to recognize the media has an agenda and realize that every thought that comes into his head doesn’t have to come out of his mouth to the media. The way he publicly undressed Griffin a few weeks back was shameful. Not inaccurate, but shameful because that should have been done behind closed doors. He’s not losing the locker room because of anything other than his players thinking he doesn’t have their backs.

  14. The hate for the current Redskins organization is so palpable right now because you have a vocal fanbase of 38 to 55 year olds who grew up with a winning organization. The Redskins created great feelings within us when we were all kids. That leaves a great impression. And now, you compare that impression left on your soul with the ineptitude of the current team and hate springs forth. We are proud fans and it is hard NOT to be so bitter.

    However, this negative reporting has reached a crescendo and it is too much. Way too unhealthy. We know the organization needs help but media needs to stop with the parsing of words from Gruden and Griff. Reporters are trying to draw conclusions from sound bites. I guess that’s what happens in this day and age of hyper competitive media. A lot of reporters are shouting “hey! look at me, I know what’s going on!”. Enough.

  15. I agree that Jay Gruden needs to take a few pages from the Bill Belichick Book of Press Conference Speak. I love Gruden’s candor, but it’s too much and it’s giving out too much ammo to those who hold a pen and have an agenda.

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