Jay Gruden wasn’t fired yesterday. But he works in Washington, where no one other than Dan Snyder (and apparently Bruce Allen) should ever feel truly safe.
So after a 6-3 start turned into a 7-9 finish, Gruden wasn’t taking anything for granted.
“I really don’t know why I’m up here, to be honest with you,” Gruden said at a season-ending press conference yesterday, via Les Carpenter of the Washington Post.
When he talked to reporters, he had yet to talk to Snyder or Allen about his future.
“I’m just waiting by the phone,” Gruden said of his meeting. “And when I get the call, I’ll go.”
He wasn’t one of the usual suspects when discussions of soon-to-be-fired coaches started in recent weeks. Then again, he’s 35-44-1 in five seasons, and lost his only playoff game (which doesn’t make him unique in that franchise’s history). He also presided over a small-bore mutiny, cutting safety D.J. Swearinger late in the season after he disparaged the coaching staff. There was also the small matter of his quarterback position being a mess, after Alex Smith and Colt McCoy broke their legs.
So when Gruden talked, he kept using phrases like “if I’m still here” or “once I get the word.”
“If I’m fortunate enough to be here, I feel good about the nucleus of the players that we have,” Gruden said. “We have to adjust some things without a doubt; when you’re 7-9, with injuries or not, it’s not good enough for this franchise. I know Mr. Snyder demands greatness from his staff and his players, and we didn’t do enough this year, so we have to figure out ways to get better. From the coaching staff standpoint first and then from a players standpoint.”
And since he works for Dan Snyder, being forced to stand up and talk about decisions he doesn’t make or even know yet seems par for the course.