Jay Gruden: Hard Knocks puts a lot on the plate of a head coach

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The teams coached by brothers Jon and Jay Gruden were both eligible to be drafted to serve as this year’s subject of Hard Knocks. Before the Raiders received the short straw, Jay jokingly tried to nudge the obligation toward Jon’s team.

And for good reason. While serving as the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati, Jay Gruden witnessed the extra burden of Hard Knocks on a head coach.

“Coach [Marvin] Lewis handled all of the editing and all that stuff,” Jay Gruden told reporters on Monday. “I think it’s probably a lot on the plate for a head coach to be able to handle that because you don’t want to put anything out there that could be a negative light on [what] a player said in a coaching staff meeting or whatever. So, you’ve got to actually make sure you go through and watch the edits, what’s going to be out there. I think it’ll be a great show. I’m sure Jon will handle that, but it’s not easy for them to, you know, handle all that stuff.”

So apart from the distraction that comes from having the NFL Films cameras and microphones constantly present, the head coach — who is primarily focused on getting his team ready for Week One — has to spend time watching the proposed content of each episode and decide whether it will present the team, and the coach, in the best possible light.

Last year, former Browns coach Hue Jackson learned that lesson the hard way. He thought the debut-episode back and forth with former Browns offensive coordinator Todd Haley would make Jackson look good and Haley look bad. And that backfired on Jackson, badly.

While Jon Gruden developed during his time in TV a good sense of what does and doesn’t work, there’s still an ever-present risk that he’ll guess wrong. It won’t take much to create a problem, especially with fans and media scrutinizing every scene of every episode for any hint of dysfunction or drama that can become a talking point the following morning, and beyond.

Jay Gruden doesn’t have to worry about that; he can simply focus on getting his team ready. Jon, as he prepares for a season that will include a game in Winnipeg, a game in London, an extended absence from Oakland, and regular-season games against the likes of the Chiefs twice, the Chargers twice, the Broncos twice, the Bears, the Packers, the Vikings, the Texans, the Jaguars, the Colts, and the Titans, he’ll have to add to that burden the weekly obligation of ensuring that nothing in Hard Knocks makes a hard-knocks season even harder.

17 responses to “Jay Gruden: Hard Knocks puts a lot on the plate of a head coach

  1. Cowboys fan here…
    I think Jay Gruden has done a great job
    ..they have a pretty stacked defense. And his offensive scheme is highly productive. They just ran into some bad bad luck the last few years.
    It’ll be an interesting season now that he has his Qb to develop.

  2. Word on the street is the chiefs will do HK next year because Andy Reid is used to having a lot on his plate.

  3. A good thing about Hard Knocks is that it exposes some of the fundamental reasons why a bad HC is bad. That was true of Hue Jackson last year. And it’ll be the same for Jon Gruden this year.

  4. “There’s alot of nails on the road to victory” – Jon Gruden

    I think they should play a Jon Gruden commercial at the end of every hard knocks episode.

  5. I have always thought that a good NFL head coach would make Hard Knocks unwatchable and dull. A good head coach would make Hard Knocks look like a BB press conference.

  6. For anyone that didn’t pay attention, Jay not Jon made these comments. Not a fan of Jon but I’m not going say he is making excuses when he isn’t the one being quoted.

  7. I watched hard knocks just one time and I hated it. All it did for me was show me how foul-mouthed these head coaches are.
    It’s stupid to me for any head coach to want to be a part of it. It’s a complete distraction from what he needs to do — get his team ready for the season.
    Will someone tell me what the point of the show is other than to make money for the teams and the NFL? Any football fan worth his weight in salt understands what teams and players go through during training camp. The NFL is over-saturated as it is, and this is more garbage to add to that.
    I’m old school. Cut all the crap. Get to training camp and stop reporting on all the invented “drama” that goes on and focus on the only thing that matters — football. Then tee the ball up and let us watch the games without having to remind us how many stitches are in the football!.
    If they got rid of 90% of the garbage they put over the airways about the NFL, it would be so much better. I mean, take that morning football show they have on the NFL channel. There are usually 3 guys and a woman on it and I don’t even remember any of their names.They are all a bunch of egotistical simpletons who act like giddy little kids most of the time. I watched it once and saw parts of it a couple other times. One snippet I saw, two of the guys were loudly arguing over how long Tom Brady will play!!!! Who the heck cares?????? He will play as long as he wants unless he gets hurt or they get someone better, just like every other player! I mean, is there any wonder ESPN and The NFL Network’s ratings are dropping like a lead balloon??
    I quit watching that brainless show and all the other NFL shows on that channel and ESPN. They are a complete waste of time. I also stopped watching any of the pre-game stuff on any channel, too. I show up to watch what ever game I want to watch about 1 minute before kick off, and if I make it through the whole game, as soon as it’s over, I go do something else. It makes it way more enjoyable for me. I suggest all of you try it. I think you’d find out what I found out — that I used to be an NFL addict — but I’ve kicked the habit. With all the rules changes, with guys holding out, with guys getting in trouble, with games being played in other countries, with an almost sure thing that they will go to 18 games at some point, and with the phoniest guy on the planet as Commissioner, the NFL is not nearly as enjoyable as it used to be, anyway. I never, ever thought I’d reach this point that I couldn’t care less if I even watch it, but I’m pretty darned close to being there.

  8. Thats not how sports & ENTERTAINMENT works. Most people dont realize how alike the WWE and NFL is. where as MLB/MLS/NBA/NHL are sports leagues, the NFL is a sports & Entertainment league.

    piis31415 says:
    August 5, 2019 at 11:27 pm
    No reason to compel teams onto Hard Knocks. Time to end the series.

  9. “Will someone tell me what the point of the show is other than to make money for the teams and the NFL?”

    Isn’t that the whole point for everything the league does?

  10. “And that backfired on Jackson, badly.”

    That tells you all you need to know about Hue Jackson. At that point Hue was 1-31 as the Browns coach and instead of thanking his lucky stars he was still employed and trying to turn things around he was more concerned with making his assistants look bad on TV.

  11. Brutal season for the Raiders. NFL has piled *everything* on.

    No other franchise has ever had to endure such disadvantage. 5 straight road games? Hardest schedule, most travel, only 7 home games (5th year straight)?

    And now forcing a Hard Knocks on their way out of town. Brutal.

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