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Jay Gruden, Former NFL Head Coach

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb
The Truth Network Radio
December 27, 2022 3:53 pm

Jay Gruden, Former NFL Head Coach

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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December 27, 2022 3:53 pm

Jay Gruden joins the show to bounce around the latest news and playoff landscape in the NFL.

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Throughout the 60s and 70s, cops hunted down key figures of the Dixie Mafia, including its enigmatic ringleader, Kirksey Nix. I'm in a rush to making money.

I'm not in a rush to hurting people. Fifteen years into Kirksey's life sentence, the Dixie Mafia was practically folklore, but that would soon change. I'm Jed Lipinski. This is Gone South, a documentary podcast from C-13 Originals, a Cadence 13 studio. Season 2, The Dixie Mafia. Available now on the Odyssey app or wherever you get your podcasts. The listening you love is on the free Odyssey app. Your trusted local radio stations, coverage of your favorite teams, live news from your hometown, and millions of podcasts on demand. Best of all, you can completely customize your listening experience. Follow topics you care about, like leagues and teams, pause or rewind your local sports and news, and add shows to your queue to catch up later.

There's a lot to listen to, so get started and download the free Odyssey app today. We'll continue the NFL conversation right now with the former NFL head coach, and that, of course, is Jay Gruden, kind enough to join us on CBS Sports Radio. Jay, always appreciate the time. How you been? I've been doing good, playing a little bit of golf, watching these games on TV, having a good time. Have you been hitting them straight? How's your golf game? You know, it's up and down. Like most five handicappers, you play good one day and terrible the next, but it's fun.

I'm envious of all the golf time you're able to get in. So, right now, we were talking about this before you came on in the AFC, and this is shaping up to be a heck of a postseason, especially when you just look at the quarterbacks. You already have Mahomes, Allen, Burrow, Lamar Jackson, now Justin Herbert last night clinched playoff berths, and then you could see Trevor Lawrence added into that fold. Just with those young, talented quarterbacks we have in the AFC, it's really setting up not only for a fun postseason, Jay, but for years and years to come.

Yeah, for sure. And that's why you see so many teams jockeying and trying to find that quarterback, because that position is critical for your team's success. And those teams that you mentioned all have great ones, great futures for years to come.

I mean, they're all young, they're all talented, and I think the stage is set for a great playoff. Last night, we saw Justin Herbert and the Chargers punch their ticket to the postseason. How do you kind of look at the job Brandon Staley has done this year? Because not only has he had to deal with a lot of injuries, but also those rumors of maybe Sean Payton replacing him.

Yeah, I think every team that's struggled a little bit has those rumors of Sean Payton coming in. You know, it's a tough thing to deal with, but Brandon's done a good job. He takes some hits for some of the decisions on fourth down and what have you, but he's got that team in position to make a run in the playoffs. He's got an excellent quarterback. Their defense played a lot better last night than they have in games past, so that's a big plus for them if their defense continue to play.

Justin Herbert gets going, throwing to Keenen Allen and Mike Williams. They'll have a chance. Yeah, and I still think that they're so dangerous, because really, Jay, and you even just said it, they haven't really played their best game yet because of all those injuries. Yeah, I agree, and I didn't even mention Austin Eckler. I mean, this guy's running between the tackles.

He's a great weapon out in space in the passing game, so yeah, for sure. Their defense continue to play like they have. They get healthy. They get Derwin James on the field for a whole 60 minutes, game after game.

They're going to be tough to deal with. Who do you think is the best team in the AFC right now? Well, I usually start with the quarterbacks, and I think, you know, you got to mention, I think the Cincinnati Bengals are, and they beat Kansas City three times in a row. They're playing very good defense. They got three unbelievable, talented receivers. They got a solid running game. I do worry about the loss of their right tackle. That bothers me a little bit, but I like the way Joe Burrow plays in clutched situations. Talking to Jay Gruden right now, Zach, I'll be with you on CBS Sports Radio. If you were interviewing for that Broncos job and you were asked, how would you fix Russell Wilson?

What would your answer be? Well, sometimes quarterbacks at the age of Russell Wilson have had habits that they cannot correct, and he has an issue with pocket presence. Takes a lot of sacks. It doesn't see very well down the field. There are things you got to do with them and get them outside the pocket. Try to get some quick game going.

Try to make it comfortable. Got to get a strong running game for him. I don't think Russell Wilson's in any position where you think he can drop back 35 to 40 times a game and he's going to beat you. He's got to be a controlled passing game 20, 25 times a game and running game and play great defense, but he still can't escape and do the things you need to do for a quarterback. With him being 34 years old and how much money they have tied up to him, do you think that's an attractive job for perspective head coaching candidates?

I really do not. It's a tough situation to walk into. They've been dismal on offense. They should be better on offense than they are with the talented quarterback that they have, the receiving court they have. They've had a couple good running backs. Their offense line isn't terrible and their defense has been playing great.

There's no reason for them to be in a situation they are in. You can't just blame the coach. I know they fired Coach Hackett, but players have to stand up and make some plays and they just haven't made any on offense.

They've been horrific and I really don't know why. Is it the quarterback? Is it the line? Is it the play calling?

I think it's a combination of all of them. Is the ceiling for Russ moving forward at the age of 34 just being a good quarterback in this league and no longer a great quarterback if he gets things right again? Yeah, I do think so. I think when they were great at Seattle, they had the legion of doom. They played incredible defense.

People tend to forget that. They just think about Russell Wilson, but they had one of the top defenses of all time playing with them. Great in turnovers, making big stops, give them a great field position and they had a pretty good defense in Denver. The way he's performed the last couple years, I'm not too sure he's a top 25 quarterback, let alone a top 10 quarterback. Jay Gruden here with us. When you get to this decision that Rahm Rivera has to make for your old football team, if you were still in charge there, would you go with Carson Wentz or Taylor Heinecke this week?

You know, it's a tough call. I'm not there to watch them practice every day in OTAs and training camp and just see the body of work that they've put in. You can see them on game day. You see Heinecke make some plays with those legs. He's a tough, great competitor. You see the arm talent that Carson Wentz has. He struggled a little bit early, but they weren't playing as good on defense as they were when Heinecke played. They were running the ball effectively when Heinecke got those wins. I'm sure Carson Wentz can hand off just as good.

That's a really tough call. I can't pin the San Francisco game on Heinecke. He played very well for three quarters. He had two very unfortunate plays. I don't think either one of them were his fault.

One was on the back, one was on the protection. They pulled him, brought in Wentz and he made some good throws down the field. It's just hard for me to say, hey, put in Wentz right now because if they thought Wentz gave the best chance to win big games in the playoffs, they should have put him in when he got back from his injury. So I think there are some feelings around the building that they think Heinecke is better.

I personally would stick with Heinecke. When you look at just the roster, I know there's a lot of different views of the commanders organization because of their owner and Daniel Snyder. We don't know how much longer he's going to be owning the team. But when you just look at that roster, it seems like they're a quarterback away. This seems like a pretty damn good roster, Jay. Yeah, it is.

I like to think I left it in a better spot than when I got it. We had some pretty good players. They left some pretty good players that we had go.

But they are talented. They have a very good defensive line. Sweatt, Allen and Payne are outstanding. They lost Holcomb, but they're getting a first round pick back. Chase Young, they've got a pretty decent secondary with Kendall Fuller back there leading the way. And then offensively, the offensive line is probably a little bit shaky in my opinion. But they have a good, strong running game and obviously three ultra-talented receivers. What's been your evaluation this year of Daniel Jones, Jay Gruden?

You know what? I like Daniel Jones. I think Daniel Jones is doing a lot with the little right now. I know he has a great running back of Saquon and that's their ticket to success is handing him the ball. But when he has to drop back the pass, he doesn't have Tyreke Hill or Jason Waddle or Jalen Waddle or any of these marquee receivers running around for him. He's got a pretty marginal group out there at receiver.

I'd probably say they're the bottom third of the league in receiving talent and tight end as well. So I think he's doing a lot with the little. I think he's got arm talent. He's showing what he can do athletically outside the pocket. He's a lot more athletic than a lot of people give him credit for.

I do like him. I think somebody's going to take a chance with him. If it's not the Giants, somebody will pay him very well and let him be their franchise quarterback for a few years.

That's going to be the thing, what the contract is. Because I do think the Giants want him back, but I just wonder how crazy you get with this contract because he's showing that he could be a serviceable quarterback, a little bit more than a serviceable quarterback in this league. But you still wonder if he could be that franchise guy. Yeah, that's the issue a lot of teams have with these guys that aren't the top, you know, the Burroughs, Mahomes and Josh Allen.

Those are obvious guys. But then the other guys are playing the quarterback position. They're going to want quarterbacks starting money and that's what it is. And some teams are stuck with guys that are maybe top 10, top 15, 5 quarter. But you have to have somebody. You can't go into the draft and say, let's draft one. You can't go to free agent and say, there'll be a free agent available.

No, there won't. Not many teams are going to let go from one key quarterback to another team. They're going to keep their quarterback unless you're the Washington football team like we let Kirk Cousins go. You know, so it's very hard to find a quarterback. And if you have one that has some talent, has some athletic ability, you got to hold on to them because there's no guarantee you're going to find another one like that.

Jay Gruden, you mentioned one of your former quarterbacks and Kirk Cousins. What do you think the Vikings could do this year with what you've seen out of them so far? Well, I like the fact that they won a lot of close games, you know, to be 10 and 0 with one point games or two point, whatever close games is impressive. They've come from behind.

They've won with the lead. They've done a lot of, they've made big plays in critical situations. They have big time players that keep positions of Dalvin cook and Justin Jefferson, Adam billion.

And obviously Adam Hawkinson is no, he's no cupcake either. So they have key players that keep positions in the quarterback is playing with a lot of confidence and that goes a long way come playoff time. And I think defensively is where they're struggling, obviously.

But, but if they can play a little bit better than they have a chance. I look at Justin Jefferson, he's making a serious case for NFL MVP. We've never seen a receiver win that award, but with some of the injuries at the, at the quarterback position, he may end up winning this thing, Jay.

I agree. And why not? I mean, this guy is a dominant player at some of the plays that he's made. Like I mentioned, the one against Buffalo, the one last week against giants, he just made play after play in big time situations.

And then why not? I mean, this guy is a dynamic player. Um, he can run every route from outside and inside is a great target. He's good after the catch. Obviously he's a great guy, burns a lot of energy to that franchise and they would not be where they're at without that guy.

I know you do some work with the Rams right now. Just what has been your evaluation of Baker Mayfield? Cause it's been impressive how that guy has come in and just very quickly as played some better football.

Yeah. Sean's a very quarterback friendly coach. Uh, he can take a quarterback and, and make a very comfortable early. And that's what he's done with Baker. He hasn't asked him to do too much in a dropback passing game. You've got them outside the pocket, done a lot of fly action, some bootlegs, comfortable throws for him. And when he's asked to make some big time throws, he's made them. Uh, it's been a great start for Baker with his career at Rams and pretty rejuvenating himself to put himself in that talk for maybe a quarterback. One of these teams that need one in the future. If it's not the Rams, if it's somebody else, there's a coaching side of it.

And then there's a human side of it. When we get to, to a tongue of Iowa, this is now multiple times this year, he's been in concussion protocol. I know they're fighting for a playoff berth, but how would you handle that situation this weekend? If you were a coach? Well, you have to let the trainers handle it. And then the concussion protocol take its course.

That's the only thing you can do. You know, when they say he's ready to go, then you have to take their word for it and to his word for it. You know, if they say he's not ready, there's not passing the necessary test and he can't play.

That's just the way it is. Um, you know, I think some concussions are obviously more, uh, uh, dangerous than others. I guess I'm not a doctor, but, uh, hopefully it's just a little minor, uh, rung bell, I guess, so to speak. I don't know.

It's just hard to say, but you have to trust the process, trust the doctors. And that's obviously trust to him. Last thing I'll ask you, it was announced today that JJ Watt is going to be playing his final few games of his NFL career over the next two weeks. Um, when you were preparing for JJ Watt, just what would come to mind as we've seen one of the more dominant players in NFL history the last decade or so? I think he said it there.

I think he's, if not the best, the most dominant, he's in the top five most dominant players. Throughout the sixties and seventies, cops hunted down key figures of the Dixie mafia, including its enigmatic ringleader, Kirksey Nix. I'm interested in making money. I'm not interested in hurting people. Fifteen years into Kirksey's life sentence, the Dixie mafia was practically folklore, but that would soon change.

I'm Jed Lipinski. This is Gone South, a documentary podcast from C-13 Originals, a Cadence 13 studio, season two, the Dixie mafia. Available now on the Odyssey app or wherever you get your podcasts. The listening you love is on the free Odyssey app, your trusted local radio stations, coverage of your favorite teams, live news from your hometown and millions of podcasts on demand. Best of all, you can completely customize your listening experience. Follow topics you care about like leagues and teams, pause or rewind your local sports and news and add shows to your queue to catch up later. There's a lot to listen to, so get started and download the free Odyssey app today. The listening you love is on the free Odyssey app, your trusted local radio stations, coverage of your favorite teams, live news from your hometown and millions of podcasts on demand. Best of all, you can completely customize your listening experience, follow topics you care about like leagues and teams, pause or rewind your local sports and news and add shows to your queue to catch up later. There's a lot to listen to, so get started and download the free Odyssey app today.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-27 16:18:16 / 2022-12-27 16:25:13 / 7

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