The busy portion of the free agency period is over. The draft and rookie minicamp are in the rearview, as well. Now comes the hard part for first year head coach Jay Gruden: putting it all together. With OTAs set to begin Tuesday, Redskins Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler are going to examine the top items on Gruden’s to-do list as he prepares the Redskins for training camp in Richmond.
Up today …
The coaching to-do list
Tandler: Earlier this month, Jason Hatcher said, “This is our team,” explaining that the veteran players would have a great deal of say in how things would be done at Redskins Park. It seems that Jay Gruden has given that impression and he needs to decide just how much he will let the players decide, starting with OTAs. Will he give the team the option of splitting the allotted practice time into two sessions like he did during rookie camp? If they decide to take part of a day to do a fun activity, will Gruden decide or will the players? There’s a fine line between empowering employees and letting in inmates run the asylum. Gruden, a first-time NFL head coach, will have to be careful in finding out where that line is.
El-Bashir: One of the things that became apparent in rookie minicamp was that Gruden is a fun-loving coach (and the complete opposite of his predecessor). He lined up as a cornerback, threw passes to receivers and even patted himself on the back after a nice throw, later explaining he believes it’s important “to be myself out there.” And that’s great. It’s been my experience that players usually respond positively to that kind of stuff. But don’t go back-and-forth. I saw former Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau attempt to switch from an affable players’ coach to a disciplinarian (after a playoff disappointment) and it completely backfired. So, if I could offer one piece of advice, it would be this: establish one management style and stick to it. Because it’s difficult, if not impossible, to change course midstream.