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Jay Gruden, the read option and Dalton vs. Kaepernick

Jay Gruden, the read option and Dalton vs. Kaepernick

So if you want to believe the post-draft revisionist history—and I’m as highly suspicious of that as I am of pre-draft utterings by NFL personnel types—Mike Brown wanted to draft Colin Kaepernick to become the Bengals quarterback. Jay Gruden, who was then the Bengals’ first-year offensive coordinator, fresh out of the UFL, wanted Andy Dalton.

Gruden believed that Dalton could start right away and with Carson Palmer threatening to retire (a threat he made good on until the Bengals traded him in midseason), he thought that was what the Bengals needed.

He was down on Kaepernick for another reason. Nevada coach Chris Ault was a pioneer in the Pistol formation offense and Nevada won a lot of read option plays.

“I also wasn't really into the read-option stuff and it wasn't really that popular at the time,” Gruden said earlier this week.

That line has some Redskins fans flipping out over the possibility of Gruden becoming the Redskins’ head coach. The line of thinking is that Gruden will not be able to get the most out of quarterback Robert Griffin III if he is not “into the read-option stuff.”

That line of thinking is flawed. Most who panic don’t read the last part of the sentence. Nobody was into the read-option in April of 2011. Cam Newton was drafted in the first round that year and had not taken the field. Griffin and Russell Wilson were a year away from entering the NFL and Kaepernick would not become an NFL starter for another year and a half.

Even though Griffin needs to develop into more of a pocket passer if he is going to be successful in the long run (or even to have a long run) there should be some read-option elements in the offense to keep defenses off balance. It is likely that Gruden will see this and, if he gets the job, get “into” the read-option a bit.

It’s pretty simple, really. During his interview today, one of the things that Gruden will be asked to do is to paint a vision of an offensive scheme that will maximize Griffin’s talent and enhance his longevity. Making him into a pure pocket passer won’t accomplish the former and the heavy use of the read-option will have an adverse effect on the latter. The read option or some other element that utilizes Griffin’s speed will need to be incorporated into Gruden’s plan. If it isn’t there, he is unlikely to get the job.

All of this doesn’t mean that Gruden is the ideal candidate for the job. Like almost everyone being considered he has his plusses and minuses. But his apparent distain for the read-option three years ago is a non-factor.

Gruden’s prowess in choosing a QB won’t matter, either. Obviously Kaepernick is the better player now and it’s hard see that changing at any point in the future.

But Gruden won’t be picking the Redskins’ quarterback. Griffin is already here.

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Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

As the discussion rages around what the Redskins should do with free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins, $75 million cornerback Josh Norman made clear he wants the passer back. Norman explained that the 'Skins struggles should not be pinned to Cousins, but rather, a Washington defense that finished the year near the bottom of the NFL.

"We got to help him out of defense, and stop somebody on the field," Norman said on FS1 (click here for full video). "We did not help him out at all. I'll be honest with you. We got to do our job."

Norman's comments came during a spirited argument with Colin Cowherd, Jason Whitlock and Cris Carter in what amounted to a festival of hot takery. Whitlock's argument was that Cousins is not a franchise quarterback, and shoult not be paid as such, largely for losing the final two home games of the year against Carolina and the New York Giants.

Cousins passed for nearly 5,000 yards this year, a statitstic Norman pointed to in his defense of the QB. He also explained that Cousins still has room to grow.

"He only had two seasons," Norman said. "Cam Newton had five seasons."

Drafted in 2012, Cousins was just named the 'Skins starter in 2015. He's started every game the last two seasons and gone 17-16 while passing for more than 9,000 yards. Norman played with Newton in Carolina before signing with Washington last year, and got to watch the quarterback develop into the league MVP in 2015.

Norman described Cousins as a 'great guy' and leader in the locker room, but he allowed that, "I know a great guy don’t translate into wins. I'm not saying that."

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 9 worst play of 2016

Steelers at Redskins Week 1

10:18 left in Q2, Steelers ball 4th and 1 at the Redskins 29, Redskins leading 6-0

Ben Roethlisberger pass deep left to Antonio Brown for 29 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Tandler: Things were looking up for the Redskins prior to this, even though they were unable to punch the ball into the end zone in two forays deep into Steelers territory and had to settle for field goals (a taste of things to come all year). The Steelers drove down the field and went for it on fourth and one. Because Joe Barry opted not to have Josh Norman travel from side to side with Brown, it was Bashaud Breeland with one-on-one coverage on the right side. Brown beat Breeland and DeAngelo Hall was late giving safety help and Big Ben put the ball on the money. The score put the Steelers ahead to stay.

More Redskins: An early look at first-round draft possibilities

Finlay: It's easy to forget now that the Redskins had an early lead in the opener against Pittsburgh. In fact, their defense started well, until this point. In something that would be repeated throughout the year, the Steelers did not hesitate to go for it on 4th down against the Washington defense. Breeland was in pretty good position on the ball, though Roethlisberger's throw was right on the money. It would be only one more week until Josh Norman would then start traveling to cover other team's best receivers. Beyond the immediate impact of this play, it also seemed to stay with Breeland as he struggled somewhat in the first half of the season.

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!