On Monday night, Jon Gruden the television analyst gets to critique Jay Gruden the rookie NFL head coach. It should make for a few entertaining moments.
“Jon is Jon. He’s going to be positive if he can, but if I do something that’s out-of-line ignorant, I’m sure he’ll call me on it,” Jay Gruden said with a laugh.
Young brother Jay’s Washington team will host the Cleveland Browns on older brother Jon’s “Monday Night Football.” On Saturday, Jon will interview Jay as part of the usual pregame broadcast routine. They were competitive as boys and have been mutually supportive of each other as adults, but their sibling banter remains as strong as ever.
“He’s very good at what he does, and he won’t jeopardize what he does for my feelings, that’s for sure,” Jay said with another laugh. “He never has.”
Actually, Jay Gruden has been doing a good job of self-critique without any help during his initial months on the job. After his first preseason game, he candidly admitted: “I need to fix my game-day awareness.”
It’s not often an NFL coach will say something like that, even if there’s a good excuse: Jay Gruden only had to focus on one side of the ball during his three seasons as offensive coordinator with the Cincinnati Bengals.
“Sometimes I get so focused in on offense and what’s going on, I’m reading the iPad thing and looking at the plays — and there’s a game going on out there I’ve got to watch,” he said. “So there’s things like that I need to focus in on a little bit more. The preseason games are equally as important for the coaches as they are for players.
“It’s a great experience for me, and I know I’ve got a long way to go to improve myself, but just little things — simple awareness things — and being able to communicate and see what’s going on.”
Jay Gruden also said he wants to fix the pregame warm-up because, well, it “just felt like it was a little weird.”
“Just little things, like how long we’re out there for stretching, one-on-ones and all that stuff — just a couple things that I didn’t feel comfortable about,” he said. “Certain things you just don’t really think about, and pregame warm-up is one of them.”
After the new-and-improved warm-up, the starters will play about a quarter Monday night. Among those not suiting up will be defensive end Jason Hatcher (recovering from knee surgery), running back Chris Thompson (sprained ankle) and LB Darryl Sharpton (sprained ankle). Safety Brandon Meriweather is questionable with a toe injury.
Friday’s practice was a lively one.