We all know Jon Gruden.
Former Raider and Buccaneer coach, winning a Super Bowl ring during his tenure on the latter.
THIS GUY is a pretty intelligent, decent analyst who, let’s face it, is pretty damned entertaining to watch.
All in all a guy I’d listen to about many football things.
However, after he called Tyrelle Pryor a ‘rare talent’ on his latest QB Corner, I find myself asking once again:
Why does anyone think Jon Gruden is some sort of guru for young quarterbacks?
It just sort of happened, didn’t it? At some point a few years ago someone said it and then it was repeated until it just became known.
I just have one question: don’t you need to—I don’t know— develop a quarterback to become a guru?
Really, Gruden has forgotten more football than you or I will probably ever know. I’m not knocking myself or you (maybe Nagler) but we know Gruden is a smart football mind. Maybe not Parcells or Lombardi brilliant but good overall.
So I’m not saying he’s a moron or doesn’t know a thing or four about football.
That doesn’t make him some sort of quarterback guru.
Yes, he got more out of Oakland Raider quarterback Rich Gannon then anyone had before, so much so that Gannon was the darling of fantasy football the following year.
Beyond that? When he went to Tampa Bay he had Brad Johnson in place, and while Johnson did well enough it’s not like he set any records. After that he had a succession of mediocre play by Brian Griese, Chris Simms, Bruce Gradkowski and capped it off with two tremendously mediocre seasons by Jeff Garcia.
Not really Walshian.
He couldn’t salvage Rob Johnson. He couldn’t develop Shaun King. He battled with Chris Simms. He had some issues with Gradkowski. He has never completed a ‘project’ QB once. Maybe he just hasn’t had enough to work with.
Frankly? I think he lacks the patience to deal with a young quarterback. He does ok with veterans because there is far less hand holding. A rookie—especially a raw rookie—just drives him nuts when his job is on the line. It’s why he does fine with kids at his QB camps—he’s just giving them the basics. His job doesn’t depend on it.
Which brings us to the Gruden QB Corner series on ESPN. It’s very entertaining, that’s for sure and there are certainly some very interesting things to glean from it.
Why Gruden though? Mike Holmgren I could see. When Bill Walsh was alive, I’d have bought into him on a show like this.
Every time I hear about what a genius Gruden is with quarterbacks though, I scratch my head. I’m not saying his football knowledge isn’t great. I’m asking why the hell anyone thinks he’s something special at developing quarterbacks in the NFL?
This is a great example of what ESPN does best: create it’s own stories and focus on style over substance. We watch Gruden as much for his personality as his expertise. Perhaps more.
As opposed to a guy like Mike Mayock who, while a pleasant guy, isn’t engaging in the same way as Gruden. You watch Mike Mayock for the knowledge and you watch Gruden for the style.
Let’s also not forget Gruden’s tendency to love everyone. He can be critical—he was hard on both Cam Newton and Andy Dalton—but it always seems as if he’s willing to write off his subject’s foibles as something that will pass. Nobody who appears on his show will fail—everyone has enough talent to succeed.
Agents might not let clients on the show otherwise, but it borders on ridiculous and after a while the praise starts meaning less and less.
Especially coming from a guy who hasn’t ever shown an aptitude for being able to find out what makes a young quarterback tick in the first place.