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Jon Gruden: QB Guru?

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Jon Gruden: QB Guru?

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.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (22) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Jeremy's picture

I've thought about this myself several times. Jon Gruden has a lot of football acumen but QB guru should not be on that list. As for Rich Gannon, I believe he has personally credited Mike McCarthy for his tutelage in KC.

Nerdmann's picture

Very much so. Gannon was a glorified Steve Pelleur until MM got ahold of him.

andrewgarda's picture

HARSH Nerdmann.

But true.

98lbs weakling's picture

I disagree on him as an announcer. I turned off the sound last year when he on.

andrewgarda's picture

I think he can do good analysis of situation and plays but is afraid to criticize a player or coach which makes him sound fawning and less informative.

His spectacle is great at time though.

PWC's picture

Agree completely. He is smart, but his constant praise was a little over the top. Especially during Colts games last year, he would get entirely focused on how great Peyton supposedly was. It got to be too much after awhile.

PackersRS's picture

He is afraid to criticize players because he still wants a shot as a HC. He can't go burning a lot of bridges.

Tarynfor 12's picture

Gruden stockpiled QBs in Tampq as if they would be extinct the following year.

That was to cover his ass with the blame the QB.

packeraaron's picture

I couldn't love this post more if I tried.

andrewgarda's picture

I used my favorite Chuckie face for the picture too.

MLecl0001's picture

He acts the way he does because he is hoping to coach again and if he gets a coaching job may very well end up coaching one of them. Thats why if you listen to his commentary during games he is nothing but praises about every one, even the towel guy.

andrewgarda's picture

Yeah that's definitely a factor, I agree. It's unfortunate because you RARELY get to hear what he thinks about a guy's real ability.

Spiderpack's picture

Gruden is a shmooz on the air. He is engaging, but there's sooooo much distortion & that has the effect of overlooking the big picture. I could hardly tolerate him last year, and when he covered the Pack on a nationally televised game, it was almost unbearable hearing him exaggerating a player or situation, and thereby misguiding the general public. So what can we say about his covering QBs? It's business & the American way.

PWC's picture

I agree completely with Nagler, great post.

Yes, people like Gruden are very smart when it comes to football, but their television careers come first. His first priority is his show and his success.

Jim's picture

Not to be a dick, but everyone seemed to agree that his COACHING career came first, not his TV career. Hence the no real criticism.

andrewgarda's picture

a) not sure why you think you're being a dick and b) not sure what your point is.

PWC's picture

What exactly is your point? I was saying that Gruden is just trying to have a successful TV career. His coaching career has nothing to do with it.

Jim's picture

In the article you say he's worried about offending players because he still has coaching aspirations. Meaning he's more worried about coaching then being entertaining. This was echoed in the comments. (See MLecl0001) Then PWC said "Yes, people like Gruden are very smart when it comes to football, but their television careers come first. His first priority is his show and his success." Which is like, the opposite. Looked like you were on a different page then everyone else and didn't know it. Maybe it's me on the wrong page....

PWC's picture

I see what you mean now. What I was trying to say was that his success now and in the future is more important than having good show, hence the constant praise of QBs on his show.

ZeroTolerance's picture

I buy it. Still think he is a good (not great) coach.

Please, football, come back.

Ken at UWM's picture

I've never read Andrew Garda before, but "THIS GUY loves to write about the game of football. Check out this tape of Brett Favre in training camp in 1992. What a competitor."

andrewgarda's picture


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