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Jay Gruden 'fired up' to take back over Redskins play calling duties

Jay Gruden 'fired up' to take back over Redskins play calling duties

MOBILE - With the departure of Sean McVay to the Los Angeles Rams, the Redskins lost not only their offensive coordinator but their play caller. For his two seasons as starter, Kirk Cousins has heard McVay's voice in his ear, and this fall, that will change. 

McVay's move west also means a new, yet old, opportunity for head coach Jay Gruden. 

"I'm very excited about trying it again," Gruden said Tuesday from the Senior Bowl. 

The "it" in mention means Gruden will again take over play calling duties from the sideline. His first year as Redskins coach in 2014, Gruden called plays. The offense didn't score much (26th) but they moved the ball well (13th), and that was with a messy QB scenario that saw all three of Robert Griffin III, Colt McCoy and Kirk Cousins start games. Additionally, that was Gruden's first year ever as a head coach, which obviously required a number of adjustments for the former Bengals play caller. On top of all that, Gruden also enlisted himself as quarterback coach that season, as if there wasn't already enough on his plate.

In 2017, that will all look much different.

Gruden's comments Tuesday indicate Cousins will be back to run the offense, and the team will have a third season of continuity with Matt Cavanaugh moving up from QB Coach to coordinator. Newly hired Kevin O'Connell will serve in the QB coach role, so there will still be a specific coach for Cousins to speak with and work through problems.

"I'm excited about dipping my hat, giving it another opportunity. I'm fired up about it," Gruden said.

The coach explained that other coaches will provide insight into play calling and game schemes, like they have for two seasons. 

"[Matt] Cavanaugh obviously knows a lot. Bill [Callahan] will have input in the running game again but I look forward to the challenge," he said.

The 'Skins head coach will have more confidence calling plays this season, especially after his offense has grown from his first year. Last season, Washington ranked 3rd in yards and 12th in points.

"I think the first year we came in here we tweaked with the offensive terminology a little bit, trying to add some of my concepts," he explained. This year, little changes should be expected with terminology.

It's also important to remember that while McVay was the playcaller, it was still Gruden's offense - the same system that landed him the Redskins top job in the first place. In 2013, his final season with Cincinnatti, the Bengals ranked in the Top 10 in both yards and points.

"Sean did a really good job so I didn't feel like I had to jump in there and over rule him that often," Gruden said of the last two seasons. 

Going into the fourth year of a five-year contract, and with a much firmer grip on his role on the sideline, continuity at quarterback, and a coaching staff he trusts, Gruden is in a much better situation to call plays for the 'Skins offense than he was three seasons ago. 


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When is Super Bowl 2018? Date, time, location, odds, TV channel, halftime performer

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When is Super Bowl 2018? Date, time, location, odds, TV channel, halftime performer

Super Bowl LII (52) will feature the New England Patriots/ Jacksonville Jaguars (AFC Champion) against the Minnesota Vikings/ Philadelphia Eagles (NFC Champion) at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota on February 4, 2018.

If they go on to advance, the Vikings would become the first team to ever ‘host’ the Super Bowl in their home stadium. They are the third to play the game in their home state. Minnesota will be looking for their first Super Bowl title in five tries, the most appearances by any team without a championship.

Philadelphia is looking for their first title ever as well, and doing it with a back-up quarterback Nick Foles. They have been the underdog in every game this postseason; it would be no different in the Super Bowl.

New England is looking for their third Super Bowl over the past four years and their sixth championship since 2001. However, their path in the AFC Playoffs is arguably the easiest in their history. A win by the Patriots would tie the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most in NFL history with six.

The new kids one the block, the Jaguars are one win away from their first Super Bowl appearance in what is already the best year ever for the franchise. If Jacksonville were to pull it off, they would be the tenth team in NFL history to win in their first Super Bowl appearance.

Super Bowl LII Information:

When is Super Bowl 52?

6:15 pm ET, February 4, 2018

Who is playing in Super Bowl 52?

New England Patriots/ Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Minnesota Vikings/ Philadelphia Eagles

Where is Super Bowl 52?

U.S. Bank Stadium, Minnesota

How can I watch Super Bowl 52 on TV?


Where can I stream Super Bowl 52?

The Super Bowl can be streamed for free on and on the NBC Sports app.

Who are the announcers for Super Bowl 52?

Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya, Heather Cox

Who is performing the Super Bowl 52 halftime show?

Justin Timberlake is the Pepsi Super Bowl halftime performer. It is his third Super Bowl performance, previously performing in Super Bowl XXV and more famously in XXVIII with Janet Jackson.

What are the odds for Super Bowl 52?

New England Patriots: 6/5
Minnesota Vikings: 7/4
Philadelphia Eagles: 7/1
Jacksonville Jaguars: 8/1

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Need to Know: A random walk through the Redskins past for edition No. 2000


Need to Know: A random walk through the Redskins past for edition No. 2000

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, January 21, 52 days before NFL free agency starts.


Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 44
—NFL Draft (4/26) 95
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 231

Need to Know No. 2000

This is a special edition of Need to Know. It was 2,000 days ago, on July 31, 2012, that this post designed to give Redskins fans the news and views they need to get their days started was posted for the first time. And it has gone up every single morning since that day, 2,000 mornings in a row.

There is no reliable way to measure how many have read the post since site redesigns and name changes have made reliable tracking difficult. But NTK page views are estimated in the tens of millions. Thanks to all of you for reading and commenting, both on the site and on social media. It’s the passion of Redskins fans that makes the job so enjoyable.

Here is a look back at some of the “landmark” editions of Need to Know. I can’t like to all of them because of the aforementioned changes but it’s an interesting, random walk through Redskins history.

No. 1, “Hits to the depth chart”, 7/31/12—The Redskins were trying to deal with the losses of LB Jonathan Goff, who had suffered a season-ending knee injury, and G Kory Lichtensteiger, who was out after getting his knee scoped. Also, the Saints, who were the Redskins’ opponent in the opener, were complaining about the Bountygate penalties. A lot. See, even during training camp in 2012, NTK was able to look beyond RG3 hysteria to get you to the other important stories of the day.

No. 500, “Nickel coverage—Jordan Reed misses practice”, 12/13/13—Yes, the more things change the more things stay the same. The talented tight end, then a rookie, was still trying to a recover from a concussion he suffered a few weeks earlier. Reed ended up going on injured reserve, missing the last six games. Also, Mike Shanahan said that didn’t pay any attention to all of the negative talk about the team in the media and Kyle Shanahan said that didn’t have any input into the decision to bench RG3 and play Kirk Cousins. Both claims were greeted with skepticism.

No. 1,000, “Can the Redskins draft an immediate O-line starter?”, 4/27/15—This was just a couple of days before the draft. Brandon Scherff, who ended up being Redskins’ top pick at No. 5 overall, is not mentioned but he did indeed become the team’s selection. This was Scot McCloughan’s first draft and the identity of the Redskins’ first pick was still a mystery. Although Scherff’s name often came up, most mocks had them going with edge rusher Dante Fowler, who ended up going to the Jaguars at No. 3.

No. 1,500, “Redskins searching for back to back playoff spots”, 9/8/2016—This was a “By the numbers” look at the team as it approached their season opener against the Steelers. They were coming off of a playoff berth in 2015 and, as we know now, their streak of consecutive seasons without going to the playoffs at least two straight years would continue. In 2016 were able to stop a 19-year streak of not having back to back willing seasons, just barely, by going 8-7-1. One more interesting number from the post—Kirk Cousins’ pass completion percentage at home in 2015 was 74.7 percent, the highest in NFL history.

Again, thanks for reading. See you tomorrow for edition No. 2,001.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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