In the weeks leading up to training camp, Redskins Insider JP Finlay will look at specific people facing increased pressure for the 2017 season.
Pressure Point: Redskins head coach Jay Gruden
Heat is on: After two straight seasons of slight success, Gruden received a contract extension this offseason. That move made sense, providing the organization with stability at head coach and letting players know that Gruden will be running the team for the long haul. Without that extension, Gruden would have been coaching in the fourth year of a five-year deal, and questions would have come about his job security after the first slight rough patch of the season.
With the extension, however, the pressure will still mount.
Gruden lost his offensive coordinator from last season when Sean McVay took over as head coach of the LA Rams. The Redskins coach doesn't lack for offensive knowledge, and the system in place will remain in tact.
Losing McVay also means Gruden will take back over playcalling duties. The Redskins struggled in 2016 with clock management issues, and with the head coach calling plays, it could be even tougher for Gruden to make the split-second decisions often required in tight games.
On the other side of the ball, Gruden had to fire Joe Barry as defensive coordinator after two subpar seasons. In his place, Gruden promoted former outside linebackers coach Greg Manusky.
If the Redskins defense struggles again, many will wonder why Gruden didn't find a new DC with experience running top defenses. There were strong candidates available.
Beyond all that, there are the additional personnel duties Gruden has taken on. He handled all of the player interviews at the NFL Combine, and with Scot McCloughan gone, Gruden's role in the front office has increased as well.
In just his fourth year as a head coach, is Gruden ready for all the additional responsibilities? Ever cool with the media and players, Gruden faces a lot of pressure in 2017.
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