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Kyler Murray's leadership, work ethic in question after NFL Combine interviews, according to Charley Casserly

Kyler Murray's leadership, work ethic in question after NFL Combine interviews, according to Charley Casserly

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray had to prove to scouts that he was tall enough to be a quarterback in the NFL. 

He accomplished that.

Almost a week removed from the NFL Combine, Murray will now have to prove that he has the moxie to be the leader of an NFL team after sources of NBC Sports Washington's Charley Casserly came away from Murray's team interviews thoroughly unimpressed.

"Well, the interviews, [I] talked to multiple teams, and it wasn't very good," Casserly said Wednesday on 106.7 The Fan's Sports Junkies. "I'm not going to give you details 'cause that's confidential, but the board work, where you test the guy on his football knowledge, his knowledge of his scheme and potential of things he's seen in the NFL was not very good, at all. Seems like he's an instinctive, reactive player. You can call it street football, right, but obviously he's very good at it. The tape is very good. A lot of good things on the tape."

En route to winning the Heisman Trophy in 2018, Murray was 260-for-377 for 4,361 passing yards, 42 touchdowns and seven interception while rushing for 1,001 yards on 41 attempts and 12 touchdowns.

Those are pretty insane numbers. 

His athleticism shouldn't be in question either considering he had to make the extremely rare decision of choosing football over baseball after the Oakland A's drafted him in the first round of the 2018 MLB Draft. 

But what is in question, according to Casserly's sources, is Murray's off the field characteristics.

"You question his leadership ability. You question his work ethic," Casserly added. "Those are the things that came out of the interviews. And it was multiple people. I mean, it wasn't just one team. So to me, he failed the interview."

Murray isn't the first player who attended the combine and has had to prove scouts and owners wrong. Just last year, first-overall pick Baker Mayfield had to dodge Johnny Manziel comparisons leading up to the draft, and considering the success of his rookie season, those critics are probably kicking themselves right now. 

With experience as general manager of the Houston Texans and Washington Redskins, Casserly knows this all too well. 

"Now, I can tell you other quarterbacks who've gone to the playoffs and won that failed their interview at the combine," Casserly said. "The whole key is the team's ability to adapt to what this player does and then the player's ability to focus in and work hard."

Still, Casserly feels Murray is going to have to take major strides in the leadership department. 

"Football wise, and I did too, you're going to have to figure out what [Patrick] Mahomes did. A little bit Russell Wilson and not so much Mayfield... But I said he's none of those guys when it comes to what appears to be leadership, work ethic and the ability to understand and grasp a system. Now, again, I've seen guys who've failed interviews that have won playoff games. So, it's possible." 

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    10 Training Camp Questions: How dangerous is the Brandon Scherff contract situation?

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    10 Training Camp Questions: How dangerous is the Brandon Scherff contract situation?

    The Redskins report to training camp on July 24th, and for the next 10 days, JP Finlay will count down the 10 biggest questions the Redskins face going into the 2019 season.

    10) Will the Redskins develop depth on the D-line?

    9) Can the Redskins count on Montae Nicholson?

    8) Want better offense? Get more out of the tight ends 

    7) Will Jimmy Moreland actually win the slot CB job from Fabian Moreau?

    6) After losing Reuben Foster, how's the Redskins LB situation?

    5) Will potential match production for Redskins WRs?

    When a team picks in the Top 10 of the NFL Draft, folks around the NFL expect that player to become a Pro Bowler. For Washington, that exact scenario unfolded with right guard Brandon Scherff. 

    Mostly. 

    Selected fifth overall in 2015, the Redskins took Scherff to play right tackle and anchor the offensive line opposite Trent Williams. That idea quickly faded, helped by the emergence of Morgan Moses, and Scherff moved inside to play guard. For four years, it's worked out great, with Pro Bowl selections in 2016 and 2017. 

    Scherff is a mauler in the best sense of the word. He has great footwork and Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has called the former Iowa Hawkeye the best pulling guard in the NFL. Scherff is strong and nasty, words that won't win beauty pageants but absolutely win in the trenches of the NFL. 

    Considering all of that, a contract extension for Scherff should be easy. Right?

    Wrong. 

    Currently in the final year of his rookie deal, multiple reports stretching over the last six weeks indicate that the organization is way off in their extension offers to Scherff. He might not command the biggest contract in the league, but he will get paid like a top three guard. In 2019, that means a lot of money.

    Cowboys guard Zach Martin makes $14 million a year. Jaguars guard Andrew Norwell makes $13.3 million a year. Scherff might not get to Martin's salary, but he will probably get to Norwell, whether Washington pays it or not.

    That means the Redskins need to pony up the cash now because as each day passes, the team is approaching an ugly set of options. Scherff and his representatives might continue to negotiate during the season, but it doesn't make a lot of sense. Once free agency becomes in view, players tend to wait for it. Just ask Kirk Cousins. 

    In fact, the situation between Scherff and the Redskins has some resemblance to the Cousins saga from a few years ago. 

    In that case, Washington low-balled their homegrown quarterback in their first set of negotiations. From there, things went sideways, and the team used consecutive franchise tags on Cousins before he finally left via free agency. 

    If the Redskins can't get a deal done with Scherff, the team could use a franchise tag in 2020. But that's a dangerous game of roulette. 

    The time to get a deal done with Scherff is now, if not last month. Redskins team president has said in the past that deadlines drive deals, but with Scherff, there is no exact deadline. He can decide to stop working on a contract extension at any moment, particularly once the pads come on at training camp. 

    The Trent Williams holdout might be complicating things a bit, if Williams only wants more cash and the issue isn't about much more than that. The truth is a Scherff extension would actually free up cap space in the short term, as his signing bonus would be spread out over the life of the contract, and some of that salary cap relief could go to Williams right away. 

    Williams' status isn't the hold up between Scherff and the Redskins. Whatever is the actual holdup best be resolved soon. or the Redskins are beginning down an all too familiar franchise path.

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    Jay Gruden deserves praise for keeping Redskins 'out of the ditches'

    Jay Gruden deserves praise for keeping Redskins 'out of the ditches'

    On paper, Jay Gruden's tenor with the Redskins is nothing to write home about. Through five seasons he holds a 35-44-1 record, good enough for a .444 winning percentage. Looking at that, some may draw the conclusion that Gruden hasn't been what the Redskins need at the helm.

    But according to Pro Football Talk's Darin Gantt, that's not exactly the case. Taking into account the variables Gruden has dealt with throughout the five years, Gantt actually sees him as a "really good" coach.

    "I have always come down of the side, maybe, of guys who are doing more with less," Gantt said recently on a Redskins Talk Podcast. "I think Jay has done a pretty good job keeping things in the middle."

    Doing more with less and working in the middle essentially defines Jay Gruden's career with the Redskins. Besides his opening year in 2014 in which Washington went 4-12, Gruden's teams have consistently finished right around the middle of the pack.

    In the last four seasons, the Redskins have not won more than nine games, but they also haven't lost more than nine. Hovering right around .500, they've always been around league average.

    Part of the reason Gantt is willing to give Gruden praise for records that some coaches would get scolded for revolves around what he's had to work with. Gruden's time as head coach has been filled with injuries and other dilemmas both on and off the field. 

    In those circumstances, it wouldn't be surprising to see a team completely flounder and spiral out of control. But, that hasn't really been the case with Gruden. Dealing with what he has, the head coach has kept the team competitive for the most part. The team hasn't been a perennial playoff contender, but it also hasn't been at the bottom of the league.

    For that ability to keep the Redskins out of the basement despite all the problems he's encountered, Gruden is someone Gantt respects.

    "They're able to keep it out of the ditches," Gantt said about Gruden and former NFL head coach John Fox, who Gantt followed during his time in Carolina.

    "I think again in the NFL there's something to be said for that," Gantt added. "When things get sideways a Jim Zorn can lose control in a hurry. I feel like Jay just got sort of a steady hand on the wheel."

    Until Gruden takes Washington back to the postseason, the critiques will continue to come, as they would for almost all head coaches in similar situations. But when looking at Gruden's time in Washington with a wide view of everything that has happened, Gantt believes the head coach deserves at least a little praise for keeping things afloat.

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