Jay Gruden on brother Jon: 'The situation was too good for him to pass up'

Matt Schneidman, The Mercury News on

Published in Football

Washington head coach Jay Gruden is Jon Gruden's younger brother, Paul Guenther's "best friend" and Deuce Gruden's uncle. With the Raiders' new head coach, defensive coordinator and intriguing strength assistant closely connected to Jay, he chatted with the Bay Area News Group about all three.

Here's the full Q&A:

-- Q: Why do you think it was the best time for Jon to return to coaching?

-- A: I think that was all up to him. I think he's had a couple great opportunities probably in the past, and he's really liked his job at ESPN. But I think he just had the itch and saw a great situation there at Oakland, where he'd been and is familiar with. And obviously the quarterback, (Derek) Carr, and Khalil Mack make a big deal where he has a chance to compete right away. I think he's excited to have a team with an excellent starting quarterback and see what he could do.

-- Q: From your interactions with him this past season, did you feel his return would happen if the chance presented itself?

-- A: I always thought Jon was interested in getting back. Ever since he started broadcasting, he always had the itch and the passion for it. He worked extremely hard to stay involved in the game with his cut-ups and studying the game. But he had such a great gig at ESPN, I thought he was crazy for even thinking about it. But he's such a great competitor and enjoyed coaching so much that it didn't surprise me when he got in. It's just a matter of the right situation for him and I know he loved living in Tampa, loved his job at ESPN, but I think the situation was too good for him to pass up.

-- Q: Do you think nine years away from coaching will have any effect on him?

-- A: I think they're making a big deal out of that. If you're nine years away and you're not doing anything -- if you're playing golf every day -- then yeah, it's a big deal. But Jon has been so heavily involved in the game. He's actually been more involved than a lot of people just because he's been able to see every facility in the NFL, he's been able to talk to every offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, coach, quarterback, skill guy around the league and do all these games and still be involved in all the situations, comment on them, study them, make cut-ups of them, the blitzes, the fronts to give people problems. So he's been actively involved, even though he hasn't been calling any plays or making those tough decisions. He's been involved heavily, not only in the X's and O's part of it, but also in personnel. He's been doing the college draft boards, all that stuff. So he's been involved in the personnel aspect and he's obviously been involved in the X's and O's.

-- Q: What do you think being paired with Jon can do for Derek Carr?

-- A: I think Jon's history speaks for itself. The guys he's worked with, he's had some good quarterbacks, Rich Gannon, and Brad Johnson was very efficient. He's had some good quarterbacks that weren't quite as notable and made great seasons for them, had great seasons with them. I think Jon has obviously got the great ability to make OK quarterbacks look very good and also make great quarterbacks look spectacular. I think it's a great matchup, great pairing and I think Derek will have a great time with him and all the different formations and shifts and motions and the ability for Jon to attack defenses differently.


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