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

Matt Schneidman, The Mercury News on

Published in Football

-- Q: What are the Raiders getting in Paul Guenther as a defensive coordinator?

(Note: Guenther was a defensive assistant for the Cincinnati Bengals while Jay was the offensive coordinator there from 2011-13. Mike Zimmer, the current Minnesota Vikings head coach also mentioned, was Cincinnati's defensive coordinator those three years.)

-- A: They're gonna get a guy with sound defensive scheme, number one. They're not gonna give up a lot of big plays. They're very sound, they're gonna make you move the ball up and down the field, 10-12 play drives. They don't give up big plays and then you get in third down and Paulie has got the great blitz schemes. He learned it from Zimmer and he and Zimmer really worked on it together, the double-As, the odd fronts, things that give protections problems. Paul is interesting because he actually worked with Steve Spurrier on the offensive side of the ball so he understands protections more than the average defensive coordinator does, so he does a great job of attacking protections on third down. Red zone (defenses) are sound, they have a great scheme and he really works hard on the fundamentals of the game.

-- Q: When we talked to him he called you his "best friend." What has he meant to you from a personal standpoint in your coaching career?

-- A: Wow. I think learning defensive football from he and Coach Zimmer, you had to learn fast and you had to learn a lot because they would embarrass you in practice if you didn't have an answer for what they did defensively. Made me a much better coach, made us more prepared on game day. Heck, we were more prepared on game day than in training camp probably. It really made you work at it. Having the ability to talk to Paul about different fronts and schemes and what gives coverages problems and all that stuff really helped me out a ton. I value his opinion quite a bit on that side of the ball, and the offensive side of the ball for that matter. We stay in close contact, but luckily they're in the AFC so we can talk a little bit more. He's just been a great not only friend, but mentor as far as learning the defensive side of the ball.

-- Q: What was the communication between you and Jon, if any, about hiring Paul?

-- A: Jon knows Paul very well. I don't think he needed anything from me. He'd watched Cincinnati's defense and how they've competed through the tough times. They were in the playoffs four years in a row and then they hit the skids a little bit the last couple years with injuries and then some offensive issues, but Paulie has done very well. They're always tops in the league in scoring defense and getting off the field and playing extremely well and hard, so that was an easy hire for him. Obviously we've played golf together. Jon knows Paulie very well. Their personalities match. When you go out to Oakland and you're coming back from a nine-year layoff, you wanna make sure you surround yourself with people that know the game, people you like, you can trust and Paulie is definitely one of those guys.

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-- Q: What is your best Deuce Gruden story?

-- A: Well he was the strongest guy on our team. We're gonna miss him. We got a lot weaker without him. He's in there lifting weights more than our defensive linemen. Maybe not Ziggy Hood. He'll get mad at me. He's just a very intense guy. He didn't say a whole lot and I think as he grew at his position and got more familiar with the guys, more familiar with what (Washington head strength and conditioning coach) Chad (Englehart) wanted him to do, he was more vocal and very helpful in the weight room. But I think as a "get back coach" on the sideline, too, on game day it helps out to have those big arms pushing people back. That's a big help. But Deuce has started to grow and started to gain a lot of knowledge and more confidence as the year went on, and he's still a young, developing strength coach, but he's got a chance to be really good when it's all said and done because he's so determined and focused on his job and what he wants to do and he doesn't care about anything else. He's just focused on his job and wants to be the best at it, as you can tell with his weightlifting. It's not easy to be a world champ. It takes a lot of work and he puts the same amount of work into his job with the strength room as he does with his strength training, which is pretty impressive.

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