Jerry Gray still wants to be Redskins coach
There were so many massive clumps of weirdness during this Redskins season that the final bit of weirdness with Jerry Gray may soon be forgotten, but, man, has it been weird. Even after the Fritz Pollard Alliance publicly said, on the record, that Gray had interviewed for Jim Zorn's job while Zorn still held it, and even after that same fact was reported on "Monday Night Football," a show that a few people watch, Gray continued to no comment every question about the matter.
After the team's final game, Gray did his regular spot with Comcast SportsNet's Kelli Johnson. And while he bizarrely refused to answer most of her questions, he did answer Chick Hernandez, when the host bluntly asked whether he'd have interest in the Redskins' still-occupied head coaching job.
"Well, if it's open and they called me, of course, I do," Gray said, answering with a theoretical when Hernandez clearly wasn't talking in theoreticals. "I'd be a fool to say [I'm not interested in] one of the best jobs in the country--traditional team, you've got a lot of passion. But there's gonna be some things that has to change, and I think changing is to get those guys to understand really what the Redskins are about. I really believe that there's a lot of guys that don't know what that's about. The NFC East, it's not a soft division. You've got to go out there and lay it on the line, you've got to run the football, you've got to play great defense, you've got to get turnovers to win games."
Is that not the oddest answer you've ever heard to a question about whether someone wants his boss's job? An homage to the NFC East? And sure, I get it, Gray still gives Zorn rides to the team hotel or whatever, but the body's still warm. And if he'll say he's interested in the job, then why did he respond to Johnson's questions about whether he's interviewed for the job like this:
"You better ask John," he said, referring to John Wooten, the president of the Fritz Pollard Alliance.
(The Redskins, meantime, announced that Jim Zorn will have his regular next-day press conference Monday at 12:25.)
Johnson asked why he wasn't concerned that he was damaging his reputation by refusing to clear up what's happened here.
"Because to me, the guys who have coached with me, the guys who know me, they know my reputation," Gray said. "I think sometimes people paint a picture, they make a lot more out of what actually has happened, and then you do that, you influence the media, you influence the people around you, you influence all of the fans. I mean, them guys know that I've been in the trenches with all the coaches and the players. They know me. Trust me, I don't have to go out there and prove my worth to anybody other than what my guys are doing on the football field."
And if people are having their opinions influenced?
"If that's what they're thinking, then they're wrong," Gray said. "Just call Jim. Call the guys that know me. Call Gregg Williams. Call Jeff Fisher. Call those guys, because I've been in the trenches with them. I understand how to coach football. I know the position that sometimes you get put in as a position coach, but you've got to go out there and you've got to take a bullet sometimes. But the big thing you've got to do is coach your tail off and hope that's enough to win games....Like I said, I don't want to go through a whole bunch of different stuff, what I want to do is I want to reflect on this game, figure out why we didn't win--and pretty much I watched the game so I know why we didn't win--and just go from there. Don't want a lot of other speculation."
Well, saying that will certainly make it so. Now no one will speculate a tad. Gray was also asked if he expects to be in D.C. next season.
"I don't know," he said. "I really don't. I'll be honest with you, I don't know what to expect. Nobody does. Bruce is gonna evaluate everybody. He's been evaluating the players and the coaches and all of that, he's gonna let us know what we're going to be doing [Monday], hopefully soon. Because to me, I think if you did a good enough job, you deserve to be here. I mean, Bruce knows if you've got a guy in position and they don't catch the ball. Again, those are things that's out of coaches' hands, dropped balls on offense, stuff like that. So the big thing you've got to do is go out, do your job. Guys make plays in this league. Coaches coach, and players make plays."
Hope Justin Tryon and Carlos Rogers don't stumble upon that paragraph. Gray said lots more that was interesting--he reflected harshly on the dropped balls in the defensive secondary, said this Redskins team had more talent than some Super Bowl squads he was with, said that team captains are the winners of popularity contests but not necessarily leaders, and said that the proper glue of a winning team must be assembled in the offseason. And he had an interesting answer when asked what he knows about Bruce Allen and the GM's first few weeks on the job.
"I read a book a while ago called 'The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,' " Gray said. "It was a lady that came in the company, she was an outsider. They spent the most money, they had the best personnel, they had the best people coaching, but they couldn't figure out why [it didn't work]. And she did a great job of molding the team, had to get rid of some people, but she didn't tear it all down, because she knew it was a great product. And I think that's what Bruce is gonna do. You look at Bruce, he comes in, he's evaluating us, he's evaluating the players, and he's trying to figure out which guys are gonna lay it on the line on Sunday. And not the guys that are pretenders, but the guys that are contenders. And I think when he makes that move, it's gonna be a great move for us in the long run."
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