Mike Florio: Jay Gruden was a guy in demand
Coaches are usually happy to see one of their own get his first big break, and Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis reacted no different when he spoke of his former offensive coordinator Jay Gruden getting the top spot with the Washington Redskins.
"I’m ecstatic for Jay," Lewis said in a statement. "From the first time we met I’ve been a Jay Gruden fan, and I’m grateful for what he did for us, his work with a young quarterback and helping take us where we’ve been, the last three seasons in the playoffs."
When an assistant coach has a track record of success, it's normal for them to get looks as a head coach. It worked for Lewis, who was hired in Cincinnati after one season as defensive coordinator in Washington and previously running the Ravens defense.
"I knew he might get this kind of opportunity, of course, so it’s not a surprise, and I just wish him all the best," Lewis said of Gruden.
Lewis lost a trusted assistant, but Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton lost the only play-caller he has ever known in the NFL.
"Jay’s first year was my rookie year, and it was cool coming in together and growing and getting better," Dalton said. "One thing that really helped make it smooth for me was that from the start."
Gruden's relationship with Skins quarterback Robert Griffin III will be one of the most scrutinized in the NFL, and his track record with Dalton bodes well.
"Jay was big on asking my input, what I’m most comfortable with and any ideas I had," Dalton said. "With Jay, I had a very positive transition from college to the NFL. I feel fortunate to have had him as my only pro coordinator. He’s helped me in a lot of ways.