Jay Gruden: 'I’ve always been a big Tom Brady fan'

Jay Gruden: 'I’ve always been a big Tom Brady fan'
June 6, 2014, 5:00 pm
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(Associated Press)

RICHMOND—Redskins Coach Jay Gruden says practicing with the Patriots in August will give him several additional opportunities to evaluate his players in a game situation before making final cuts.

“It’s a great opportunity to see your players compete against [another team] in a practice setting, a controlled setting,” Gruden said Friday at the Bon Secours training facility in Richmond, where he received a brief tour from team and local officials. “Any time you get a chance to welcome Tom Brady and Bill Belichick to town and the great players of the New England Patriots to see how you compete against their players, I think it’s a great opportunity to see what you have in front of you.”

The Redskins will host the Patriots for three days of joint practices Aug. 4-6. The teams face one another in the preseason opener Aug. 7 at FedEx Field.

Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen said the teams agreed on the joint practices after the preseason schedule was released.

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“Coach Belichick has had success [training] with other teams,” Allen said. “And when we were interviewing Jay, he said when he was with the Cincinnati Bengals that they had practiced with the Atlanta Falcons and got a lot work out of it.”

Gruden added that he feels the sessions are especially beneficial for coaches as they evaluate bubble players.

“You get more reps for guys that are maybe second or third team that can go against [New England’s] second or third team,” Gruden said. “We’ll have two fields going so it will be a lot of reps and film for these guys to perform. On game day in the preseason, you have four quarters of football. Your starters get some reps and other guys may not get as many reps as you’d like to get them. So this is a chance for us to make decisions on players that we wouldn’t normally have seen in a normal preseason game.”

The practices will also give Gruden, a former quarterback, the opportunity to study Brady up close.

“I’ve always been a big Tom Brady fan,” Gruden said. “Any chance I have to watch any of his games, I love to study his footwork, his progressions, the way he plays the game. He’s one of the all-time greats, if not all-time greatest.”