Jay Gruden will come out of the tunnel as an NFL head coach for the first time on Sunday when the Redskins visit NRG Stadium in Houston. And while he seems confident about the preparation for the game, it doesn’t sound like he’s sleeping very well either.
“I feel good. I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders a little bit,” said Gruden, who was the offensive coordinator for the Bengals for three seasons before coming to Washington. “When you’re a coordinator you just worry about the offensive game plan and scripting and doing the cards, but as a head coach there is a lot more on your plate. And I’ve been eating it all, it’s rough.”
During training camp Gruden admitted that he was a bit overwhelmed during preseason games paying attention to both the offense and defense in his headset. Now the practice games are over and what comes through the headset has real meaning.
Even though he talked “the weight of the world” being on him, he realizes that he has some help.
“It’s been exciting and I’m very excited about the first game to start, very nervous, but I know that the staff that I hired and the players we have in the building, I know it is not going to be about me and it is going to be about them and their success,” he said. “And we feel like we have got the players and the coaches in place here to put together a successful football team on the field and when it’s all said and done as a coach that is all you want. You want to get your players in the best position to succeed and we feel like we have done that up to this point. Now it is up to them to go out and play.”
It sounds like Gruden has a good balance between being confident and being on edge. As long as he doesn’t try to do too much himself, things should be OK.
But we won’t know how effective his state of mind is until about 4 p.m. on Sunday.