Snider: Jay Gruden needs camp for play calling

By Rick Snider

Training camp isn’t just for players to get into rhythm. Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden needs some snaps, too.

The old quarterback is calling plays this season after a two-year hiatus. Offensive coordinator Sean McVay now runs the Los Angeles Rams and Gruden is planning unscripted sessions during practices to call plays live. The two-minute drill especially will see Gruden spouting plays off the cuff rather than the laminated script he’ll carry.

Gruden will still work with offensive line coach Bill Callahan and offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh like last year, when the trio, plus McVay, decided plays on Tuesdays before refining the script by Friday. It’s just this time, Gruden is telling quarterback Kirk Cousins the plays between snaps.

“There’s no reason why we can’t be equally productive or more,” said Gruden of his offense with two new prime receivers.

Does it really matter? Didn’t McVay simply relay Gruden’s desires?

It’s not the play calling that will see a great difference. It’s Gruden’s overall impact on the squad.

He surrendered play calling following his first season after seeing more time with the defense and special teams was needed. Now Gruden will be more involved with the offense and spend less time on other units. Gruden won’t be solely focused on offense like predecessor Steve Spurrier, who didn’t always know defensive players passing by him, but there’s only so much time for Gruden to spend on other units.

Does that make a great difference? Only in troubled times. If the Redskins are playing well overall, it takes some pressure off Gruden, but losing means he needs to support the other side of the ball to prevent a locker room split.

Meanwhile, Gruden has two towering targets in Terrelle Pryor Sr. (6-feet-4) and Josh Doctson (6-2). They’re surely going to see some fades in the red zone.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter @Snide_Remarks.

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