Learning about Redskins New Coach Jay Gruden from one of his Arena League Players

Posted on January 13, 2014 by Adam Bradley

Less than a week into Jay Gruden's coaching tenure here in DC, Redskins fans are searching everywhere and anywhere to get a glimpse into what type of coach Jay Gruden actually is.  

Montgomery County native and Watkins Mill High School graduate Mike Brown, knows firsthand what type of coach Gruden is, having played for him for two years with the Orlando Predators. Brown now serves as the Defensive Coordinator for the San Antonio Talons. 

Being a former Watkins Mill grad myself, I reached out to Brown to get some insight and see if he had any Gruden stories to share with Redskins Nation. 

He had quite a few and shared some of those with BHR:

"Gruden is a players coach for sure. Back when I played for him in 04 & 05 he had basically just finished up playing ball himself so he would golf with some of the vets from time to time.  The guy is layed back for the most part all week in practice and in film, cracking jokes etc, but come game day.... he's a totally different person.

Photo Credit: MidValleySports
I remember one week we were preparing for a team and we knew when they were on our 20 and they went backside motion they were either going to run a corner or post corner.  Before the arena game went to one way (strictly offensive & defensive players) in 07' it was iron man football (players playing both sides of the ball), everyone but 2 guys on offense and 2 guys on defense played both ways. In order to do that it was like hockey, you had 2 shifts.  So, my shift wasn't in but there it was: ball on the 20, back side motion and buddy ran a post corner. The DB jumped the corner and got scored on. 

As that's happening, I'm on the bench and Jay turns around, face red as hell and yells "MIKE BROWN, IF YOU EVER GET BEAT LIKE THAT YOU WILL NEVER F'N PLAY FOR ME AGAIN!!" I was a rookie and was wide eyed and said, "ooook." I looked around at all my teammates and all the fans by the bench, they were looking back at me like, "what the hell?  I looked back at them and shrugged.  I said to myself man this dude is nuts. He is ultra competitive and does not want to lose. He cut the guy the next day."

My introduction to Coach Gruden was a unique experience. Brett Muncey (our Defensive Coordinator) was the one who originally found me and told Jay to bring me to camp, but Jay was the one who decided if I made the team. The first thing he said to us as we sat in the citrus bowl stands in Orlando, was: "it's us VS. you all."  Meaning the coaches vs the players. I thought to myself what does that mean and this guy is crazy.  He said that the coaches are going to look after their families and each other.  By doing that, that means we will select the best players and play the best players to ensure we continue to feed our families. If you want to "beat us," then make the damn team!  It didnt really make sense to us (us vs. the coaches) but we all knew we had to fight at any cost to make it in pro football or stay in pro football, so that's what happened. Guys competed like I've never seen in my previous years or future years. Rookies getting into fight with vets, not because of disrespect, but just out of competition.  He got us competing. 

There was one time one of the assistants over heard me tell a teammate "I knew where to get the powder." I was talking about protein but the assistant went and told Jay what I said and they thought I was talking about cocaine. The next day Jay took me aside and said, "look Mike, you're a young guy with so much potential and I don't want you to fall off into the drug and party scene." He said he's seen it too many times and that he really liked me and didn't want to see me ruin my career.  I listened to what he had to say and then told him what I was talking about, protein not cocaine, and Coach busted out laughing. He said "ok then, just want to make sure you got your head on straight." I appreciated his concerns and could tell he was being genuine when he approached me. 

I think the most interesting part about Jay is how he turns the switch when its time to play.  Although I played defense and he would only come over from time to time (editors note: Brown said he knew how to coach all the positions on defense and knew all the defensive angles), you could tell he knew his stuff.  He seems to really enjoy life and his job. So he laughs and has fun, but when the lights come on he really is like a completely different person. He knows how to get the most out of you when you are at work. He treats you like a grown man. Like a pro. He expects nothing less than full effort. 

next up:

Special Sit-Down with the Legendary Basketball Coach Morgan Wootten

January 10, 2014

The Ball Hogs co-host Adam Bradley had a special opportunity to sit-down with the legendary Dematha High School Basketball Coach Morgan Wootten.


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