Joe Theismann: ‘Jay Gruden Reminds Me Of Joe Gibbs’

Joe Theismann has heard all year that the NFC East is a bad division.

Well, he disagrees.

“The AFC South is a bad division,” the former Redskin and Super Bowl champion said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I don’t think the NFC East is that bad. The play hasn’t been stellar. I felt like the Redskins were the best team in the division. Actually, I felt like Dallas was the best team with Tony in the beginning of the year, but I felt like the Redskins could compete with just about everybody on their schedule.

They did. In fact, the Redskins clinched the NFC East title on Sunday after beating the Eagles, 38-24, in Philadelphia.

Washington has won three straight and six of nine, and three of its losses this season came to teams that were undefeated: Carolina, New England and Atlanta.

So yeah, maybe the Redskins aren’t all that bad – and Kirk Cousins is a major reason why. The Michigan State product has completed nearly 70 percent of his passes for 3,990 yards, 26 touchdowns and 11 interceptions this season.

“I said (two years ago) that if (there) was a competition between Kirk Cousins and Robert Griffin III, Kirk would win it going away,” Theismann said. “He’s a natural drop-back passer, very smart, athletic enough to be able to move around in the pocket and very accurate when it comes to throwing the football. Robert never really did that in college. Robert still has to learn how to operate out of a pocket, to make those decisions to get the ball out of your hands. Robert is an excellent downfield thrower, but as far as moving in the pocket, it’s something he’s going to have to work on. So I felt like Kirk would, in a fair competition, (end up) being the starter. I said it two years ago and caught holy heaven for it. It was a firestorm. (People said), ’How could you say that?’ I’ve only played the position for a thousand years. It’s like asking Tiki, ‘Tell me what you think about his running back’ and then saying, ‘What do you know?’”

Jay Gruden, meanwhile, has acquitted himself nicely after last season’s 4-12 debacle.

“He reminds me a lot of Joe Gibbs,” Theismann said. “He’s a delegator. His strength is offense. Coach Gibbs’ strength is offense. He brought in (defensive coordinator) Joe Barry, made the change to become a more aggressive style of defensive play. They went out and got some players. You can talk about any coach you want in the National Football League. If you don’t have players, you can’t win. Jay is very organized. He’s very disciplined in what he asks for when it comes to his team, and he’s turned the offense over to Sean McVay. Jay became a head coach last year and he tried to do everything. He tried to be the coordinator, tried to be the head coach, tried to be the quarterback coach. (But this year has been different). Jay has done a wonderful job. He’s got a great demeanor. He’s a players’ coach. He doesn’t take guff from the guys. He has enough veterans like DeAngelo Hall, Chris Culliver, Ryan Kerrigan, Alfred Morris. He’s got guys in different positions on this football team that are veterans that he trusts.”

Washington closes the regular season at Dallas (4-11) this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. The Redskins, who are in the playoffs for the first time since 2012, will host Seattle, Green Bay or Minnesota, pending this week’s results.

Theismann was also asked for his thoughts on the HGH allegations against Peyton Manning.

“You can’t put the genie back in the bottle,” Theismann said. “I felt it’s an insult to Peyton Manning and his wife, and that whatever Peyton chooses to do, I hope that these people understand that you just can’t say unfounded things about individuals and hope to get away with it.”

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