- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 3, 2014


New Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden uttered the magic word while describing Robert “SuperBob” Griffin’s offensive struggles in the preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens.

“He’s got to have a trust factor that the drop is going to match the receiver’s depth and all that stuff,” Gruden said. “He’s got to let some things fly. He’s just a little bit hesitant right now, which is normal with some new concepts.”

There it is.


It’s a word that has been thrown around Redskins Park over the years, with little evidence of it.

Bust — now that’s a word we’ve also heard within this organization, with lots of evidence of that word.

But trust? That’s been a rare, but sought after commodity.

If Gruden and SuperBob can find it, this may just work.

Trust was Jim Zorn’s favorite word.

“It’s a great working relationship of trust,” Zorn said of his relationship with his starting quarterback, Jason Campbell.

Talking about a loss in the 2008 season opener against the New York Giants, Zorn told reporters about a confrontation with Campbell on the sidelines. “One of the things I screamed in his face was, ‘Don’t you know that we have to trust you? I’ve got to be able to trust you to come off that guy and go to the next guy who’s open.’”

Does this sound familiar?

I doubt if Jim Zorn and Jason Campbell had much trust left in their spirit when they both left Redskins Park.

Who knows when the “trust” went out of the relationship between SuperBob and Mike Shanahan? Most would point to the Seattle playoff debacle, when the quarterback was still on the field limping around on one leg.

But it may have happened when SuperBob — reportedly over his objections, despite his knee injury the game before against Baltimore — sat out the Cleveland game in 2012, and instead watched Kirk Cousins lead the team to an impressive 38-21 win.

Kirk Cousins is a big trust problem with SuperBob — no fault of Cousins, who seems to trust everyone — but his existence on the roster feeds the notion, real or imagined, that the organization is hedging its bets on SuperBob’s future as an NFL quarterback.


“Trust is hard to come by,” the great philosopher Eminem said. “That’s why my circle is small and tight. I’m kind of funny about making new friends.”

Gruden needs to crack that circle.

He was asked in March on the NFL Network about building that trust.

“Start by being honest and open with him and not do things behind his back,” Gruden said. “I don’t know what happened last year with coach Shanahan, and when the relationship went south and if it did, or maybe the media blew it up. But obviously he’s not here anymore.

“Now it’s my job to get the most out of Robert and I honestly believe that there has to be an open relationship between quarterback and coach-playcaller I welcome that type of atmosphere and hopefully it will work out.”

Honest, open — this is not the modus operandi at Redskins Park.

If we are to believe SuperBob, the early days of the Gruden marriage has been bliss. We all remember that July interview with FoxSports.com, when SuperBob talked about the honeymoon.

“What I think is going to help us most this year is that everybody in that building is going to be for us being successful and for us winning,” SuperBob said. “There are no ulterior motives. That will be great. Jay has been phenomenal. [General manager] Bruce Allen has done great job of getting the right guys in that locker room. I tip my hat to them. They have given us everything we need to be successful. We’re going to work our butts off for them.”

Yet, still, nearly two months later, Gruden is talking about trust with his quarterback.

“This is going to be process,” Gruden told us as training camp opened. “It’s going to take a little time.”

He was answering a question about SuperBob adapting to a new offense.

But he was talking about trust — the magic word — as well.

Thom Loverro is co-host of “The Sports Fix,” noon to 2 p.m. daily on ESPN 980 radio and espn980.com.

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