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Gruden Seeking Players With 'Passion'

Posted Feb 24, 2014

NFL Combine coverage focuses on the measurable qualities a prospect brings to the table, but Washington Redskins HC Jay Gruden says heart may be the biggest factor.

The 40-yard dash to determine acceleration and straight-line speed. The bench press to determine brute strength and stamina. Vertical jump for power, broad jump for explosiveness.

Each of these drills will produce numbers with which scouts and coaches can draw tangible comparisons between elite NFL prospects.

But for new Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden, the most important comparisons may come between the ears as he attempts to gauge a player's heart and determination when the going gets tough.

“You like to see what kind of passion, what kind of knowledge they have of football," Gruden said, alluding to the interview process at the Combine.

"Just general football: how much they like it, how much they prepare, do they like the weight room, what kind of feedback they give you as far as their scheme that they just left in their program."

Gruden said that his interview process will also include testing the knowledge of the prospect with regards to the system he just left in college.

"Whether it’s an offensive lineman or a running back, how much he knows about protections and just quiz him a little bit," Gruden said. "It’s not a make-or-break session, but you want to get to know the guy, see if he can think on his feet, and see if he likes to play the game of football.

"This has obviously got to be a passion of his, and you want to have good, quality people that love to play."

With regards to implementing his system in Washington, Gruden said that much is still left to be determined, based on the personnel the team is able to assemble this offseason.

"We like to get good players in here, good quality players, and then we’ll cater to what their strengths are," Jay Gruden explained. "We’ll just have to cater to the guys that we have and do what they do well, and not try to force-feed an offense down anybody’s throat.

"That’s what the OTAs are for, that’s what minicamp is for, that’s what training camp is for.

"Then, when we get to the preseason games, we can hone in on what we feel like we’re good at."