Is it possible to offer condolences to Jay Gruden on fulfilling a lifelong dream to be a head coach in the NFL?
Gruden has the résumé, the personality and the drive to coach in the elite level of his profession. It doesn't get any higher than the NFL.
Unfortunately, it doesn't get any lower than becoming an employee of Dan Snyder and the Washington Redskins.
Coaches go to Washington to lose, be humiliated and then fired. Good men, too. As Washington Post columnist Tom Boswell succinctly put it: "What Washington has endured for 14-plus years of the Daniel Snyder era is a morbid laboratory experiment in mass alienation of football affection."
Marty Schottenheimer, Steve Spurrier, Joe Gibbs and Mike Shanahan. Take Spurrier out of the mix, and you're looking at three of the all-time winningest coaches in NFL history, all of whom stumbled under Snyder's bumbling regime.
Gruden won't be overmatched here when it comes to the X's and the O's. He is an offensive whiz kid, largely responsible for the rise of Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton.
With Gruden as offensive coordinator of the Bengals the past three seasons, the Bengals have improved from 18th to 12th to sixth in points per game. The Bengals ranked 10th in the NFL in total offense, averaging 26.9 points and 430 yards per game in 2013.
And Gruden, now 46, has paid his dues big time, first as a star Arena Football League quarterback and then as a talented coach who delivered ArenaBowl titles in 1998 and 2000 for the Orlando Predators.
He's not just Jon Gruden's little brother. He is his own man, with 17 years of coaching experience, and deserving of the moment.
Still, Gruden's deal to coach the Redskins should give him and his supporters great pause. Washington finished 3-13 in 2013, tying its worst record since 1961. The Redskins were outscored by 140 points. Their signature player, quarterback Robert Griffin III, reportedly has spent a good deal of time playing the blame game on his receivers for his poor season, and has been bragging to people that Snyder has his back regardless of what happens.
"I expect him to take the blame on some throws," Gruden said during his introductory news conference Thursday.
Boom. Say this for Gruden: He's not a shy guy and can joust with the best of them — from players to the media.
Still, it's taken some big-time body armor to work for Snyder.
Snyder has hired six head coaches since he bought the Redskins in 1999. None has lasted more than four years.
Snyder sued season-ticket holders who were unable to pay during the throes of the 2008-09 recession.
Snyder once banned signs at FedEx Field in 2009 because he couldn't bear the level of discontent from fans.
Snyder also filed a libel lawsuit against Washington City Paper and sportswriter Dave McKenna for an unflattering piece titled, "The Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder."
Good lord, Snyder even botched the firing of Shanahan last month. When Shanahan arrived at the team facility, basically to get fired, he had to wait in line with reporters because a security gate kept everyone at bay.
Snyder is an impatient, intolerable, insufferable Richie Rich kind of guy.
Who on Earth would want to work for someone like that?
People rarely change. Look for Snyder to muck this one up as well.
I wish you well, Jaybird. I really do. But please watch your step.
The hope is that you'll just be allowed to coach and develop a good football team. The fear is that you'll become just another ringmaster at the circus, saddled with a boorish clown who steals the show but never, ever in a good way.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Read George Díaz's blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/enfuego