If you haven’t seen the mic’d up video with Jon Gruden with Chris Simms during his time in Tampa, you have been missing out. Gruden was spoon feeding Simms the play call, which in true Gruden style, was a complicated string of letters, numbers, terms, and seemingly random words. For a lay person to hear it and recite it back would require a photographic memory. But for Simms — and NFL quarterback whose father was an NFL quarterback — you would have figured it would all make sense and he would have no issue.
Simms had many issues. You can see it here at the 8:15 mark.
A third round pick by Gruden in 2004, Simms would last three seasons in Tampa. He would play two more seasons in the NFL after that. Simms only started 16 NFL games in his career, with 15 of them in his three seasons under Gruden. He certainly remembers the fever paced workload Gruden had.
“I just couldn’t get over the pace of it,” Simms said Tuesday on his Simms and Lefkoe podcast. “I was amazed by it.”
In case you were thinking Gruden had calmed down in the 12 years since Simms played for him, think again. Simms said when he saw Gruden recently, he had some ambitious goals in mind from the first moment he gets to work with his new players.
“I think he was going for 85 plays in his first 30-minute walkthrough, that was his goal, he told me.”
To break that down, that’s basically 3 players per minute. Or one play every 20 seconds. How in the world he hopes to walk thru a play in 20 seconds I don’t know.
This seems a product of Gruden’s frustration with not being able to even contact his players to lay groundwork for the gameplan. That means giving them a lot of info, going through it quickly and moving on, so as to cram as much into a short time as possible. Then they can go work on it on their own. Even still, as Simms said, rather stating the obvious, “85 is a lot.”
“He’s almost the opposite of New England where Bellichick is going to go ‘10 plays, here’s 10 plays and we’re not moving on until we get it right,” Simms continued.
“Gruden goes ‘No, here’s 85, I want to see how much you guys can handle, how much you can retain the next day when we do it again and I just want to see everybody move and do a little bit of everything.”
We know Gruden greatly respects Derek Carr’s acumen as a quarterback. And I have no doubt he’ll be able to retain information better than Simms did in his time with Gruden. But this would be a challenge for greater men than he.
It seems pretty doubtful he’ll reach his goal in the time allotted. We’ll have to check in with him later to see how close he got.