Gruden made the comments on CSN Washington's "SportsTalk Live." The coach said he understood Griffin's frustrations, as Gruden benched the quarterback following the team's 17-13 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in late November. He also said he hopes their relationship includes "mutual respect":
“Well, I think it’s fairly decent,” Gruden said of their relationship. “I mean, I’m the coach, he’s a player. We demand a lot, I demand a lot out of our quarterbacks. Obviously he’s a little frustrated for me taking him out of the starting lineup, but hopefully there’s a mutual respect there that he’s gotta understand that I have his best interests at heart and I’m just trying to get him to be a better quarterback.”
The relationship between Griffin and Gruden, in his first year as team head coach, has been a recurring theme for Washington (3-11) this season. Gruden has publicly said that Griffin should talk to the media less and that the quarterback has "auditioned long enough."
Griffin entered Sunday's game against the Giants after Colt McCoy exited with a neck injury. The former No. 2 pick was 18-of-27 for 236 yards and one touchdown in Washington's 24-13 loss. He also rushed for 46 yards on five carries and had a rushing touchdown controversially called back by officials.
In seven games and five starts this season, Griffin -- who has spent time on the sideline due to injuries as well as his benching -- has thrown for 1,138 yards. McCoy had started the last three games for Washington after Griffin was benched following the team's loss to the 49ers.
McCoy was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday, meaning Griffin is slated to start the team's final two games of the season.
Washington hosts Philadelphia on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET before closing out its season at home against the Cowboys.
- Stanley Kay