NFL Notebook

NFL notebook: Redskins sense 'new aura' as Jay Gruden regime begins

2014-04-08T00:00:00Z NFL notebook: Redskins sense 'new aura' as Jay Gruden regime beginsThe Associated Press The Associated Press
April 08, 2014 12:00 am  • 

WASHINGTON — From older to younger. From all-controlling to approachable. From 3-13 to a clean slate.

The Washington Redskins as a group began their transition from Mike Shanahan to Jay Gruden on Monday when they reported for the first day of the offseason workout program, and it wasn’t hard to sense the different vibe under the new coach.

“He’s just a younger guy, so it’s a different type of eye,” defensive tackle Barry Cofield said. “I played for coach Tom Coughlin and coach Shanahan, who are two of the older coaches in the league, so they’ve got a different mindset, different mentality. They’re both great coaches in their own way ... but coach Gruden will bring something a little different, a different type of energy.”

Gruden, 47, an NFL head coach for the first time, was hired after the 61-year-old Shanahan was dismissed following the team’s fifth last-place finish in six years. Gruden retained several of Shanahan’s assistants, including defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, and Cofield added that the staff will have greater leeway.

“I was really impressed with how down-to-earth he is, how approachable he is,” Redskins left tackle Trent Williams said. “He obviously has a great football mind. He just made all the guys feel comfortable. There’s a new aura in the building. Obviously a lot of that comes with the coaching change and the new free agent pickups.”

Washington’s hopes were buoyed by the recent free agent signings of receiver DeSean Jackson and defensive lineman Jason Hatcher.

“We started (the off-season) off slow and steady,” Cofield said, “and I think we hit some home runs here down the stretch.”

Because they have a new coach, the Redskins were allowed to begin their workouts two weeks earlier than most teams. The early days are restricted to activities such as weightlifting and running sprints; Gruden can’t put the players through actual football drills until April 21.

Locker almost ready

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Jake Locker says he’s ahead of schedule in his rehab from surgery on his right foot, and the Tennessee quarterback expects to be taking part in the Titans’ on-field work in May.

That’s exactly what the Titans and new coach Ken Whisenhunt wanted to hear as they started their offseason program Monday.

Whisenhunt said he needs to see Locker stay healthy and produce this year and become the Titans’ quarterback for the future. Locker has missed 14 of his 32 starts and is only under contract for 2014. The Titans are not expected to pick up an option worth $13 million in May for the 2015 season.

“This league is so much now of what have you done for me lately,” Locker said. “If you don’t have that approach going into every season, it’s not going to work out the way you want it to. You’re always competing for your job.”

  • Tennessee waived defensive end
  • Adewale Ojomo
  • more than two weeks after he was arrested in a prostitution sting. He had joined the Titans’ practice squad in December.

Extra points

  • The Carolina Panthers signed free agent wide receiver
  • Jason Avant
  • to a one-year contract on Monday.The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Avant spent his first eight seasons in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles, and had 38 receptions for 447 yards and two touchdowns last season.
  • The Detroit Lions signed cornerback
  • Cassius Vaughn
  • to a one-year contract. He played 16 games for Indianapolis last season.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed free-agent safety Major Wright (Chicago Bears) and wide receiver Lavelle Hawkins (Titans-Chargers). The Bucs also waived linebacker Marvin Booker.

  • The New Orleans Saints retained restricted free agent safety
  • Rafael Bush
  • by matching an offer from the Atlanta Falcons. Bush’s new deal is reportedly worth up to $4.5 million over two seasons.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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