Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

29 Apr 2014

Gruden QB Camp: Analyzing the Tajh Boyd Interview

I have always thought Jon Gruden was sneaky-good at interviewing NFL prospects. The former coach is intelligent, he’s well-prepared, and he understands how to frame conversations that elicit information without attacking the player–even when delivering criticism. There’s a playfulness on the surface that belies the seriousness of Gruden’s points.

I repeat, this is an experiment and a series I’m writing because I’m curious what I’d see if I studied an interview as if I studied a game. There’s no weight I’m placing on this analysis. The intent is to show the variety of ways different observers can interpret the same interview.

I don’t agree with all the takes I’m positing. I will say that after studying three of these QB Camp shows, there are potential observations that are similar to observations I’ve seen others believe were valid points during job or field interviews as a writer.

Some of these insights may hit the mark–maybe even touch upon something deeper into the player’s personality. However, these takeaways may also be a reflection of a player’s nerves and insecurity about appearing on national television on the eve of the most important job selection process of his life to date.

Read the rest at the link in the title.

Posted by: Matt Waldman on 29 Apr 2014

4 comments, Last at 01 May 2014, 2:31pm by commissionerleaf

Comments

1
by meblackstone :: Tue, 04/29/2014 - 11:31am

I meant to record the interview and didn't. Combining this with some inside information, it gives me a better perspective.

Long answers with details don't mean much. At appearances for fans, and the Clemson Ladies Clinic, he also tends to be anticipatory and rely on preparation. And he is extremely uncomfortable talking about himself in nearly any setting. At the gym he's training at he's known for when people ask him questions flipping it and showing (what seems to be genuine) interest in them instead. My father in law asks him how draft prep is going and 5 seconds later Tajh has him talking about his career in the Navy and as an olympic weightlifter. Obviously an interview about him makes his usual out problematic.

In addition, I think he has fatigue from answering questions on whether he should have come out last year.

I'm a little surprised he whiffed the questions on what he was working on with the QB coach. In other interviews he's been quick to talk about improving his footwork to reduce the time he needs to set to throw and compacting his throwing motion. Maybe his spider sense was tingling it was a trap and Gruden was going to tell him he wasn't working on the right stuff?

He's also a guy that really avoids criticizing others, which is not necessarily a good thing either. If he was in a position to say the call was made on a blitz, but either a running back or lineman missed it, he would blow the answer.

2
by Pen :: Tue, 04/29/2014 - 12:36pm

Having a chip on his shoulder and feeling disrespected could be another interpretation of his behaviour rather than feeling insecure.

3
by Matt Waldman :: Tue, 04/29/2014 - 3:41pm

I agree. That's also a very good interpretation.

4
by commissionerleaf :: Thu, 05/01/2014 - 2:31pm

You say that like there's a difference.