ORLANDO, Fla. — Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder expressed excitement about his team's new chapter and said first-year coach Jay Gruden already has impressed him with his knowledge and work ethic.
Snyder, who consented to a brief interview Monday on his way to lunch while at the NFL's annual owners meetings, hadn't spoken to reporters during the 2013 season, or after the 3-13 campaign that resulted in Mike Shanahan's firing. He also hadn't commented on the hiring of Gruden as his eighth head coach.
"Difficult season," Snyder said when asked about Washington's fall from 2012 NFC East champions to the owners of the league's second-worst record in 2013. "Difficult season. But look forward to the new journey and excited about our future."
That future began on Jan. 9, when Snyder hired Gruden to take over the team, and tabbed general manager Bruce Allen to oversee the rebuilding of the roster.
Gruden has spent the past two-and-a-half months working to assemble his coaching staff, formulating offseason goals and creating the playbook. The coach's drive and vision have proved impressive, Snyder said.
"He's terrific. Workaholic and a pleasure to be with," Snyder said. "Very, very focused on making all the great football decisions, and it's going to be exciting for us."
One of Gruden's biggest tasks will involve helping third-year quarterback Robert Griffin III rebound from a disappointing season and recapture the electrifying form he displayed as a rookie, before tearing ligaments in his right knee in January 2013.
Gruden himself played quarterback in college and in the Arena Football League. His experience as a player, and as an offensive coordinator, will prove valuable for Griffin, Snyder believes.
"I think [his help will be] terrific. Terrific," the owner said. "As someone who has played that position, understands it as well as he does, I think it's going to be a lot of fun."
During his hiring, an interview last month at the NFL scouting combine and a brief interview Monday, Gruden talked about the importance of building a strong relationship with Griffin, and said trust is "the most important" part of a quarterback and coach's relationship.
That philosophy has encouraged Snyder.
"I think he understands what he's doing," he said when asked about Gruden's stressing trust between himself and Griffin. "So it's fun to watch."
Over the offseason, Washington also added another member to the front office in former Super Bowl-winning quarterback Doug Williams.
Williams is expected to assist Allen in talent evaluation, but also will help mentor Griffin and other players, Snyder said.