Before stepping onto the field to face the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday, the Redskins were all but officially eliminated from playoff contention. Now, their situation has gotten to the point where blowing the entire operation up makes too much sense, and that is just unfortunate.
When asked post-game about the level of competition displayed within his group of players over the past couple of weeks, Gruden acknowledged and confirmed the lack of competitiveness without hesitation. “We have not been competitive and were not ready today. That’s on me, the staff, we have to do a better job of getting these guys ready.”
Gruden has had moments in his head coaching career where he took the brunt of bad losses on him and his staff’s shoulders. While that is what a coach is supposed to do, the timing of the defeats is a more significant factor than the coach trying to absolve blame from his players. Losses against the Arizona Cardinals, Carolina Panthers, and New York Giants of 2016 were just as bad as the last three losses the Redskins had this season. However, the difference between the two seasons is that Washington had virtually no chance for a playoff bid, and the product on the field Sunday reflected precisely that. If there is any indicator on what to expect from Washington these last three weeks of the season, it is that they have already quit on the year, and that does not bode well for a coach whose team had looked weak two years in a row in the last month of the season.
The phrase that came up one too many times in the Gruden presser was, “We are not good enough,” and this particular statement has absolutely nothing to do with being a team riddled with injuries. The Redskins have struggled creating big plays, protecting the ball, forcing turnovers, situational awareness, converting and preventing third-down conversions, and starting strong in a game. Two straight weeks the Redskins have trailed by at least 13 points before putting up their first points in the game. Where is that “the players love playing for Jay” effort?
It is terrible in all three phases of the game for this team and heading into the off-season, the production offensively tells another major story for future decisions. The offense, led by Kirk Cousins, these last two games has averaged 240 yards and six points per game. Six points for a quarterback who is expected to elevate with the price tag he comes with, and is under the microscope for these types of situations. The deal with Cousins is this: Kirk is a good quarterback, but merely not good enough to pay him what he demands “In Washington.” Whether or not one is in favor of Cousins, the window of opportunity has passed for Cousins to be brought on-board long-term. So, if the Redskins were about good business, it may be likely Cousins is not here in 2018.
I believe Gruden to be a good head coach, but what I believe does not matter when the product being produced comes out dull and matte. It also does not matter to the head honcho, Daniel Snyder, regardless of any contract extension, if the product and progress of his team are not to his liking he will always create an out. So even if Gruden is retained after an abysmal finish to this 2017 season, he may have to work twice as hard when a new quarterback signs onto the team next season. Alternatively, Jay may not have to work that hard at all, as this effort displayed by him and his staff, are the means to an end of his head coaching stint in Washington.
What are your thoughts on Gruden's tenure here in Washington? What’s next for he and Cousins? Vote and comment below.
Percentage odds on Gruden being retained following the 2017 season?
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