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Illegal Notion: Tailspin

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Chaos, panic, loss of control

NFL: Preseason-Washington Redskins at Atlanta Falcons Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Tailspin: 1) an aircraft’s diving descent combined with rotation.

2) a state or situation characterized by chaos, panic, or loss of control.


If you’re looking for a start-of-the-week Redskins pick me up…run; run far, far away from here. But please, give me a chance to explain in long-form, before you click that little red ‘x’ in the corner, why the Redskins are headed into the darkest of dark times, perhaps delving deeper into the Mariana Trench than the depths of the final Shanahan days, and possibly proving even more dysfunctional than Jim Zorn defying the front office with his back-to-back ‘Swinging Gate’ calls against the Giants in 2009.

Now, many of you will point to the obvious increase in talent since those days and I would agree with you. The talent being brought into this organization since Snyder’s early years of meddling in personnel has taken an obvious step up. I think this team has done a great job drafting since Scot McCloughan was publicly (definitely not by Bruce Allen, I’m sure) disgraced and fired. One would think, then, that the future is bright, right? With one of the youngest rosters in the league, the Redskins have the core of a team that could lead to a sustained winner in Washington, right?

Wrong. Why? Daniel Snyder and Bruce Allen. With these two in cahoots, no supposed ‘GM,’ ‘head coach,’ or even ‘franchise player’ will have the requisite independence or power to truly sustain success.

Jay Gruden will leave Washington and will immediately land another high-profile job in the NFL for 2020. He will succeed, because he has a strong offensive scheme and he knows how to deal with players.

Dwayne Haskins will likely show early promise, but will be infected by the poison of the organization, eventually succumbing to its malevolence either by becoming overly confident when given too much power by the owner or becoming a shell of himself if that power is wholly stripped after disappointing his employers.

A new coach will arrive, and probably a new quarterback as well. New players will come in and “over promise, only to under-deliver” as long-time Washington sports radio talent Kevin Sheehan would say as the incomprehensible arrogance and delusion of the organization inevitably infects anyone who signs a contract agreeing to wear Burgundy and Gold.

Now that I’ve efficaciously condemned the team broadly, let’s get specific…


Adrian Peterson

Many have reported that Jay Gruden isn’t a huge Adrian Peterson fan. Gruden’s intentions of making the future Hall-of-Famer inactive may have been misguided, but he’s the head coach; it should be unequivocally his and only his call. Naturally, leaks of the intentions came out before week one against the Eagles. Naturally, it was leaked that Jay Gruden is the ‘only person in the building’ that prefers Derrius Guice over Adrian Peterson, and naturally, it was leaked that Gruden was not fond of AP’s ‘North-South’ running style for a national sideline report.

Now…if this is actually how Jay felt about AP…and I believe it is…why would he leak it to various sources, including a national source like Josina Anderson on Sunday? The answer is…he wouldn’t. Bruce Allen would. Bruce Allen is slowly polluting Gruden’s name, seasoning his credibility with a rotten amalgam of toxins and contagions to make the flavor of his eventual firing palpable for he and his boss to present to their disintegrating fan base. Don’t believe me? Why don’t you listen to AP himself below?


Trent Face-off

The Redskins were offered a first round pick (and reportedly more) by two teams in August. Trent Williams is still a member of the team. For those of you who think that makes sense on any level, let me explain this to you clearly…

1) The Redskins are not a good team, and they are not going to win many games in 2019.

2) Trent Williams does not want to play for the Redskins

3) If Trent Williams came back, he has an estimated wins added of less than one.

4) If Trent Williams came back and played here for multiple years, his average of 12-13 games per season will likely decrease moving forward.

5) Trying to ‘win’ against a leader of the locker room actually loses other players in said locker room.

Clearly, a first round pick alone holds more value than a disgruntled employee who is a) past his prime, b) injury prone, and c) one positive marijuana test away from a significant ban from the NFL. Joe Gibbs, one of the greatest coaches in the history of the NFL, and arguably one of the best people managers in the history of sport when you also consider his NASCAR success, is known for telling his players at the start of the year (and I’m paraphrasing), “If you don’t want to be here, just let me know, and I will help you leave.”

You can’t build a team, or an organization, with people that don’t want to be a part of it. Regardless of that fact, the value of a first round pick far outweighs Trent Williams. So, why has he not been traded? Bruce Allen and his stubborn desire to win every perceived power struggle, no matter how petty, by any means possible. What’s worse? The 49ers are interested in Trent as well, but Bruce proved that he wouldn’t work at all with the Shanahans when Kirk Cousins was here, simply out of immaturity and spite. Yuck.

Once an unquestioned leader in the Redskins’ locker room, Trent Williams greatest value to the organization is in a trade
Geoff Burke USA Today Sports

Injuries

Three years ago, the first year the Redskins were ‘close,’ the team lead the league in injuries. It was bad luck, and truly unfortunate. The injuries derailed a promising season. The Redskins ranked last in AGL (Adjusted Games Lost) according to Football Outsiders in 2017. Better luck next year, right? Nope. The Redskins had the highest AGL numbers on offense in the league and finished 24th overall. This season, the Redskins already league the lead in players on IR and AGL. Over his tenure, Jay Gruden leads the league in AGL and has coached the most injured teams (on average per season) of any coach since 2002. This isn’t a coincidence. Whether it’s the fault Gruden’s preparation, a bad strength/conditioning program, a bad training staff, or bad scouting/the drafting of injury-prone players, this is an organizational failure, not a result of bad luck.

The only way to rid this organization of the injury bug might be to clean house.
Geoff Burke-USA Today Sports

Bad D

Wanna know who had the LEAST AGL on defense in 2018? The Washington Redskins. Bruce Allen proudly touted the fact that the team was the most injured in the league once again, and these injuries were often used as an excuse for the poor play of the defense, which ranked 28th in DVOA overall in that same season. Problem is, the team only lost 10 starter games to injury that season, by far the healthiest defensive unit in the league. What’s the issue, then? Coaching and player management. Good defensive coaches can make make talent poor defensive rosters play on a competent level, something that can’t describe a single Redskins’ defensive unit going back nearly a decade.

Sean McDermott took a Bills’ defense ranked 27th in DVOA to a defense ranked in 10th DVOA in just one season without adding significant talent. The following year, that unit jumped up to the top-ranked unit in the league. Sure, this is just one example, but good competent coaches put a competent product on the field, and no defensive coordinator under Jay Gruden has shown such competency. This defense might not be the most talented in the league, but it certainly possesses the necessary talent to at least perform in the middle-of-the-pack, and an average defensive DVOA of 21.2 over Jay Gruden’s tenure-a number that drops to 25th over the past 3 seasons-just won’t cut it. Oh, and maintaining the 3rd-worst 3rd down defense since the stat was tracked in 1991 doesn’t help either.

Greg Manusky needs to go.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Run Scheme

While Gruden schemes up the passing game effectively, I can tell you that his run schemes are quite the opposite. Derrius Guice ran seven different run plays in his first eight carries in week one. While the variance in formation and scheme would seem to be an advantage to the offense, this just isn’t in the case of the run game. A varied scheme through the air only requires the offensive line to pass set in slightly different ways.

A varied run scheme, one that employs trap, power, outside zone, inside zone, draw, dive, and counter-not including RPO and read option looks-requires completely different blocking techniques from your lineman and completely different reads from your running back. Power, dive, trap, and most counter plays require the back to make one cut and go, while zone and draw runs require patience to set up blocks. In addition, having offensive lineman change technique throughout the game is tough, between pulling, blocking a man, or blocking an area, offensive lineman simply are not as effective when running a variety of schemes, and that’s why most teams don’t employ such varied run-schemes.

Gruden needs to pick between zone and power in order to simplify the run-game. Every effective run game in the league sticks to its strengths. If he can then effectively marry formations and motions to play-action passes, the offense could take the requisite step forward, and I would be much more comfortable brining Dwayne Haskins in as the starter.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins
Jay Gruden has already admitted he doesn’t expect much from the Redskins’ running game against the Bears on Monday Night
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Monday Night

Tonight, the Redskins will play on Monday Night Football for the 18th time since 2008. Over that span, the team is a putrid 2-15. The team has been outscored by nearly two touchdowns per game, and the Redskins have only been within a touchdown on two of their fifteen losses. I’m sure fans are tired of hearing it, but there’s something to being so poor in prime-time, and I’d argue it has a lot to do with the culture of over-promising and under-delivering.

This organization’s cranial inflation is unmatched among its peers, and it leads to a feeling of security when none is available and confidence when none is earned. The Redskins might win tonight, and I hope they do. But, like the alter-ego of the stock market, this team might have a few blips in the upward direction, but it will forever trend down under this administration.

Daniel Snyder and Bruce Allen will not produce a winner in Washington
John McDonnell Washington Post

Coming from a die-hard fan that once chanted and clapped as a ritual before each and every Redskins snap, each and every word of this article is representative of the erosion of this fan base; even among the true fanatics. Don’t believe me? Well, the down-turn in stadium attendance is only a fraction of the problem. Redskins’ local TV ratings have nose-dived over the past five years, going from top ratings in the nation each and every Sunday-even when the team was putrid-to netting only an 18.3 rating locally last Sunday against the Cowboys.

Not only did Redskins-Cowboys games used to blow the doors off the local-and national-markets, but this past weekend, it was the fourth-lowest local rating in the country. That’s right, the Cincinnati Bengals, getting blown out by the 49ers, had local ratings nearly a third higher than the Washington Redskins. You read that correctly.

Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen have officially set this organization into a tailspin, and there is no stabilizing this whirling vessel...there is no way out. I will be rooting for the Redskins tonight. But if losing means ridding this team of the malignant parasite that is Bruce Allen, I pray the Redskins fall to 2-16.