The Washington Redskins elected to hire Jay Gruden as their head coach in 2014 after the departure of Mike Shanahan at the end of the 2013 NFL season. The hire was made to improve the overall performance of the Redskins offense, and, most notably, hone the skills of Robert Griffin III and the rest of the teams quarterbacks.
After a mostly down year in terms of winning and quarterback play, it’s safe to say that Gruden and company didn’t meet the expectations that fans, players, and ownership had in mind prior to the start of the season. Whether or not Gruden can turn the ship around is up in the air, but with an owner as eager to win as Dan Snyder, I believe that he needs to show improvement in a number of areas to keep his job past the 2015 season.
First and foremost, he needs to find a way to win football games. The Redskins finished the 2014 season with a 4-12 record – and not even a good 4-12. Obviously, a 12-loss campaign is never a good thing. But when nine out of the losses are by 10 or more points, and five of them are by 20 or more points, it’s safe to say that Washington sported a really bad 4-12 record.
The awful blowouts aren’t all on Gruden, though. A lot of it had to do with the horrid defense that the Redskins employed. Their secondary was a sad excuse for a starting unit, and the same can be said about their starting defensive line. It didn’t help to have an incompetent defensive coordinator running things, either – which is kind of on Gruden, as he was likely given the opportunity to let Haslett go earlier in his coaching stint.Jul 24, 2014; Richmond, VA, USA; Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden speaks with the media prior to an afternoon walkthrough on day two of training camp at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Continuity likely played a role in Gruden’s decision making when he was building his staff, but continuity means nothing when your defensive unit is constantly struggling to succeed. With Haslett now gone, Gruden’s chances of succeeding and winning football games, in my opinion, have improved.
It’s going to take more than a new defensive coordinator and a handful of wins for Gruden to keep his job, though. On top of winning, I believe that he needs to become a better leader, and set a better example for his players. As I’ve mentioned in some of my previous articles, Gruden made far too many unnecessary remarks about RG3‘s ability – or lack thereof – as a pocket passer to the public and media during post-game press conferences.
I understand that he doesn’t want to coddle Griffin and give him unwarranted praise, but, in doing so, he often throws his young quarterback under the bus and gives the impression that he just straight up doesn’t like the guy. Look, I don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, but from the outside looking in, the relationship between the two looks extremely rocky; and that’s being very generous.
If the Washington Redskins get off to a slow start and Gruden continues to battle his quarterback on a public stage, it is my belief that management and ownership would move on without him. If that is indeed the case, don’t be shocked if Bill Callahan takes over as interim head coach before seasons end.
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