After an 0-5 start punctuated by a 33-7 drubbing at home by the New England Patriots, the Washington Redskins have fired head coach Jay Gruden. However, given the team’s peripherals, he was never truly given a chance to succeed.
Washington entered the week unsure of who would even start at quarterback. Case Keenum was in a walking boot, rookie Dwayne Haskins struggled against the Giants and Colt McCoy was just returning from a broken leg he suffered last season and endured several setbacks on the road to recovery. McCoy wasn’t named the starting quarterback until Friday afternoon. Not to mention, none of these three players were supposed to be under center for the Redskins as the team last last year’s starter Alex Smith to a gruesome leg injury that could end his career.
Gruden also reportedly did not want Haskins, which could explain Haskins’ sideline demeanor during games, which included pictures of him sulking or not paying attention when offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell was breaking down plays with Keenum.
In addition to their quarterback carousel, running back Derrius Guice was injured in Week 1 and placed on injured reserve, forcing the team to rely on 34-year-old Adrian Peterson, who has toted the football to a sluggish 2.7 yards per carry this season. Washing is averaging just 68.8 rushing yards per game this season, 27th in the NFL.
Peterson also did not give Gruden a ringing endorsement after the loss to the Patriots, a game in which he had seven carries for 18 yards.
“It’s clear that something has to change,” Peterson said to the Washington Post. “That’s one thing you do know, because we are 0-5. We haven’t won. We haven’t been productive as an offense. You got to go back to the drawing board and say, ‘Okay, as a coaching staff . . . what can we do better to put our players in better position to be productive as an offense, to be better as a defense?’ It’s their job to do that. We 0-5. What we’ve been doing, obviously, isn’t working.”
The team’s best player, left tackle Trent Williams, has refused to show up after the Redskins medical staff mishandled a growth on his head during the offseason and has made it clear he does not want to play for the team ever again. Starting in his place is Donald Penn, who has surrendered two sacks and 10 total pressures this season, but has also been flagged six times, the second most in the league at his position.
The schedule has not been very kind to them either. Four of their first five opponents were playoff teams last year and own a combined record of 14-6.
Simply put, the Redskins aren’t a very good team as it is and things went from bad to worse when they lost several key components of their team (eight different players are on injured reserve) and faced a brutal schedule to begin the season. Gruden is the longest-tenured coach of the Daniel Snyder era, but he has been underwhelmng in his five-plus seasons, making just one playoff appearance. Gruden’s days as head coach were numbered, but firing him midseason isn’t going to change much with this team and having him come to work at 5 a.m. to get fired just sends the wrong message to the rest of the organization.
Whoever takes over as head coach, good luck to you as this team needs someone who can right the ship.