Cut From the Same Cloth
Say what you want about Jay Gruden. He has a gifted offensive mind. He signed onto a bad situation and is trying to turn it around.
But, if you really look closely at his results and coaching style, he is eerily like a former Redskins Head Coach who also was holding a below .500 record when he was fired. Norv Turner.
Turner was touted as the offensive mastermind behind the Dallas Cowboys Super Bowls titles. His success in the early 1990’s led to his first head coaching opportunity with the Washington Redskins in 1994.
Turner went on to accumulate a 49-59-1 record while only making the playoffs once when the Redskins won the NFC East in 1999 where they were bounced in the second round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The following year, with the Redskins floundering at 7-6, new owner Dan Snyder unceremoniously fired Turner for two reasons. The first being the amount of money they spent in the offseason on older talent and secondly because of a lackluster kicking game.
Fast forward 18 years. The money spent has not been as high profiled as it has in the past. But, the kicking game struggles have popped up. Jay Gurden was touted as an offensive genius in Cincinnati and then next hot name to become a head coach. Gruden’s regular season record is sitting below .500 at 28-35-1 in what could be a make or break year. Snyder has been uncharacteristically patient with Gruden. He has extended him past the original five-year contract which he has yet to do with any previous head coach. But, Gruden can’t seem to get out of his own way just like Turner.
The offense has been humming along, but the defense and special teams have cost them way too many games (for those of you that want me to hit Cousins, okay, Cousins has cost them games too). The defense has on paper improved, but will the game plan and weekly schemes reap those rewards?
Wade Phillips could have been here and coaching the defense a couple of years ago, but there did not seem to be a sense of urgency out of Gruden and the front office to not let him go anywhere else. A missed opportunity that has all the markings of a Turner run team.
Have they finally found a punt/kick returner that can flip field position in crucial moments?
We will see what happens with Maurice Harris, Trey Quinn or Greg Stroman can step up and fill that roll in.
If those two things do not improve upon last year, the Redskins could be in for a very long 2018 season. Jay Gruden could be seeing himself in the same light as Norv Turner. Another offensively brilliant minded coach who wasted opportunities to take his talented team to the next level.