The Washington Redskins’ season made a drastic turn over the last month, and unfortunately it’s a dark one.
What once was a promising a 5-2 start, has now turned to an epic free-fall with players calling out teammates, players calling out coaches, and now players essentially telling the entire fan-base to f**ck off.
Oh what a difference a month makes.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. We were supposed to usher in a new era in 2018. We had a new “golden boy” in Alex Smith. We were supposed to be drama-free this season. We were finally away from the quarterback controversies of Robert Griffin and Kirk Cousins.
But we live in Washington DC, we ain’t about that life. We share the slogan of the TNT network, “We are Drama”.
So what happened? It’s hard to peg. But there’s always strength in numbers. So I reached out to the fan-base to gauge their feelings.
Gruden on the Hot Seat
I elicited feedback to get a general pulse of the fan-base. I asked the question “Who deserves the most blame for the Redskins Failure this Season?”
Within a 24-hour period I received 309 votes, and an additional 34 comments. Clearly fans are fed up. Generally, responses revolved around injuries, Bruce Allen, and Dan Snyder. But when it came down to casting a vote, fan energy was pointed squarely in one direction–Jay Gruden.
I found this interesting, considering that Gruden has had to navigate a lot this season. Not only did his starting quarterback suffer a gruesome leg injury, but he lost his backup quarterback, a starting wide receiver, and two guards as well. Not to mention missed games by Chris Thompson, Jamison Crowder, and Trent Williams.
In total, the Redskins are down five offensive starters from the beginning of the season. But that didn’t seem to give Gruden a pass this season. Many argued they have seen enough.
I suppose the line of credit that Gruden has established with this fan-base is starting to come to an end. Proponents of Gruden argue that he has brought stability to this organization and has allowed our team to be a perennial playoff contender. But if the Redskins miss out on the postseason this year, it will be their third absence over the last three years. The Redskins have not made the playoffs since 2015.
Adding further insult, is that it appears the locker room is splintered. Almost on a daily basis, bad news is coming out of Redskins Park.
Whether it’s DJ Swearinger venting after a game, or Zach Brown declaring an exit at the end of the season, it is clear that there is a lack of solidarity among the team.
In any organization, it’s the role of the leader to manage personalities, alleviate work tension, and place their employees in an optimal position to succeed. It is clear that this company has active disengagement, and many claim this falls on the head coach.
While reviewing fan responses, there was great insight on why the team was failing. And not all of it fell on the head coach. PJ Cumberland argued that the front offense has failed to provide depth for the team, and with these deficiencies, the team simply can’t compete.
“Still a Diehard Redskins Fan” argued that injuries were the primary factor, and pointed to the absence of Alex Smith’s leadership as the reason for the team’s slide.
Chance Sizemore argues that organizationally there is a lack of accountability and pride in their work. He also asserts that the wrong defensive coordinator was hired.
After taking the time to reflect and processing the input of others, I blame the personnel department for it’s poor team construction. It’s hard for me to specifically pinpoint a fall guy in this situation, since the Redskins do not have a true General Manager and seem to have a convoluted front office structure.
My rationale is that the team has a tendency to stay committed to players who are habitually unavailable. Jordan Reed, Chris Thompson, Jamison Crowder and even Montae Nicholson come to mind. Although these players standout at their positions, they have a propensity to miss games and we rely on them too much.
Then there is the issue of youth and speed on offense. Heading into the season, the Redskins primary offensive weapons were 33 and above: Alex Smith (34), Adrian Peterson (33), and Vernon Davis (34). Where was the foresight? Where are the compliments to these pieces? There was never a plan in place for a home-run threat. In July you could tell the team’s mode of attack was short and intermediate throws to get down field.
Finally, the front office failed to address the team’s deficiencies properly. They overestimated their depth and showed a bit of arrogance in their evaluation and development. It was clear to see that going into the season the team lacked depth at the left guard position, and lacked dynamic weapons at the wide receiver. These deficiencies were exposed as the season unfolded. And you could have argued, it was only a matter of time.
Considering all of this, it is safe to say that there is plenty of blame to go around. Now the concern is, will one off-season be able to fix it?