Quick Links

Jay Gruden sends a mixed message by waving the white flag


Jay Gruden sends a mixed message by waving the white flag

Sometimes a coaching decision is just a coaching decision. Other times, a coaching decision is a message to the team.

A decision made by Redskins coach Jay Gruden late in their game against the Chargers sent a message, a very wrong one, to his players.

With 2:55 left in the game, the Redskins were trailing 30-6. The Chargers had the ball on the Redskins’ nine yard line. Backup quarterback Kellen Clemons threw a pass to receiver Mike Williams, who was tightly covered by Bashaud Breeland. The cornerback won the battle for the ball and rolled 96 yards for a touchdown.

The TD made it 30-12. A two-point conversion would have made it a 16-point game, a situation where two touchdowns and two two-point conversions would tie the game. To be sure, the odds of pulling that off were very long (details in a minute) but there still would have been the proverbial Dumb and Dumber “So you’re saying there’s a chance” chance. However, Gruden sent out the kicking team. The one-point PAT was good and it remained a three-possession game.


Why did Gruden decide to go for one? Here is his entire answer when he was asked that during his Monday conference call with the media:

“I thought about it a little bit,” he said. “I just didn’t think it was a realistic chain of events that would’ve had to occur, to be honest with you. You know, with the situation that we had offensively with Trent Williams out and we were down to one back, Ryan Grant was banged up with his ankle, down to three receivers, Josh [Doctson] was a little bit banged up. I just wanted to make sure I got out of that game with enough healthy bodies and didn’t want to risk anymore, especially with having to get two onside kicks, two two-point conversions with two minutes to go. I wanted to, you know, try to get out of this game, get back on the plane, and get ready for Arizona.”

That is all well and good. There was very little chance of winning the game. If they had gone for two points and succeeded and then recovered an onside kick, their win probability would have been 1.1 percent. What would the point have been with, as Gruden noted, so many injured players?

Well, the point would have been that the team should never give up no matter what the odds, no matter how beaten up they were. Last week he was asked about shutting down injured players with the team’s playoff odds hovering at less than one percent.

“I think there are some mathematical possibilities where we can get in,” he said. “I know it’s a long shot, but this is a 16-game season. We know that anything can happen, so we’re going to continue to play to win. That’s the only way we know how.”

Well, it’s the only way they know how until it’s late in a game and apparently the coach is more interested in getting back on the plane than he is about seeing in a chain of events that didn’t seem to be realistic can somehow play out.


Just like it’s a 16-game season, it’s a 60-minute game. By going for one, Gruden waved the white flag and ended the game after about 57 minutes.

That’s telling your team that, yes, there is a time when you stop fighting. That’s telling the players who are in for the injured players that they’re not good enough to rally the team. That’s telling them that it’s OK to quit when they’re hurting and the odds are long.

That’s not the right message to send. This hasn’t been a consistent issue for Gruden while he has been the head coach. But the slope to losing the locker room is slippery and the drop is steep if many more of these mixed message decisions occur in the future.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.



Quick Links

Good news Redskins fans: Jason Pierre-Paul shipped out of NFC East


Good news Redskins fans: Jason Pierre-Paul shipped out of NFC East

The Giants shipped out Jason Pierre-Paul for life as a Buccaneer, and in turn, Tampa will send a third and fourth round draft pick to New York.

Moving Pierre-Paul comes at a curious time for the Giants. The team will eat $15 million of dead money in the move, and New York also sent a fourth-round pick to Tampa as part of the transaction. 

What it definitely signals is that Big Blue looks to be moving from a 4-3 base defense to a 3-4 look. Additionally, with the second overall pick in the NFL Draft in April, maybe the Giants will seriously look at NC State defensive lineman Bradley Chubb. 


For the Redskins, seeing Pierre-Paul leave the NFC East is welcome news. He has 12.5 career sacks against Washington QBs, the same amount he has against the Eagles and Cowboys combined. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

Quick Links

Looking at the details of Zach Brown's contract with the Redskins

Looking at the details of Zach Brown's contract with the Redskins

The Redskins and linebacker Zach Brown agreed to a three-year contract that will require Brown to continue to play at a high level if he is going to collect all of the $21 million the deal contains.

Brown’s camp reportedly was shopping for a contract that had some $20 million in guaranteed money. The actual deal fell well short of that.

Brown, who was leading the league in tackles before an assortment of injuries forced him to sit out the last three games, got a total of $5.5 million in fully guaranteed money. He got a $4.5 million signing bonus and his $1 million salary for 2018 is fully guaranteed.


After that, the remaining two seasons essentially are team options. In 2019 he has a $6.75 million salary and $4.5 million of that is guaranteed for injury. His 2020 salary is $7.5 million with no guarantees of any kind.

The contract also has per-game roster bonuses available at a rate of $15,625 for each game he is on the 46-man game day roster in 2018 (total of $250,000 for the year) and $31,250 per game in 2019 and 2020 ($500,000 total).

The salary cap hits per year are as follows:

2018: $2.75 million
2019: $8.75 million
2020: $9.5 million

The average annual value of $7 million ranks ninth among inside linebackers.

Brown will need to continue to play well to collect on the contract. The team will be able to save $5.75 million on the 2019 cap if they terminate the deal after one season and $8 million if they do it in 2020.


Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.