Redskins

Redskins

The Redskins fired Jay Gruden before the sun came up on Monday morning. The former coach had just lost 33-7 to the Patriots to drop his 2019 record to 0-5.

That comes on the heels of two straight 7-9 seasons and just one playoff appearance in five years. There were also some questionable decisions to start the year, like benching Adrian Peterson Week 1 and the reluctance to give Dwayne Haskins more practice work, that led to his firing. 

Make no mistake: Gruden's record justified his firing. He's a genuine guy and a funny person that many players loved, but the organization did not make a huge mistake by dropping the longest-tenured head coach of Dan Snyder's ownership. 

That said, it seems like nothing will really change in the organization, and the problems did not begin and end with Jay Gruden. 

Washington team president Bruce Allen spoke at length on Monday after firing Gruden, and his comments sound remarkably similar to his last Ashburn press conference in 2014. At both press conferences, nearly five years apart, Allen defended the Redskins effort despite admitting their terrible record. 

"The culture is actually damn good," Allen explained on Monday. "These people care."

While the strong culture is debatable, and Gruden was certainly a part of that, the team has gone 31-37-1 since Allen's last press conference with no playoff victories. During that famed 2014 appearance, Allen explained that the Redskins organization then was too in good shape.

 

"We’re going to make sure everyone understands that that’s not acceptable and that everybody is working together in order to get successful on the field and off the football field," Allen said then.

The team hasn't found success. And the team absolutely hasn't found sustainable success. There's been quarterback drama, and off-field drama, and a slowly degenerating fan base. 

But back to Gruden, and his dismissal on Monday. What difference is it going to make?

Interim head coach Bill Callahan seems like a noble sport, a soft-spoken, genteel man off the field with a hard glare and loud bark on the field. For a few seasons, he's worked the team's offensive line hard during practices, and after practices too. Callahan has been a head coach before too, and found success. In two seasons with the Raiders in the early 2000s, he coached Oakland to a Super Bowl appearance, where they got beat by Jon Gruden's Tampa team. The next year the Raiders went 4-12, and Callahan was subsequently fired. 

The point here is not to tear down Callahan. He's a no-nonsense type, and that might be overdue in the Redskins locker room. He also wants to commit to the run game, which might be a good idea, except Washington's run game has been awful this season and many top-caliber offensive linemen are missing. 

But looking beyond Callahan, and Kevin O'Connell as the new play-caller, when the conversation turns from Week 6 in Miami to real change for the betterment of the organization, is any of it happening? 

No.

Or at best, not right now. 

In two decades the Redskins have one playoff win. With Bruce Allen running the organization for the last decade, the Redskins have no playoff wins. ESPN's Scott Van Pelt called the organization a "treadmill to nowhere" and while it might sound harsh, it's remarkably accurate. The team boasts a 129-179-1 record since 2000. 

Often times fans and even media get caught up in personal emotions surrounding the Redskins lack of success and those running the team. Some want apologies. Others want retribution. 

In pro football, there is little time for emotion, perhaps save for gameday mornings. There are no apologies in football. Rarely is there retribution. 

Gruden often said that coaching the Redskins was a results-based business, and in the end, his results weren't good enough. 

But for the Redskins as a whole, the results aren't good enough either. And yet, there are no significant changes to the organizational structure on the horizon. 

The attacks don't need to be personal. In fact, there don't need to be attacks at all. Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells famously explained the reality of the NFL: "You are what your record says you are."

At Redskins Park, the record stinks, and while Allen insists that people care, nothing seems to change. 

 

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