At 0-3 and with statistically one of the worst defenses in NFL history, it seems an entirely appropriate time to question if Redskins owner Dan Snyder will make significant changes to his football team.
There’s volatility brewing, and it starts with head coach Jay Gruden and defensive coordinator Greg Manusky.
Keep in mind, however, Snyder hasn’t made an in-season coaching change since the 2000 season when Norv Turner was fired after Week 13 with a 7-6 record. That was nearly 20 years ago. And the team has never fired a coordinator midseason in Snyder’s tenure. Washington once added a play-caller/bingo-caller in Sherm Lewis in 2009, but nobody has been fired during the year.
Think about some of the most embarrassing moments of the last two decades. Swinging Gate 1 and Swinging Gate 2. Cardiovascular fortitude. The nuclear end to the Mike Shanahan/Kyle Shanahan/Robert Griffin III marriage.
Nobody, not even Jim Zorn, got fired during the season.
So what does that mean for Jay Gruden?
That depends what happens next.
Team sources in Ashburn have described an incredibly explosive situation where Gruden and Manusky‘s jobs are on the line next week in New York.
While sources have said Snyder was “livid” after his Redskins got blasted by the Cowboys in Week 2 and that Snyder and Allen stayed at FedEx Field until well past 2 a.m. Tuesday morning after the embarrassing 31-15 loss to the Bears, it seems the staff will remain intact for Week 4.
There was some speculation that Manusky might get fired after Monday night’s game. His defense gave up 31 points to a Bears offense that barely scored in its first two games. Chicago QB Mitch Trubisky had zero touchdowns in his first two games; he threw three scoring passes in the first half against Manusky’s group.
The defense was terrible and many of the mistakes have been hallmarks of Manusky's time at the helm. Coverage miscues on intermediate routes over the middle, and an almost surreal ability to give up third-down conversions. Through three games the Redskins are giving up first downs on 63 percent of third downs, which would be an all-time awful mark for defensive futility.
So why does Manusky seem safe for now? To start with it's a short week. The Redskins play the Giants on Sunday after not leaving FedEx Field until late Monday night or Tuesday morning.
There's also the question of who would replace Manuksy, and what changes that move would create with the staff. Manusky and Jim Tomsula are very close, and some think Tomsula might quit if Manusky gets fired. That certainly would seem to rule Tomsula out as a potential replacement at defensive coordinator. Defensive backs coach Ray Horton has the experience to do the job, but his group has struggled so far this season. Rob Ryan? His last stint as a defensive coordinator in New Orleans ended with the Saints defense ranked dead last in points allowed and second to last in yards allowed.
Besides, firing Manusky is little more than window dressing at this point. He has not been good as the Redskins defensive coordinator, but does a lot change if he goes? Probably not.
The situation with the head coach seems different.
Jay Gruden said earlier this year that without making the playoffs his tenure with the Redskins would end. After the Bears game, the head coach and multiple players were steadfast that the season isn't over and plenty more can happen this year, but on some level, it seems like wishful thinking.
At 0-3, it doesn't seem like the Redskins are making the playoffs. It doesn't seem like they're going to be anywhere near the playoffs.
The reality is Gruden will be fired this season. It's just a matter of when. And when that happens, expect an overhaul to the entire coaching staff.
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