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Jay Gruden badly wants the 2019 Redskins to win. How they'll do that, though, remains unclear

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Jay Gruden badly wants the 2019 Redskins to win. How they'll do that, though, remains unclear

PHOENIX - Jay Gruden spoke for an hour on Tuesday morning at league meetings and one thing became abundantly clear: the Redskins plan on doing everything they can to win in 2019. 

"We gotta win now," he explained. "Ryan Kerrigan's not expecting us to come out and build for the future. ... Landon Collins didn't come here to be good in 2034."

How they plan on doing that, however, remains very much a mystery. 

Gruden revealed that he still doesn’t know what his team's offensive identity will be this fall but he does want to play physical, tough football much like the Burgundy and Gold did to start 2018.

There’s plenty more the coach doesn’t know for 2019, however, and the biggest question mark comes at quarterback. 

For OTAs and minicamp, it’s possible only Case Keenum will be healthy as Colt McCoy recovers from surgery. The coach revealed that the team tried to push McCoy back fast last year from a broken leg, and now the quarterback has time to properly get his leg healed. 

That’s something to watch. 

There is also a large suspicion the ‘Skins will add a passer in the draft, and Gruden said nothing to slow that speculation down. While he didn’t comment on trading for Josh Rosen (league rules don’t allow a coach to speak on another player) he spoke plenty about a rookie signal caller. 

"You look at the skill set, his production over the years, how much has he played?" he answered when asked what he looks for in passing prospects. "Critical situations, how he's progressed throughout his career." 

Another quarterback is coming. He will be on a rookie contract. Believe that. 

Also, Gruden said he doesn’t like carrying three quarterbacks on his roster. You'd think last year's Mark Sanchez situation would force the him to change his mind. He hasn’t. 

He wasn't just focused under center, though. The head coach talked glowingly about Samaje Perine, but to keep him means holding four running backs on the 53-man roster. That was weird. 

Gruden challenged some other players, too, honing in on Josh Norman and Ryan Anderson specifically. 

Gruden said he wants Norman to reach “superstar status" and that Anderson needs to have a big year. 

Both challenges were fair. And if Washington is going to win in 2019, both challenges need to be met. 

In the end, Gruden remained steadfast his team will compete for the NFC East title. That’s just how he’s wired, and really, it's the only mindset an NFL coach can carry. 

Gruden and the Redskins want to win big. That’s obvious. 

How they do it remains a bit of a mystery.

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49ers seal rainy victory over Redskins with slip-n-slide celebration

49ers seal rainy victory over Redskins with slip-n-slide celebration

After coming across the country and holding the Redskins scoreless, the 49ers celebrated their victory over Washington in the most appropriate way possible.

In a rain-fulfilled contest that featured poor field conditions, including multiple puddles throughout the playing surface at FedExField, several players on both sides slipped constantly on Sunday. 

On the last play of the game with a San Francisco victory just seconds away, 49ers rookie Nick Bosa sacked Redskins quarterback Case Keenum as the clock winded down. Bosa celebrated with a headfirst slide across the grass, fully embracing the poor field conditions that affected both sides all afternoon long.

But as soon as Bosa hit the turf, several of his 49ers teammates joined him in the act. All of a sudden, dozens of white jerseys were sliding across the wet grass, as the two teams began to commemorate postgame.

"It was a lot of fun. It was definitely worth it," 49ers defensive end Deforest Buckner said. "I saw Bosa out there sliding, so I said, 'Let's do it.' Everybody else started sliding around and everything. It was like a bunch of little kids out there. That's part of the game, having fun. Right now, we're having a lot of fun."

Even head coach Kyle Shanahan, who was likely happier about this victory than many others, considered joining in.

"I did think about it," Shanahan said. "But I don't think I would have done it right."

The head coach wasn't the only 49er to sit the celebration out.

"I spent plenty of time getting wet in the game," tight end George Kittle said. "I let other guys do [the celebration] for me."

"I saw those guys running and diving on the ground," cornerback Richard Sherman said. "I was like, I got out of this one healthy, so I'm just going to go. I'm just going to observe and then jog to the sideline, but it was fun. It was the 'Mud Bowl 2019 Champions.'"

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo also sat the celebration out, but not by choice.

"I missed the slide. I was upset about that," he said.

After holding the Redskins to zero points and just 154 total yards, the 49ers deserved to celebrate in any way they wanted. And they did just that.

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49ers coach Kyle Shanahan gets his revenge on Redskins, gives dad, Mike, the game ball

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan gets his revenge on Redskins, gives dad, Mike, the game ball

It is personal for Kyle Shanahan. It always will be. 

The former Redskins offensive coordinator, who served in that position under his dad, Mike, for four years from 2010-2013, and helped Washington win an NFC East title in 2012, says he moved on long ago from the traumatic end here. 

The Shanahans were fired after a miserable 3-13 season where they sniped with upper management and their young star quarterback Robert Griffin III as things fell apart on the field. 

On Sunday, Kyle Shanahan returned to FedEx Field for the second time since taking over the 49ers in 2017. They lost that initial return game here in his first year with a rebuilding roster. But it was gratifying nonetheless to leave with a 9-0 win this time. According to 49ers players, he even gave the game ball to his dad.   

The 49ers are 6-0 and headed toward the playoffs. The Redskins are 1-6, fired coach Jay Gruden, the man who replaced the Shanahans, and are starting over. Again. Shanahan might try to keep the personal out of it, but a small smile creased his face when asked about the irony.

“I'm always a little more sensitive to this because of what I went through with my dad here,” Kyle Shanahan said. “It’s always nice to get the win. But it definitely had nothing to do with the game, nothing to do with the score. You always want to take care of things the right way when you're bothered by some things that happened to a family member."

Shanahan tried to say all the right things during his mid-week conference call with Washington reporters. It was NOT personal. He’d been back to FedEx Field before and lost. He’d been to other places he’d coached before and played without strong emotions. He’s moved on with his life and so has the family. 

But there will always be a little part of the Shanahans that will revel in beating the Redskins. Mike Shanahan doesn’t get the game ball if they’ve totally moved on. They never felt everyone was on the same page during their tenure here. The issues with drafting and developing Robert Griffin III are well told at this point. 

The Shanahans certainly deserve a fair share of criticism for what happened in Washington. The overall record was 24-41, including that lone playoff loss to Seattle in 2012, and a change had to be made by owner Dan Snyder and team president Bruce Allen. Things had turned toxic by the end - even if the staff had three future NFL head coaches as assistants. 

But each Shanahan has had success in other places during their careers as NFL coaches, and Kyle is riding high now with a talented young team that hasn’t lost yet. At 1-6, with yet another coach fired and more change on the horizon, the Redskins remain lost in the wilderness. 

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