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Need to Know: Gruden has a Redskins team he can trust as minicamp starts

Need to Know: Gruden has a Redskins team he can trust as minicamp starts

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, June 12, 44 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Gruden has a team he can trust going into minicamp

Jay Gruden no longer has to be a micromanager.

The coach is going into his fifth year as the Redskins’ head coach. Assuming he makes it to Week 1, he will have the longest run as head coach of the Redskins since Norv Turner coached the team from 1994 until he was fired with three games left in the 2000 season. 

One of the reasons for his staying power has been some of the veteran players he and the personnel department have brought in. Gruden has a core group of players that he believes he can rely on to take care of the details so that he can focus on the big picture. 

“The good thing is I don’t have to put my finger on everything that’s going on around here,” he said last week. I have great trust in the players that are down here, led by the veteran guys like [Ryan] Kerrigan and Ziggy Hood and the rest of the older-type guys. They do an excellent job down here, and [when] they’re out at practice, they’re in meetings.”

Gruden also mentioned QBs Alex Smith and Colt McCoy, OL Brandon Scherff, LB Mason Foster, and S D.J. Swearinger as players he relied on to help keep things running.

“It’s one thing as a coach you don’t want to have to worry about is just always micromanaging every detail about meetings and what’s going on in the locker room,” said Gruden. “We have a great group of guys that are tight-knit, and they work extremely hard.”

It’s no accident that Gruden has players that he can lean on. 

“It’s evolved, and it goes into your draft and who you’re getting as free agents and all that stuff,” he said when asked about how the team’s culture has changed. “Sometimes you have to deal with some issues from time to time, but it’s important for the veteran leaders to take them under their wing and try to bring them along the right path. And I feel like we have a good majority-rules-type thing that are all hard workers and good guys and good football players.”

When you hear that the Redskins are not interested in a particular free agent or potential trade target because “he doesn’t fit”, think of this. If a veteran player isn’t interested in being one of the guys who tend to the details or listen to the direction of the players who are, you have a problem. Some very talented players fit that description and you may end up worse off despite having obtained a good player. 

That sounds good but at some point, the approach has to show results. It’s great to have “character guys” but if you continue to hover around .500 every year and your peak season is a first-round playoff loss, you may have to rethink that. Not that you have to bring in players who are at high risk of suspensions, but perhaps a player who might require some micromanaging from the coaching staff might be able to help you out. 

This doesn’t mean that they should get rid of Hood and Swearinger and try to bring in some questionable characters. But a culture is only good if it is a winning culture. There are different ways to develop a winning culture and if one approach isn’t working you may have to go looking for another one. 

If you don’t, the head coach who replaces you sooner rather than later will. 

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

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In response to Keith Olbermann’s tweet that said, “The beat an EXPANSION team.”

Timeline  

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 44
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 58
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 81

The Redskins last played a game 161 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 89 days. 

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Somehow, the Redskins still have a fairly straightforward playoff path. Somehow

Somehow, the Redskins still have a fairly straightforward playoff path. Somehow

You're going to feel absurd for reading the following sentence, but probably not as absurd as it felt to type the following sentence.

The Redskins, who are on their fourth option at QB, who made the '18 Giants look like the '72 Dolphins and who are large underdogs this weekend to the 4-9 Jaguars, actually still have a straightforward path to the playoffs.

Now, the word "straightforward" only applies to the path on paper, because realistically, there's nothing straightforward about fixing the litany of issues that are plaguing Washington at the moment.

Regardless, by losing on Monday night to the Seahawks, the Vikings blew a chance to separate themselves from a pack of NFC teams chasing(?) them and their final wild card spot. The Redskins are one of those teams, and here's how they could pass Minnesota to qualify for the postseason:

With the way the season is unfolding, you'd expect the Burgundy and Gold's playoff scenario to involve a bunch of teams losing a bunch of times in these final three weeks. The tweet above illustrates that's clearly not the case. They only need Minnesota to drop one more to go along with the Redskins winning out.

Of course, the Redskins stringing three straight plays together without committing a holding penalty feels like too much to ask for, so anyone expecting a three-game winning streak is either a bit crazy or a relative of Josh Johnson. But still, they're not out of the hunt quite yet. Somehow.

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Jay Gruden not considering changes to his coaching staff

Jay Gruden not considering changes to his coaching staff

The Redskins gave up 40 points and more than 400 yards in a loss to the Giants last Sunday, and that was without Odell Beckham suited up for New York. 

The Redskins have lost four straight games, and five of six, while giving up more than 30 points three times. 

The Redskins surrendered more than 200 rushing yards to the Giants, and have not held an opponent under 100 yards rushing in their last six games. 

You get the idea. 

After the Washington defense got out to an impressive start to the season, things have fallen apart down the stretch.

Despite the struggles, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has no intention of shaking up his coaching staff.

"No. Not really," Gruden said on the Redskins Talk podcast when asked about any coaching changes. 

As the Redskins struggle and lose their grip on a playoff spot, it's not unheard of to think some staff changes might be coming. The Panthers fired two defensive assistants last weekend, and as the NFL season approaches the finish line, more coaches will lose their jobs. 

In Washington though, it seems the staff is safe. Still, the Giants loss stings. 

The Redskins' offense has been decimated by injuries, particularly at quarterback and along the offensive line. There was some leeway for a loss to New York, but not when the home team got down 40-0 to a 4-8 Giants team. 

That type of deficit brings questions. Questions about the coaches, questions about effort.

On Sunday, Gruden made clear he understands his future is week to week.

"We have a game to win next week in Jacksonville," the coach said. "We have to go about trying to find a way to do it."

On Monday, he made clear his assistants are safe. As far as he is concerned anyway. 

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