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Redskins fire Jay Gruden as head coach

Redskins fire Jay Gruden as head coach

The Redskins fired head coach Jay Gruden early Monday morning after a 33-7 loss to the Patriots on Sunday to drop Washington’s record to 0-5, a source with knowledge told NBC Sports Washington. ESPN first reported the news. 

Gruden coached the Redskins for the last six seasons and will finish with a career 35-49-1 record. His teams only made one playoff appearance and won zero playoff games. 

There has been speculation about Gruden’s job dating back to the end of the 2018 season, when the club finished 7-9 despite a 6-3 start. That season fell apart when QB Alex Smith broke his leg in November and a number of other injuries piled up. 

In fact, for a few seasons in a row, injuries have been so significant in Washington that is was hard to get a real read on Gruden’s coaching performances. 

This year, however, nothing has gone right for the head coach and injuries aren’t the main culprit. The team got out to a 17-0 lead in Philadelphia in Week 1 and ended up getting outscored 32-10 the rest of the game for an ugly loss. Then there were two blowout home losses, first to the Cowboys then on Monday Night Football against the Bears. 

There was clumsy handling of the quarterback position, where three players have already lined up this year including rookie Dwayne Haskins in a relief appearance. Gruden also benched Adrian Peterson in Week 1, the only time ever that the future Hall of Famer was a healthy scratch. There were also videos that popped up on social media showing what appeared to be the head coach in an embarrassing social situation. 

Nothing has gone right for Gruden and the Redskins this year, and the decision to fire him marks the first in-season coaching change since 2000 when Norv Turner got fired late in the year. The Redskins haven’t started 0-5 since 2001.

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Adrian Peterson's ankle is injured, but his desire to play vs. the Vikings is quite healthy

Adrian Peterson's ankle is injured, but his desire to play vs. the Vikings is quite healthy

He was wearing a walking boot, and it was reported just hours earlier that he's dealing with both a high- and low-ankle sprain, but when talking to reporters on Tuesday, Adrian Peterson sounded more than confident he'll be ready to face the Vikings on Thursday.

"Feeling good," he said. "Yeah, I plan on it, for sure."

The running back explained that on Monday, things were "rough" and he was quite unsure whether he'd be available for the Week 8 matchup. Since then, though, the swelling in his ankle has gone down "tremendously," making him a lot more optimistic even as he missed Tuesday's practice. 

The fact that his current team is slated to square off with the team he became a legend with is obviously factoring into all of this, too.

"Of course I want to play against Minnesota," Peterson said. "I was there for 10 years."

While Kirk Cousins and Case Keenum will be seeing their respective former franchises for the first time on Thursday, it'll be Peterson's second meeting with the Vikings. He actually opened the season facing them when he was with the Saints in 2017, so he should be prepared for the emotions that'll come with his return.

Another thing Peterson believes he'll be prepared for is the defense he'll be battling with. No. 26 knows a lot of the players on that side and feels that knowledge will benefit both him and the Burgundy and Gold.

"It's going to help a lot," he said. "Just knowing their personalities and their mentality. That, right there, is going to be very important for me and being able to talk to [my teammates] as well, since it'll be probably be their first time going up against these guys."

It's unfortunate that Washington's record isn't better, because their awful start is clouding a few very intriguing storylines in this national game. Even so, when Peterson was asked what he thinks Keenum's experience on Thursday will be like, his answer hinted at how much this contest still matters.

"I'm sure he wants to stick it to them, just like I want to stick it to them, and just like Kirk Cousins wants to stick it to us." 

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Brandon Scherff: 'I want to be a Redskin for the rest of my career'

Brandon Scherff: 'I want to be a Redskin for the rest of my career'

In his five years in the NFL, Redskins guard Brandon Scherff has established himself as one of the best interior offensive linemen in the league. 

A two-time Pro Bowler, Scherff is in the final year of his rookie contract with the Redskins and set to be a free agent this offseason. Although Scherff's current contract only guarantees him the rest of the season in a Burgundy and Gold uniform, there's only one team No. 75 wants to play for.

"But I want to stay here," Scherff told NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay in an exclusive interview. "I want to be a Redskin for the rest of my career."

While the guard sounds committed to the Redskins, the team has to commit to him. The two sides had spoken about a potential extension this past summer, but there was no happy medium between them.

Earlier this season, a report came out that the Redskins offered Scherff an extension worth an average of $13 million per season, which would make him the second-highest-paid guard behind Dallas' Zach Martin.

But Scherff told NBC Sports Washington that he's in no rush to sign a contract extension right now.

"No, no updates. I think I’m going to wait until the end of the season to talk," Scherff said on a possible extension. "I’m not really focused on that right now. It’s going to be a big part of our life in the offseason."

If the Redskins don't come to an agreement with their Pro Bowl guard, they can also place the franchise tag on him.

The Redskins used the franchise tag following both 2015 and 2016 seasons on quarterback Kirk Cousins, while both sides tried to finalize a long-term deal. Neither side could come to an agreement, and Cousins signed a three-year, $84 million contract with the Vikings in 2018. 

Scherff and Cousins are good friends, and both of their wives are close to one another. The guard said he was "excited" to see Cousins when the Redskins play the Vikings on Thursday.

Scherff could be faced with a similar situation that Cousins was in a few years ago. But he insists he hasn't talked to Cousins about what it's like to be franchise tagged.

"No, I don’t like to talk about that with anybody," Scherff said. "Contracts are contracts and you kind of just leave it at that."

Right now, Scherff is saying all the right things. He's committed to the organization. He's taking it one day and game at a time. He wants to be here for the rest of his career. He's one of the best young offensive linemen in the game.

Now, it's up to the Redskins to invest their future in him.

"Like I said, I want to be a Redskin for the rest of my career," Scherff reiterated to Finlay. "We’ll figure it out when the season is over."

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