Redskins: Jay Gruden should be coaching for his job
By Desmond Lee
Gruden’s offensive coordinating skills aren’t enough.
The value Gruden brings to the organization is an offensive acumen that keys one of the most dynamic offenses in the league. But subject matter mastery alone falls well short of what forms the critical mass of an NFL head coach. Rather than taking the extra steps to expand his head coaching skillset, Gruden often seems all too content in settling in as a beard-scratching academic that can’t be bothered by the daily grind in implementing his playbook.
In doing so, Gruden abdicates the primary administrative role a head coach plays in ensuring that all phases of his team are accountable for the fundamental aspects of the game and the attention to detail that every successful franchise excels at. Gruden also lacks the gravitas of a leader that can stir the emotions of men to motivate them during critical junctures of a season. The confluence of these two tragic flaws have resulted in far too many instances where the Redskins play down to their opponent or blow opportunities to beat some of the league’s elite teams.
As one of numerous recent examples, sending out not just 12 but 13 players on defense against Dallas is humiliatingly unacceptable. The same goes for watching special teamer Pete Robertson who downed a punt on the Giants seven-yard line only to give all that up on a touchback because he kept running into the endzone. And what about Maurice Harris fielding a kickoff that was strafing the right sideline? Harris could’ve given the Redskins the ball at the 40 if he simply let the ball bounce out of bounds or catch it with one foot out of bounds.
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Then there was Gruden’s self-described football folly last week when he faced a fourth-and-one in Giants’ territory. Instead of making a decision on the spot, the professorial head coach needed a timeout to mull over his options. After deciding to go for it, the team was called for a delay of game penalty that resulted from the comical confusion arising out of substituting a player who was missing a shoe.
Gruden committed another clock management gaffe in New Orleans by wasting a challenge on what was clearly a catch by Saints’ tight end Coby Fleener. The challenge cost the Redskins a critical timeout they could’ve used after getting flagged for intentional grounding with 28 seconds left in the game.
Though the penalty stopped the clock, the officials triggered the 10-second run off rule since it was called with the clock running and because the Redskins had no remaining timeouts. If the Redskins had one last timeout, the clock would’ve stopped with 28 seconds. This was important since the Redskins, who had moved the ball at will against the Saints defense, could very well have picked up the 15 yards necessary to kick a winning goal as time ran out.