Redskins: Jay Gruden should be coaching for his job
By Desmond Lee
In Gruden’s defense, the growing list of players on the Redskins Injured Reserved and injury list has loomed prominently as a factor in how this season progressed. Despite this runaway spate of injuries, the Redskins have played competitively against or defeated a long ledger of the league’s elite teams.
But the thesis of this piece isn’t about results, but instead one of process. While Gruden deserves credit for a creating a state-of-the-art offensive scheme, that’s no explanation for the easily-preventable lapses that occur under his watch. And it is precisely these lapses that can affect wins and losses at a time when his team needed them the most.
Whether these will result in his discharge at season’s end is uncertain. Among the many factors the Redskins brass need to account for is whether Kirk Cousins decision to stay in Washington will depend on Gruden’s retention. Another is that, although Gruden may not be ideal, he also isn’t terrible either. Indeed, it’s certainly worth taking into consideration that the club could certainly do worse than him.
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Gruden, however, has registered far too many demerits on his resume with the team to ensure, at this point in time, a return next season. His fate should be tied to the Redskins remaining four games, most of which feature teams with nothing to play for, with the exception of the next game against the resurgent Chargers in Los Angeles.
Their victory against the Browns has forced a three-way tie for first place in the AFC West and briefly crowned them division champions for this week. Facing a division champion is, of course, certainly not a new thing for the Redskins this year. But playing an inspired, error-free game is.
Saving his job will begin next Sunday in much the same circumstances giving rise to the Thursday night game against the Cowboys. One team has a mathematical shot at the playoffs and the other is contending for its playoff life.
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It may to be soon to fire Gruden now. But he should be coaching for his job. That starts this week by giving purpose to a team with little to play for against another division leading club.