Redskins: Five bold predictions for the 2019 regular season
By Ian Cummings
No. 1 – Jay Gruden is fired midseason, Kevin O’Connell proceeds as head coach
Jay Gruden enters this season as a guy who, basically, can’t win. He’s on terribly thin ice, with two straight 7-9 seasons in the rear view mirror. The pressure is on Gruden to win now. And the odds are not in his favor.
Gruden picked Case Keenum to be the starter because he felt that the veteran gave the team the best chance to win. But Keenum can’t win without a lot of help around him, and Gruden can’t help if he refuses to be adaptable and adjustable. Over the years, we’ve seen Gruden’s lack of flexibility hurt the team, and it’s that same lack of flexibility that will lead to his downfall.
Whether the firing of Gruden happens in correlation with Keenum’s benching, or whether it happens later, is not yet distinguishable. The team could bench Keenum and see how Haskins does under Gruden’s leadership. But the only way Gruden sticks around is if he proves himself to be vital to Haskins’ development. And with Kevin O’Connell now entrenched as the team’s offensive coordinator, the front office could have flashbacks of Sean McVay, and give their charismatic young coaching candidate the reins.
Whether O’Connell will succeed, or even amount to the promise that has begun to build, remains to be seen. But starting a new era requires that a team goes all-in on change, and pulls the trigger at the right time. Perhaps, pulling the trigger on a coaching change in 2019 will have been late. But for the Redskins, it’s better late, than too late.