Reality has arrived for Jay Gruden and the Washington Redskins

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - SEPTEMBER 29: Head coach Jay Gruden of the Washington Redskins reacts in the fourth quarter against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on September 29, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - SEPTEMBER 29: Head coach Jay Gruden of the Washington Redskins reacts in the fourth quarter against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on September 29, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

After a humiliating loss to a putrid New York Giants team, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said, “Reality has set in”. That reality is that the Redskins are 0-4 for the first time in 18 years, and this season is spinning out of control.

The Washington Redskins left the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Sunday without scoring a single touchdown. They achieved eight first downs in the entire game. They used two quarterbacks and turned the ball over four times. The defense was gashed by a terrible Giants team, and even with a pair of fumble recoveries and interceptions, the offense put up a staggering three points.

The Redskins are no longer losing games. They are getting completely humiliated from start to finish.

This is where we take a step back, because the end result is where you begin.

Writing about this team is very hard when they’re awful, mostly because we can only go so far with our answers. We share our opinions, we go through the key matchups and we try to dig into stats to find the team’s strengths and where things are going wrong. But in so many ways, I have lost the ability to give answers to where this season has gone.

So far, watching the Redskins has been like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

We talk about culture in sports so often, and what it means to run an organization well. From a management standpoint, football is no different to any other business. Good companies have good teams of management. They have a transparent and organized system of running daily operations. Employees trust managers, and managers trust leadership. Leadership  hold employees accounatable, and furthermore, hold themselves accountable.

Most importantly, however, good companies understand their market. They understand their customers. They see to do well by the people who are the backbone of their existence.

The Washington Redskins have fallen short in every single aspect of running a succesful operation.

Leadership is defined in so many different ways. But accountability is one of the foundational pillars to leading anything or anyone. When you watch a team consistantly fall short of expectations, it becomes clear that something is not connecting. Whether a coach’s message is not reaching his players, or the management decision is not reaching the coaches, or even the owner’s message is not reaching management. There has been a consistant chain of disconnection that the Redskins have not been able to shake for over two decades.

After starting 0-4, with the season basically gone with the wind, the fanbase is yet again looking for change. They want Jay Gruden fired, they want Greg Manusky fired, they want Josh Norman cut, and they want Trent Williams traded, just to name a few. While all those things are probably needed, the bigger picture remains the same. Anything other than a front office clean sweep would be putting a band-aid over a much bigger wound.

Being a fan of this team is even harder than writing about them. Being a Redskins fan can be summed up by John Mayer’s 2006 hit, “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room”. Week in and week out this year, Redskins fans have sacraficed their fall Sunday’s to the pain of watching their team get dragged up and down the field by any and every team they’ve faced.

So what now? What is the next move?

The season is toast. The playoffs are gone, and the question of even finishing above .500 is also up in flames. But there are ways to move forward, and it starts with accountability. Greg Manusky can’t coach this defense. It was clear last year, and it is clear this year. Whatever he is doing is not working, and the Redskins need a new defensive leader.

I have always been a supporter of Jay Gruden. I think he’s a good coach, and he’s made the best of a garbage situation in the front office with the Redskins. But Jay isn’t the guy for the Redskins future, and with Dwayne Haskins waiting to take the reins, he needs a coach who’s comfortable with his style, and is completely, one-hundred percent in. Because for better or for worse, that is the direction that the team has chosen to go.

The front office needs to be cleaned out, and Bruce Allen has to be the first to go. Since taking over as team president, Allen has watched the Redskins go 59-91. In a results-based leage, no other stat should even matter.

Finding leaders to make good decisions is the first step to take in a rebuilding effort. Because let’s face it, the Redskins need to blow up and rebuild. But like any problem solving, it takes the admission of a problem in the first place to fix it.

Realistically, the Redskins still do have talent and pieces to build from. But without leadership and the team pulling the rope in the same direction, talent is close to useless.

We will see how the coming days and weeks unfold and how these storylines play out. Until then, I’ll be listening to John Mayer.

Next. Redskins studs and duds after Week 4 loss to Giants. dark

(Keep your head up D.C., at least the Capitals won the Stanley cup two years ago!)