WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — The more things change, the more they stay the same in D.C.
Robert Griffin III is once again your starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins. Your first year coach, Jay Gruden, is officially on the hot seat and seems all but doomed to be run out of town either at the end of this season or early next season.
Oh, you say he received a vote of confidence from “a source within the organization” yesterday? In that case, how could they possibly go back on their word? It’s not like this organization has ever been deceptive before.
As a fan, all I would like to see from the Redskins is consistency and a purpose, but the only consistencies here are turmoil and drama.
The media never has to search for a story, the Skins just tee up the headlines week after week. While the Wizards are busy doing everything right and are off to a 17-6 start, they go largely unnoticed. This is a Redskins town and it always will be.
Fortunately, we only have two more games to endure this season. What do I expect from those two games and the aftermath? The worst; always expect the worst with this team. Here’s how the worst-case could play out:
We’ve already buried RG3 for his tremendous failures at the quarterback position; why not bury the guy who was allegedly brought in to resurrect his career? Rather than looking in the mirror and addressing the real problem with this franchise, Dan Snyder chooses to hand out pink slips and throw money at his problems. It is how he has always done things and it won’t change anytime soon.
When Snyder finds his stadium filled with opposing fans for these last two games, while his team gets trounced by bitter rivals, heads will roll. Firing Jim Haslett is a no-brainer but that will not be enough to satisfy Snyder’s bloodlust. The next person in line for their walking papers should be Bruce Allen, but that would be equivalent to Mr. Burns firing Smithers. He’d lose a member of his inner circle and the only guy left to tell him how pretty and smart he is.
Unfortunately, the next man in Snyder’s crosshairs will likely be Jay Gruden. A man who was never given a proper chance to succeed will probably be on his way out of town in the next year, if not in the next month. I was rooting for Gruden to succeed here and I still think he could if given the right tools. However, Gruden hasn’t done much this past month to defend his fate: he has mishandled the QB position, disclosed too much information in press conferences, and generally seemed overwhelmed and clueless as this team has gone off the rails.
These last two games are largely meaningless for the Redskins, but they may determine Gruden’s fate.
In the ultimate Shakespearian twist, RG3, the man he threw to the scrapheap, could provide the coup de grâce to Gruden by his play in these final two games. It’s a no-win situation for the coach. If RG3 plays well and the team somehow wins (highly unlikely), Gruden will be pressured from the front office to continue to work with and develop RG3 next year, a quarterback he clearly cannot stand. Listening to his “praise” of RG3’s play sounds like someone is holding a blowtorch to his feet. For the sake of this franchise, these two cannot coexist.
The only thing that remains relevant about RG3 is his relationship with ownership. If somehow both Gruden and RG3 are here next year, 2015 could be even worse than this year.
Alternatively, if RG3 comes out and, as expected, spends the game completely lost in the pocket, when he is not face down in the Fedex Field sludge, then the team will get embarrassed as we sink to new depths of shame. The Redskins play like a team who has all but given up. They now face two division rivals who are fighting for the playoffs. This is a recipe for disaster. You can expect the stadium to be filled with opposing fans (you can’t call them the away team because most of them live here), and you can also expect these games to get ugly in a hurry; the Skins will have no answers.
If you don’t think Snyder firing Gruden is feasible after this humiliating scene plays out then you haven’t been paying close enough attention since 1999. Can’t you hear the announcers now, as they scan the green and blue clad stadium, asking the age-old question: “Where did this once proud franchise go wrong?” Heads will roll, Danny boy!
Snyder will fire Gruden soon enough but he won’t stop to consider the critical question, who the hell could succeed here? And more importantly, who would ever be willing to? We have buried legends!
No one has the résumé to succeed as the head coach of this team. We need an exorcist. Is there a worse gig in professional sports than being the head coach for the Washington Redskins football organization? You come in with a smile and a plan, but you leave looking like you’ve played 100 rounds of Russian roulette in a Vietnam prison camp.
By placing the blame on Gruden, Snyder and Allen will be able to employ the same trick they have been using for years, selling false hope in the off-season by promising that things will be different with a new regime in place. We know what is coming and there is nothing we can do about it.
The frustration is only compounded by our desperate, pathetic fan base (myself included), who still grasps at any opportunity to find positives. When will we all realize that nothing successful can be built here because our foundation is horse manure?
It’s safe to say that by this point in the season, most of the rational fans have checked out emotionally and are only passively watching. For those of us who are addicted to the suffering, or forced to watch, these last two games will be torturous. That will be followed by an offseason which will be as tumultuous as any before it.
Tempers tend to fizzle in the offseason, but this year I beg you not to fall for the siren song of free agents and new coaches. After fifteen years of Snyder’s reign, we’ve heard it all. Nothing is working, nothing will work. Stop supporting this man financially until he demonstrates a real commitment to getting the right people in place for this franchise to succeed. That starts with a real GM, not a coach.
Batten down the hatches. Two more games, then the fun begins.
Follow Patrick on Twitter @RubGun and send your e-mail, questions and topic suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.