Column: Did Redskins actually learn anything from firing Jay Gruden?

October 7, 2019

LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 06: A Washington Redskins fan sits in the stands with a paper bag over their head during the second half against the New England Patriots at FedExField on October 6, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

The Redskins are a raging dumpster fire of despair and dysfunction and, once again, they have demonstrated a breathtaking lack of self-awareness and summarily torn down another employee before inevitably casting him out.

Let’s address the latter issue first. Jay Gruden’s tenure as head coach ended roughly 12 hours after Sunday’s blowout home loss to the New England Patriots, a predictable result that provided a stark contrast between a well-run organization and one that is completely lost.

But Gruden’s ouster didn’t come last offseason, as it probably should have. It came in-season, during a virtually impossible early season slate of games, and amid the suspiciously timed release of old, embarrassing videos of Gruden. If that feels familiar, it should — this is the organization that allegedly floated Scot McCloughan’s history of drinking before firing him two years ago.

I was at Sunday’s game at Gillette Stadium South FedEx Field, and it was a hellscape for the few actual, die-hard Redskins fans in attendance.

Seriously, read that entire thread. It was a brutal day for anyone who even remotely cares about the Burgundy and Gold.

But Gruden isn’t the reason why every team that visits FedEx Field is basically getting a bonus home game. Dan Snyder is why. Bruce Allen is why. And the latter remains not only gainfully employed by the former, but seemingly entrenched in his position as the lead football executive despite the Redskins’ 42-75 record with Allen in that role.

How bad is that, you ask? Subtracting the two years McCloughan was the general manager (2015-16), Allen’s record since he came to Washington is dead last in the NFC and fourth-worst in the entire league, ahead of only Oakland (.342), Jacksonville (.333) and Cleveland (.297).

Yes, that’s significantly worse than Allen’s widely ridiculed predecessor Vinny Cerrato’s .430 record (62-82) in nine years as Snyder’s lead football executive. As an added twist of the knife, the Redskins actually have a better playoff record under Vinny (1-2) than Allen (0-1).

Yet there stood an especially delusional Allen Monday afternoon at the podium in Ashburn, speaking on how “damn good” the Redskins’ organizational culture is and how “the pieces are here for a winning team.” He pointed out how at this time last year, the Skins were a first-place team until Alex Smith shattered his leg and touched off a musical chairs of mediocrity at QB.

This is only the latest example of the Redskins’ stubborn and misguided belief that they’re close to contention. Everyone has gotten the message that the Redskins are a dysfunctional mess except the Redskins. It’s like a joke they’re simply not in on. I talked to dozens of Patriots fans at Sunday’s game and every single one I talked to expressed deep sorrow for what Skins fans have to endure. New England had its own period of discontent before Robert Kraft bought the team, so fans of a certain age know what it’s like to be where the Redskins are.

I’m tired of hearing about how Snyder wants to win. That’s irrelevant. He’s not doing anything that fosters winning, and judging by his current trajectory for hiring football executives, true rock bottom may be just around the corner.

As if there weren’t enough bad news coming out of Ashburn, ESPN’s Dianna Russini dropped a bomb on the network’s morning show, reporting Dwayne Haskins might not be truly ready to be a reliable starter for two more years, calling to mind how badly and how quickly it ended for the last QB the team drafted in the first round.

The 0-5 Redskins travel to face the 0-4 Miami Dolphins on Sunday in a game that will likely impact which team selects first overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. Both teams view each other as their most winnable game, and given the Dolphins are coming off a bye and playing at home — where they went 6-2 last season — it’s not a given the Skins will get their first win. In fact, it’s hard to find a week on their schedule where they’re even a plausible favorite.

For the second straight week, the Redskins will be provided with a measuring stick. The Patriots showed them a glimpse of what they once were; the Dolphins will give them a look at what they’ve become. Of course, the difference is that Miami is basically losing on purpose, while Washington still foolishly believes it’s just a couple breaks away from being New England.

The first step to healing is admitting you have a problem. As long as the Redskins believe their toxic culture is “damn good,” they will remain a terminally ill franchise.

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<p><em><strong>Browns 3</strong></em><br />
<em><strong>49ers 31</strong></em></p>
<p>San Francisco&#8217;s run for 800 yards in four games. The defense completely shut down Cleveland to not only make a primetime statement that they&#8217;re for real, but the undefeated Niners planted a flag atop the NFC West entering a big showdown with the Rams at the Coliseum.</p>
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, top right, is sacked by San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa, bottom, during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Oct. 7, 2019. Also pictured is 49ers defensive end Dee Ford (55). (AP/Ben Margot)
<p><b><i>Colts 19</i></b><br />
<b><i>Chiefs 13</i></b></p>
<p>Whatever <a href="https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/03/justin-houston-helping-colts-figure-out-a-game-plan-for-patrick-mahomes/">Justin Houston told the Colts defense</a> about slowing down Patrick Mahomes clearly worked. A week after blowing one to the Raiders at home, Indy dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball to notch a signature win in the post-Luck era.</p>
<p>Meanwhile, Kansas City has to be worried about Mahomes&#8217; ankle. Even though the reigning MVP at 80% is still a Pro Bowler, the Chiefs need him healthy to overcome that shaky defense.</p>
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett (7) scores a touchdown next to Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Damien Wilson (54) during the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. (AP/Ed Zurga)
<p><b><i>Packers 34 </i></b><br />
<b><i>Cowboys 24</i></b></p>
<p>At <a href="https://twitter.com/ESPNStatsInfo/status/1181003953829490688?s=20" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Green Bay&#8217;s home away from home</a>, Dallas demonstrated exactly why they can&#8217;t win a Super Bowl as currently constituted: Dak Prescott is good but not great, and Jason Garrett is only a slight upgrade over the underachieving Wade Phillips.</p>
Green Bay Packers defensive back Chandon Sullivan (39) intercepts a Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott pass in front of wide receiver Randall Cobb (18) in the first half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. (AP/Michael Ainsworth)
<p><b><i>Broncos 20</i></b><br />
<b><i>Chargers 13</i></b></p>
<p>Denver got its first takeaway and its first win. For a team with Joe Flacco at QB, those aren&#8217;t mutually exclusive.</p>
Denver Broncos free safety Justin Simmons, left, and cornerback Isaac Yiadom, right, tackle Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams as he looses his helmet during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in Carson, Calif. (AP/Alex Gallardo)
<p><b><i>Patriots 33</i></b><br />
<b><i>Redskins 7</i></b></p>
<p>Tom Brady, in what amounted to a bonus home game, moved into third place on the all-time passing yardage list, while the New England defense still has yet to allow more than one offensive touchdown in a game this season. The Patriots are three weeks away from playing a team that can really challenge them but that six-week slate (Browns, at Ravens, at Eagles, Cowboys, at Texans, Chiefs) will tell us if this is an all-time great team or just one good at beating up on bad teams.</p>
New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) runs against the Washington Redskins during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in Washington. (AP/Nick Wass)
Ravens 26
Steelers 23 (OT) Earl Thomas has been a great player for a long time but this hit absolutely can’t go unpunished. And regardless of who’s at fault for that ridiculous disabled cart, no one should be allowed to just walk off the field after taking hit like that. (AP/Nick Wass)
<p><em><strong>Jets 6</strong></em><br />
<em><strong>Eagles 31</strong></em></p>
<p>Until Sam Darnold returns, the New York Jets are an extra bye week for their opponents. Except the Redskins. They could definitely beat the Redskins.</p>
Philadelphia Eagles’ Jordan Howard rushes during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP/Matt Rourke)
<p><b><i>Vikings 28</i></b><br />
<b><i>Giants 10</i></b></p>
<p>At least for a week, all the talk Kirk Cousins <a href="https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/03/kirk-couisns-on-negative-reactions-ignorance-is-bliss/">swears he never hears</a> about his inaccuracy is minimized and <a href="https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/06/adam-thielen-proud-of-how-kirk-cousins-vikings-responded/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">all is well with him and his receivers</a>. But the minute he puts up another stinker, trust and believe I will break out <a href="https://twitter.com/HoodieSiakam/status/1179170695298928640?s=20  ">his old baby gender reveal video</a> &#8212; whether he sees it or not.</p>
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) looks to pass against the New York Giants during the second quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP/Adam Hunger)
<p><b><i>Bucs 24</i></b><br />
<b><i>Saints 31</i></b></p>
<p>Teddy Bridgewater matched a career-high with 4 TDs and the New Orleans defense continued to do enough to make him a winner since taking over as the starting QB for the injured Drew Brees. If they can stay on a roll without their future Hall of Fame field general, the Saints could go marching into the Super Bowl after all.</p>
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – OCTOBER 06: Teddy Bridgewater #5 of the New Orleans Saints avoids a tackle by Shaquil Barrett #58 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Mercedes Benz Superdome on October 06, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Getty Images/Chris Graythen)
<p><b><i>Bears 21</i></b><br />
<b><i>Raiders 24</i></b></p>
<p>This game was supposed to be <a href="https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/03/nfl-is-on-25th-london-game-has-still-never-had-two-winning-teams/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">another Across-the-Pond stinker</a> to remind us that Jon Gruden dealing Khalil Mack to Chicago made the Bears a Super Bowl contender faster than he could ever make the Raiders. Instead, we&#8217;re viewing these two 3-2 teams very differently than we did six weeks ago: Oakland looks like a Wild Card contender and Chicago looks like a variation of <a href="https://www.nbcsports.com/chicago/bears/khalil-mack-nfc-north-race-dog-poop-fast-dont-poop-long">whatever the hell Mack was talking about last week</a>.</p>
LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 06: Josh Jacobs #28 of the Oakland Raiders rushes for his team’s third touchdown during the match between the Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on October 06, 2019 in London, England. (Getty Images/Jack Thomas)
<p><b><i>Falcons 32</i></b><br />
<b><i>Texans 53</i></b></p>
<p>Will Fuller&#8217;s ridiculous 14-catch, 217-yard, 3-TD outburst goes down as one of the top 10 fantasy performances by a receiver and Deshaun Watson had a perfect passing game (he had as many touchdowns as incompletions!) to put Houston atop their division and Atlanta at the bottom of theirs. Now, if you&#8217;ll excuse, I&#8217;m going to slink away and hope no one remembers my preseason prediction for the Falcons.</p>
Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller (15) catches a pass for a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in Houston. (AP/Michael Wyke)
<p><b><i>Jaguars 27</i></b><br />
<b><i>Panthers 34</i></b></p>
<p><a href="https://deadspin.com/gardner-minshew-has-a-new-nickname-1838621855 ">The Jock Strap King</a> couldn&#8217;t summon his Minshew Magic again so the focus of this game is where it belongs: On Carolina&#8217;s Christian McCaffrey, only the second player in NFL history with at least 175 scrimmage yards in four of his team&#8217;s first five games of the season. If he keeps doing the heavy lifting for <a href="https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/03/over-a-quarter-of-panthers-roster-on-injury-report/">the injury-depleted Panthers</a>, MVP is a two-horse race between McCaffrey and Patrick Mahomes.</p>
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) runs for a tuchdown as Jacksonville Jaguars middle linebacker Myles Jack (44) reaches during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. (AP/Brian Blanco)
<p><b><i>Bills 14</i></b><br />
<b><i>Titans 7</i></b></p>
<p>I don&#8217;t know which I&#8217;m struggling most to grasp: Buffalo being 4-1 or the fact that it&#8217;s been nearly 20 years since <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuHffewDHpk">the Music City Miracle</a> happened.</p>
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Duke Williams (82) scores a touchdown on a 7-yard pass play against the Tennessee Titans in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP/James Kenney)
<p><b><i>Cardinals 26</i></b><br />
<b><i>Bengals 23</i></b></p>
<p>Only because someone had to win this battle of winless Sean McVay wannabes with <a href="https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/04/kliff-kingsbury-zac-taylor-were-once-cfl-teammates/">CFL roots</a>.</p>
CINCINNATI, OH – OCTOBER 6: Head coach Zac Taylor of the Cincinnati Bengals congratulates head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals at the end of the game at Paul Brown Stadium on October 6, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Arizona defeated Cincinnati 26-23. (Getty Images/Kirk Irwin)
Rams 29
Seahawks 30 As “dumbest things ever” go, this was as good a game as we’ve seen all season — and Russell Wilson is playing perhaps the best football of his career, finally avoiding his arch-nemesis and completing near-impossible passes in a near-perfect performance that will matter in a tightly-contested NFC West race. If Wilson keeps playing at an MVP level — and the Rams defense, which surrendered 85 points and close to 900 yards in one calendar week, keeps getting torched — Seattle is the team to beat in this division. (Getty Images/Kirk Irwin)
(1/15)
<p><em><strong>Browns 3</strong></em><br />
<em><strong>49ers 31</strong></em></p>
<p>San Francisco&#8217;s run for 800 yards in four games. The defense completely shut down Cleveland to not only make a primetime statement that they&#8217;re for real, but the undefeated Niners planted a flag atop the NFC West entering a big showdown with the Rams at the Coliseum.</p>
<p><b><i>Colts 19</i></b><br />
<b><i>Chiefs 13</i></b></p>
<p>Whatever <a href="https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/03/justin-houston-helping-colts-figure-out-a-game-plan-for-patrick-mahomes/">Justin Houston told the Colts defense</a> about slowing down Patrick Mahomes clearly worked. A week after blowing one to the Raiders at home, Indy dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball to notch a signature win in the post-Luck era.</p>
<p>Meanwhile, Kansas City has to be worried about Mahomes&#8217; ankle. Even though the reigning MVP at 80% is still a Pro Bowler, the Chiefs need him healthy to overcome that shaky defense.</p>
<p><b><i>Packers 34 </i></b><br />
<b><i>Cowboys 24</i></b></p>
<p>At <a href="https://twitter.com/ESPNStatsInfo/status/1181003953829490688?s=20" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Green Bay&#8217;s home away from home</a>, Dallas demonstrated exactly why they can&#8217;t win a Super Bowl as currently constituted: Dak Prescott is good but not great, and Jason Garrett is only a slight upgrade over the underachieving Wade Phillips.</p>
<p><b><i>Broncos 20</i></b><br />
<b><i>Chargers 13</i></b></p>
<p>Denver got its first takeaway and its first win. For a team with Joe Flacco at QB, those aren&#8217;t mutually exclusive.</p>
<p><b><i>Patriots 33</i></b><br />
<b><i>Redskins 7</i></b></p>
<p>Tom Brady, in what amounted to a bonus home game, moved into third place on the all-time passing yardage list, while the New England defense still has yet to allow more than one offensive touchdown in a game this season. The Patriots are three weeks away from playing a team that can really challenge them but that six-week slate (Browns, at Ravens, at Eagles, Cowboys, at Texans, Chiefs) will tell us if this is an all-time great team or just one good at beating up on bad teams.</p>
<p><em><strong>Jets 6</strong></em><br />
<em><strong>Eagles 31</strong></em></p>
<p>Until Sam Darnold returns, the New York Jets are an extra bye week for their opponents. Except the Redskins. They could definitely beat the Redskins.</p>
<p><b><i>Vikings 28</i></b><br />
<b><i>Giants 10</i></b></p>
<p>At least for a week, all the talk Kirk Cousins <a href="https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/03/kirk-couisns-on-negative-reactions-ignorance-is-bliss/">swears he never hears</a> about his inaccuracy is minimized and <a href="https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/06/adam-thielen-proud-of-how-kirk-cousins-vikings-responded/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">all is well with him and his receivers</a>. But the minute he puts up another stinker, trust and believe I will break out <a href="https://twitter.com/HoodieSiakam/status/1179170695298928640?s=20  ">his old baby gender reveal video</a> &#8212; whether he sees it or not.</p>
<p><b><i>Bucs 24</i></b><br />
<b><i>Saints 31</i></b></p>
<p>Teddy Bridgewater matched a career-high with 4 TDs and the New Orleans defense continued to do enough to make him a winner since taking over as the starting QB for the injured Drew Brees. If they can stay on a roll without their future Hall of Fame field general, the Saints could go marching into the Super Bowl after all.</p>
<p><b><i>Bears 21</i></b><br />
<b><i>Raiders 24</i></b></p>
<p>This game was supposed to be <a href="https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/03/nfl-is-on-25th-london-game-has-still-never-had-two-winning-teams/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">another Across-the-Pond stinker</a> to remind us that Jon Gruden dealing Khalil Mack to Chicago made the Bears a Super Bowl contender faster than he could ever make the Raiders. Instead, we&#8217;re viewing these two 3-2 teams very differently than we did six weeks ago: Oakland looks like a Wild Card contender and Chicago looks like a variation of <a href="https://www.nbcsports.com/chicago/bears/khalil-mack-nfc-north-race-dog-poop-fast-dont-poop-long">whatever the hell Mack was talking about last week</a>.</p>
<p><b><i>Falcons 32</i></b><br />
<b><i>Texans 53</i></b></p>
<p>Will Fuller&#8217;s ridiculous 14-catch, 217-yard, 3-TD outburst goes down as one of the top 10 fantasy performances by a receiver and Deshaun Watson had a perfect passing game (he had as many touchdowns as incompletions!) to put Houston atop their division and Atlanta at the bottom of theirs. Now, if you&#8217;ll excuse, I&#8217;m going to slink away and hope no one remembers my preseason prediction for the Falcons.</p>
<p><b><i>Jaguars 27</i></b><br />
<b><i>Panthers 34</i></b></p>
<p><a href="https://deadspin.com/gardner-minshew-has-a-new-nickname-1838621855 ">The Jock Strap King</a> couldn&#8217;t summon his Minshew Magic again so the focus of this game is where it belongs: On Carolina&#8217;s Christian McCaffrey, only the second player in NFL history with at least 175 scrimmage yards in four of his team&#8217;s first five games of the season. If he keeps doing the heavy lifting for <a href="https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/03/over-a-quarter-of-panthers-roster-on-injury-report/">the injury-depleted Panthers</a>, MVP is a two-horse race between McCaffrey and Patrick Mahomes.</p>
<p><b><i>Bills 14</i></b><br />
<b><i>Titans 7</i></b></p>
<p>I don&#8217;t know which I&#8217;m struggling most to grasp: Buffalo being 4-1 or the fact that it&#8217;s been nearly 20 years since <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuHffewDHpk">the Music City Miracle</a> happened.</p>
<p><b><i>Cardinals 26</i></b><br />
<b><i>Bengals 23</i></b></p>
<p>Only because someone had to win this battle of winless Sean McVay wannabes with <a href="https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/04/kliff-kingsbury-zac-taylor-were-once-cfl-teammates/">CFL roots</a>.</p>

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