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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