by Jordy McElroy
As the primetime spotlight of Monday Night Football shined directly on FedEx Field, there was no hiding the fact that Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden was clearly in over his head.
Quarterback Case Keenum might have been the crash test dummy for the Chicago Bears’ vaunted defense, but Gruden was the one absorbing the kind of hits you don’t come back from.
And to think, he didn’t have the running freight train Khalil Mack chasing him up and down the field over the course of a 60-minute football game.
If there was ever a last straw moment for Gruden, Monday night’s travesty of a performance should have been it.
The Redskins looked uninspired and flat-out unprepared to play in a game they really needed. Granted, it’s hard to look inspired when the offensive line can’t block up front and Keenum is playing hot potato with the football.
Kate Hudson can show you how to lose a guy in 10 days, but Case Keenum will show you how to lose a game in one possession.
That was only the first of five turnovers that would come on a disastrous night for the Redskins offense. It could have easily been six turnovers with Keenum putting the ball on the ground one other time in the game.
Yet Gruden still stubbornly refused to go with rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins, despite his team imploding in the national spotlight.
There have been reports emanating out of the Redskins organization that the No. 15 overall draft pick isn’t ready to take up the mantle as a starter. However, it was clear to anyone watching Monday Night Football that Keenum didn’t look ready to be a starter, either. Three interceptions, two lost fumbles and an 18.3 QBR—surely, Haskins couldn’t have done much worse.
The bottom line is the Redskins needed a jolt of life in the second-half of the game, and Gruden made no effort to give it to them. If the definition of insanity really is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, then the Redskins have clearly lost their damn minds.
It isn’t fair to pile everything on Keenum.
He isn’t the one that burned the bridge with seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams, who is purposefully sitting out games for a new contract or a trade. The latter might be the only option considering the ocean-sized gap of trust between the two sides. It’s a tall order for any quarterback going against the ferocious Bears defense with instability on the offensive front.
But there were other moments on the field that simply can’t happen for a coach in Gruden’s position. One in particular was him burning a timeout heading into the fourth quarter because he couldn’t call the play in on time. He looked too flustered for a sixth-year head coach down by three scores and the eyes of the sports world looking in his direction.
Speaking of six years, the Redskins have only made it to the postseason once in that timespan under Gruden, and they have never won a playoff game. They have also never finished with double-digit wins in a season, and three of the last five years have ended with losing records.
After the blown timeout, an ESPN camera panned across a section of agitated fans face-palming and rubbing their eyes.
Can anyone blame them? Every other team in the NFC East appears to be on the up-and-up but the Redskins.
The Dallas Cowboys are a legitimate Super Bowl contender, and the Philadelphia Eagles have already secured their future by extending former All-Pro quarterback Carson Wentz to an extension.
Even the New York Giants have renewed hope with the big-play ability of rookie Daniel Jones.
The Redskins are running out of excuses, and fans are growing restless with the lack of progress. Gruden has been given more opportunities with more talent than most coaches in the NFL, and the team isn’t any better off than they were before he took over.
The front office has to seriously consider going in another direction in 2020.
Parting ways mid-season would only exacerbate an already turbulent situation.
So it should be business as usual in the time being for the Redskins, which basically means more losing, face-palming, quarterback questions and poor on-field decisions the likes of which would make a sane person pull their hair out—you know, the very definition of insanity.