Washington Redskins Won’t Focus on Football, So They’ll Keep Losing


After burying starting quarterback Robert Griffin III by harshly criticizing him, Jay Gruden said this.

“After a loss like that, we’re very disappointed in the way we played and the question came up about how we played and all that stuff from that.

“I just answered with the first thing that came to my mind and sometimes the first thing that comes to your mind isn’t the smartest thing. It wasn’t the right thing to do on my part.”

It seems not five minutes after his press conference, in which he stated he shouldn’t have said the first going that came to his mind, in an interview with Albert Breer, he did it again.




Despite preaching it was time to move on to San Francisco, Gruden, in that great Redskins tradition, basically made it impossible. Does anyone even know the Redskins are facing the Niners? Was there a football game on Sunday?

After the Redskins fell to 3-8 after another bad game, Gruden became even more ambivalent about his quarterback.

“It’s Monday afternoon at 3 o’clock, and right now we have every intent for Robert, but we’ll look at the tape and make our evaluations here shortly,” Gruden said,

“We want to win every game. And I have to put the people in there who [are] gonna help us win those games. And we’re gonna seriously go down and look at this film, look at last week’s film, look at Minnesota’s film, look at Houston’s film, and try to put a plan together that will  help him succeed. Or we’ll have to find out if somebody else is there that can help us beat Indianapolis instead.”

At this time, right now, Robert’s my guy, right now,” Gruden said.

If there is one team that needs to be buried in seven feet of concrete, just to stop them from stepping on rakes, it’s the Redskins. It’s hard to imagine one team that consistently destroys itself from within like the team does.

The Redskins can’t focus on football. That’ll happen when you’re more concerned with branding than, you know, actually winning games. The inability of anyone in the organization to make a decision that winning is the most important thing they can do isn’t surprising anymore. But they’ll keep doing things like this, because it’s easier.

Sometimes it’s easier to leave a messy room messy. Cleaning it takes time, effort, patience. Just leaving the mess there is less bothersome. But the longer you leave it, the longer it’s there, and the more likely a little mess becomes a bigger mess, that takes even longer to clean up.

No team and fanbase tries to take the easy way out more than the Redskins. The team wants still the glory of winning without the fundamental changes it’d take to win, and fans — no matter how jaded they seem — approach problems with the team with all the tact of Jason Vorhees. Screw mending the broken arm; just chop it off! It’s easier that way!

It’s easy for Gruden to throw his quarterback under the bus. It’d be easy to bench him for Colt McCoy. Talking to the press is easy, running your mouth is easy.

What’s hard is fixing RGIII’s problems. Griffin in fundamentally flawed. That’s in part because the Shanahan’s took the easy way out by incorporating an option offense the NFL had never seen before. In year two, Griffin was coming off injury, further hindering his development.

Conventional wisdom says learning the West Coast Offense takes three years to learn. Griffin is in year one. The footwork, the timing, the terminology — it all takes time.

Gruden insists that time is running out. It’d be easy to place Colt McCoy in. Fundamentally it’s no different than Mike Shahahan trying to prove a point by benching Griffin at the end of last season.

McCoy is a vet. He’s been in a WCO for four seasons. He should know that nuisances.

Coaching is easy. Teaching is hard. All you have to do with Colt is coach him. Tell him where to throw. Have a consistently average offense. Teaching Griffin is a long process, one that Gruden seems to have no intention of earnestly starting.

It’s easy to build a team full of other people’s players. All that cost is money. Even with the salary cap, teams always find a way to sign the guys they really want. Sign a bunch of veterans, then say they’re uber talented.

Developing you’re own players is hard. It requires excellent scouting and, you guessed it, excellent teaching. Much easier to start three free agents at wide receiver and a rag tag group of other team’s cast offs on the offensive AND defensive lines.

No one should be surprised that a group of veterans would rather have Colt McCoy start then RGIII. They have a finite lifespan, for championships, for money. No veteran who signs in Washington is going to want to wait around for any player to develop.

The Redskins have taken the easy way out at every turn.

Win now. There is no developing in the future.

It’s easy to find a big name coach, or hire someone you know. It’s hard to find a guy who is willing to bring out the strengths in what you have, and harder still to listen to them be honest about the problems facing a team. Much easier to simply offer them big money without even interviewing them. Interview is hard.

And for fans of the team, it’s easier than ever to simply keep lobbing parts off and praying that eventually the team will luck into the right combo of pieces to win.

“Man, if the Redskins just got rid of RGIII Jason Campbell Patrick Ramsey Brian Orakpo Laron Landry Carlos Rogers Rocky McIntosh and replace them with (insert name of late round draft pick, practice squadder, big name free agent or the beer guy here), we’d win more!”

Dan Snyder has convinced fans there is an easy fix. There’s not. The Redskins have fundamental issues, from the front office to the coaches to the players. None of them are easy fixes.

So it’s much easier to simply pin the blame on one player. Most fans are resigned to the fact Dan will never sell the team, and there’s only so many ways you can say someone sucks. So it’s natural to try and blame someone. If we can’t get rid of Dan, we can chase someone else out!

Building winning football teams is not easy. It’s about tough choices, player scouting and development, and learning and admitting mistakes.

How does Alex Smith go from universally criticized first round bust to viable NFL starter. Because despite all the conventional wisdom about letting him go, Jim Harbaugh chose to take a chance in actually building a scheme around what he could do. He chose to teach, rather than simply demand he be good now. He got to an NFC Championship game.

And he made the tough decision to go with the player with more upside in Colin Kaepernick even when Alex Smith was playing as well as any quarterback in the NFL. And built an offense suited to his strengths.

It takes scouting and development to take guys like Richard Sherman, Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, and a host of mid round picks and win a championship. It takes a mentality of being willing to strike out at a position (Matt Flynn, Tarvaris Jackson, Charlie Whitehurst) and quickly move on after making mistakes.

The Redskins would rather heat a frozen burrito and call it a five course meal than spend any time and effort in the kitchen. In fact, it’s kind of genius how Dan Snyder has managed to convince fans they are one or two players away at any given time.

“DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Andre Roberts, Jordan Reed, Alfred Morris! If you can’t win with these big name weapons, you can’t win! Sure, Pierre openly complains about the team and starting quarterback at every opportunity, but he’s just passionate! And, okay, Jordan Reed is Mr. Glass, and he can’t block, and we don’t have a legitimate back up tight end, but at least Niles Paul will bobble interceptions right into the oppositions team! And Alfred Morris surely can produce with the scrap heap of an offensive line! He’ll just have to break seventeen tackles five yards behind the line of scrimmage, and if he can’t do that, screw him, WHY DON’T WE GIVE SILAS REDD MORE CARRIES!?”

It seems nye inevitable that RGIII will get benched at some point, to try to push for a 6-10 or 7-9 finish, which accomplishes nothing but humiliating the quarterback (again), making some disgruntled vets happy, and filling fans with more false hope.

The truth? The team needs to be stripped to it’s core and rebuilt, starting with the nepotism in the front office, to rebuilding the scouting department, the coaches, the players, everything. And the only way that’ll happen is by not spending money, boycotting Redskins sponsors, and tuning the team out, praying it’ll finally get Snyder’s attention.

Of course, that won’t happen. It’s much easier for the team and fans to pretend the team’s biggest issue is the quarterback.

And that’s why the Redskins are doomed to fail forever.


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