Apparently, the Washington Redskins were still deciding on coach Jay Gruden’s status for 2019. He’s staying.
While it seemed Gruden was already safe since other teams made their decisions last Sunday and Monday, and many are already well into interviews for their vacancies, JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington said on Friday afternoon that Gruden was told officially he’d be back.
It was the expectation for a while that Gruden would be back. Multiple injuries at quarterback and practically every other position weren’t his fault, and the team did battle hard with Josh Johnson at quarterback after he was signed in early December. Washington finished 7-9.
For a Washington fan base that seems as frustrated with the team as ever, the lack of a move won’t be met with a ton of enthusiasm.
Jay Gruden gets another season
It’s a little odd for owner Daniel Snyder to be so patient with Gruden, who is 35-44-1 as head coach. Snyder is the same owner that gushed about his new business office hires in May and fired them in December, presumably over attendance issues that weren’t their fault.
Snyder has also been very patient with team president Bruce Allen, who seems to be the biggest target of Redskins fans’ scorn after another losing season. Allen seems to be much more unpopular than Gruden after three straight seasons without a playoff berth.
It’s probably the right move to keep Gruden. If the team really was evaluating its options all week, they probably saw there are eight NFL head-coaching openings and not many exciting candidates to fill them all. Washington’s vacancy wouldn’t have been an attractive one for whatever hot candidate there is.
Gruden hasn’t been terrible as Redskins coach, but he hasn’t had a lot of success either. Most NFL teams don’t give a sixth season to a coach without a playoff win and only one appearance, but Washington must pin the 2018 failures on injuries to players like quarterbacks Alex Smith and Colt McCoy.
Redskins have a lot of challenges
Washington isn’t exactly positioned all that well for a big turnaround in 2019. We’ll see what the offseason brings, but right now they’re an average team that has no idea if Smith will be able to play again after a devastating leg injury.
Another playoff-less season won’t help the growing divide between the team and its fans. The amount of Washington fans disavowing the team is fairly shocking.
Gruden finds himself in a situation in which he has to find a winning season despite significant quarterback issues, with a fan base that is turning on the team and an owner that has never shown much patience with coaches before. But at least Gruden will be back.
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