Different coach, different results for Redskins?


photo courtesy of the Washington Post

New Redskins coach Jay Gruden, hired on Jan. 9, is expected by many to turn the fortunes of the franchise around.


No matter the weather, no matter the record, no matter the score, faithful Redskins fans will continue to support the team. Although the fans always stick around, coaches rarely do. Since the year 2000, the Redskins have had seven head coaches, and just recently found their eighth. The day after the final regular season game, also known as Black Monday around the National Football League, is when many teams fire their coaches after disappointing seasons. This year, five head coaches were handed their walking papers on this day (along with one during the season and one a week later), including the Washington Redskins’ own Mike Shanahan.

Shanahan, who led the Redskins to a more than disappointing 24-40 record during his four-year term as head coach of the Redskins, was fired along with seven other coaches on the team. Shanahan was hired in 2010 to replace yet another disappointing Redskins coach Jim Zorn. His son, Kyle, who was the team’s offensive coordinator, was fired as well. Redskins owner Dan Snyder in a statement released by the team defended the firien by saying that the fans “deserve a better result.”

“I think it was the right move [to fire Shanahan],” freshman Brady Boyer said. “He was there for a couple of years and did an okay job, but I think it was time for him to go.”

The Redskins, who won the NFC East in 2012 on the strength of a season-closing, seven-game winning streak, were favorites to win the division again and make a playoff run. Originally ranked #10 on ESPN’s NFL Power Rankings, the Redskins quickly fell apart after starting the season 0-3 and winding down the season with eight consecutive losses. They finished 3-13, second-worst in the league. They drew the second slot in April’s draft, but their pick belongs to the St. Louis Rams because of a 2012 trade giving Washington the rights to quarterback Robert Griffin III. This puts the Redskins in a tough position, as they are struggling to develop players within their organization. It is now speculated that Kirk Cousins, who started the team’s last 3 games at quarterback, could be traded for a potential first round pick.

“I think they should keep [Cousins] because he is a good backup, and Griffin’s health is always uncertain,” freshman Joseph Schatz said.

The Redskins fired the Shanahans on Dec. 30. On Jan. 9, it was announced that they had hired former Cincinnati Bengals Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden to replace Shanahan as head coach. Gruden is credited with the development of Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, who has taken the team to the playoffs in each of his three seasons so far. Many speculate that Gruden could play a key role in developing players such as Griffin and other young stars.  Besides his experience as mentor for young athletes, Gruden also runs a “West Coast” style offense, which uses the short passing game to spread out the defense. The Redskins have employed this type of offense themselves the past couple of years, so Griffin would not have to adjust to a new system.


“I think [Gruden] will turn things around for the Redskins,” Schatz said.

With yet another losing season in the books for the Redskins, fans hope they can turn it around. With the draft, OTA’s and training camp on the horizon, the road to the Super Bowl is already being paved.