While we continue to plug as much San Francisco 49ers news as we possibly can in anticipation of their Monday Night Football matchup, there’s some other big news in the league: Washington has fired head coach Jay Gruden.
The firing comes after a 33-7 drubbing at the hands of the New England Patriots. Before this game, what we saw out of Washington wasn’t too hot. They started with Case Keenum at quarterback but then went to the first-round pick Dwayne Haskins and then, when that also didn’t work, went to Colt McCoy. Struggling at quarterback was expected since incumbent starter Alex Smith is out indefinitely with a leg injury (and may not play again). It’s also the least of their worries.
Washington’s losing margin increased each week, beginning by a five-point deficit in Week 1 and ending with the 26-point deficit at the hands of New England. On the surface, it’s not too surprising with that performance, but there’s a bit more. For one thing, Gruden is reported not to want Haskins to begin with. For another, what do you expect with that roster or owner?
Always blame Snyder
Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen both get their share of criticism and controversy, but I don’t know what they expected with the team they fielded Gruden. We’ve also seen with the San Francisco 49ers how a coach and front office is in sync can pay dividends. When Trent Baalke was in charge, he’d make picks without listening to the coaching staff, which in turn made it difficult to be on the same page. Washington has a stellar offensive tackle, and that’s about it.
Offensive line coach Bill Callahan is the interim head coach for now, but Washington has someone else with head coaching experience: Jim Tomsula, former head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Yes, I’m partly joking here, but Tomsula could get a second shot at head coaching since he turned in that one-year, crowd-pleasing 5-11 finish with the 49ers (that got him fired the day after the last game). It looks like they will keep Tomsula on the defensive line where he’s good, but I wanted to throw that out there.
As to really why, a concrete reason? Who knows. Gruden’s contract was set to end in 2020, and with what they have, may as well let him finish out the season. This at least gets Washington at the front of the line with NFL head coaching hires in 2020. It’s quite an early firing, but Washington may have difficulty getting a head coach with pedigree. That roster is atrocious and combined with a front office/owner with a less-than-stellar reputation means that they will have to get a checkbook ready to go.
San Francisco 49ers head coach Robert Saleh has been seen as a possible head coaching candidate in 2020, and the sad part is, Washington could be a destination for him if he were to leave in 2020. If he had a couple more years of coordinator experience under his belt (along with a lights out defense behind those), I could see him having a pick of where to go. The problem is his defense has played three good games, and he had some criticism in 2017 and 2018. Washington might be a difficult destination to get to after the Haskins pick, so they’d need someone with less experience—like Saleh. Combine that with the Mike Shanahan fiasco with Robert Griffin III, and it will be pretty hard to make a simple job offer. Betonline.ag lists Saleh as 20/1 odds as Washington’s next head coach.
In any case, Washington’s dumpster fire continues.