Redskins’ Gruden awaits his fate

The Sports Xchange

December 31, 2018 at 6:36 pm.

Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden survived Black Monday but that doesn’t mean his future is secure after a second straight 7-9 season.

He admitted as much on Monday when he told reporters he hadn’t had any end-of-season discussions with the Redskins management.

“I have no idea when they will take place, but I know they will take place. I just have to wait and kind of see what happens,” Gruden said. “It is a tough business. A lot of good coaches have been let go already and there will be a lot more I’m sure here in the next couple days and weeks.”

The case for Gruden rests on a 6-3 start that was followed by a rash of injuries that any objective observer would have to account for.

Washington lost starting quarterback Alex Smith and backup Colt McCoy to broken legs, and Josh Johnson, their fourth quarterback, started the last three games. The Redskins’ first-round pick, running back Derrius Guice, was lost in preseason. The offensive line was decimated by injuries for the second straight year. Third-down back Chris Thompson and injury prone tight end Jordan Reed missed time as well

The only constant on offense was 33-year-old running back Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 1,042 yards in a comeback season.

“It’s hard because you’re talking about really, really good players that didn’t play, especially at the quarterback position. How do you evaluate your team when your two starting quarterbacks that you worked the entire season with are out?” Gruden said of assessing the team without examining the injuries.

“We just never got everybody together all at once, so it’s hard to really say, ‘This is where we are.’ Because we don’t really know how good we can be with everybody in the lineup at the same time.”

That said, Gruden is 35-44-1 after five seasons in Washington and 0-1 in the postseason. The Washington Post referred to him as “amiable but consistently mediocre” in a front-page piece Sunday on the franchise’s decline under owner Dan Snyder.

About 70 percent of the crowd for Sunday’s 24-0 home loss to the Eagles was made up of Eagles fans. If Snyder is unwilling to let go of team president Bruce Allen, a lightning rod for criticism, hiring a new head coach may be one way to appease an angry fan base.

In a disappointing year there were positive signs. The defense showed promise early in the year and the offensive line, when healthy, was formidable.

“Moving forward, if I am fortunate enough to be here, I feel really good about the nucleus of players that we have,” Gruden said. “We do have to address some things without a doubt. When you are 7-9, whether you have injuries or not it is not good enough for this franchise.

“I know Mr. Snyder demands greatness from his staff and his players and we didn’t deliver this year, so we have to figure out ways to get better from a coaching staff standpoint first and then from a player’s standpoint.”

–RB Adrian Peterson was held to zero yards on four carries Sunday. He finished with 1,042 yards on 251 carries (4.2 yards per carry) and seven touchdowns. He caught 20 passes for 208 yards and one score.

–QB Josh Johnson was 12 of 27 for 91 yards and an interception against the Eagles. Over four games, he was 52 of 91 for 590 yards, three touchdowns and four picks, a 69.4 passer rating. He ran 23 times for 120 yards and one touchdown.

–P Tress Way kicked five times for a 44.8-yard average Sunday, with two inside the 20-yard line. He also threw a 7-yard completion for a first down on a fake.

–RB Chris Thompson caught five passes for 14 yards against the Eagles.

–LB Ryan Kerrigan had a sack on Sunday and finished with 13, a half-sack below his career high. Kerrigan has not missed a game in eight NFL seasons.