There isn’t any way to sugarcoat the fact that the Washington Redskins were a terrible team in 2013. Finishing with a 3-13 record, on which they went to lose their last 8 games, resulted in the firing of head coach Mike Shanahan. Prompted by the struggles of QB Robert Griffin III, the Redskins hired former Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden to be their new head coach.
As offensive coordinator of the Bengals, Gruden has had varying degrees of success. While he contributed in taking the team to three consecutive playoff appearances, he was also part of 3 immediate playoff exits as well. In addition, QB Andy Dalton threw 20 of his 49 career interceptions during the 2013 regular season (though he also threw 4,296 yards for 32 touchdowns) and had a QB Rating of 55.8. Last Sunday’s 27-10 loss to the San Diego Chargers in the AFC Wild Card was even worse, where Dalton threw 2 interceptions and had a QBR of 14.2.
As a result, Jay Gruden’s hire with the Redskins brings skepticism and, according to ESPN Redskins insider Chris Russell, fans in DC also have mixed reactions.
Not only does Gruden get to work for Dan Snyder, an owner so bad Jerry Jones would be appalled at his inability to run an organization in the NFL, but he has to manage the precarious position the team are in concerning their franchise quarterback.
It’s obvious RGIII struggled in 2013, coming off surgery on his LCL and ACL. Throwing 16 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, and fumbling the ball 11 times, he finished with a QB Rating of 40.1. However, there is the possibility that RGIII had an off year in 2013. Consider that in 2012 he threw for 20 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions, while finishing with a QB rating of 71.4 (not to mention he threw for 3 fewer yards total than his 2013 season, with 3200 yards). With a much healthier franchise quarterback for the 2014 season, and Jay Gruden recently announced he will start for the 2014 season (source: NBC’s Pro Football Talk).
Still, it’s hard to determine if RGIII’s success in 2012 was a fluke or not. Does this mean RGIII shouldn’t be the Redskins franchise QB? Jay Gruden arrives in a very confusing scenario, that’s why whatever happens in the future will be tough to judge, especially at first. We might never know if any success of failure will be because of Jay Gruden or RGIII, but one thing’s for certain; to improve in 2014, the Redskins need a more stable offense. This all starts with working on RGIII and Kirk Cousins (depending on if the latter is still on the team) and making sure they’re ready to play come this fall. A much improved defense and special teams unit is also of need.
It’ll be interesting to see how Jay Gruden handles the RGIII, as well as see what kind of relationship he has with Dan Snyder. Though it’s bleak, there’s hope for this inconsistent Washington team. It all depends on whether Gruden can fit the pieces of the puzzle on offense together.
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