Jay Gruden’s Struggles in Washington Are Nearing a Breaking Point

Washington is winless and hurting after a number of injuries, but head coach Jay Gruden insists that the team can turn it around. How much longer until it’s Dwayne Haskins’s time?
By Conor Orr ,

A convergence of unstoppable forces are imminent in Washington, which makes the already distressing situation in D.C. even more so.

Here is head coach Jay Gruden, desperately trying to save his job and save his coaching staff despite a rash of injuries and an 0–3 record, barreling forward without any hint of deviation. Here too come all who wanted Dwayne Haskins with the No. 15 pick and are perplexed as to why there does not seem to be any movement on the quarterback depth chart.

“We’ve played three games. There’s 13 games left in the season. The season’s not lost. It’s not over,” Gruden said Tuesday, via The Washington Post. “I know everybody wants to say, ‘It’s over,’ and, ‘The season’s over; go ahead and play Haskins.’ But we feel confident we can turn this thing around.”

It’s a recipe for middling football at best, and at worst, the kind of anvil-weighted freefall that wipes out the franchise once again, forcing them to start from scratch.

It’s one of the most frustrating parts of the NFL lifecycle. There is a point when a coaching staff, management and roster reach a logical breaking point, but some kind of football social contract keeps the dysfunctional marriage together for far longer than it should. For Washington, it seemed the separation point was sometime before the draft, when the coaching staff wanted veteran help to aid them in a win-now campaign and others wanted a young, developmental passer who could form the foundation of a rebuild.

Who benefits from this setup right now? At the moment, Gruden is doing everything he can to legitimize his offense with Case Keenum, while Haskins is getting whiteboard reps only, and could eventually fall to third on the depth chart once Colt McCoy comes back.

Who is the one that ultimately gets what they want, and in turn, sacrifices the needs of the other half of the operation? And who signs up to clean it all up when it inevitably falls apart?

For Washington, it’s a question they’d better start asking if they allow this convergence to continue. Gruden was a good get for them after the Mike Shanahan regime fell apart in disastrous fashion. At some point, the number of raised hands who are fit to play tug-of-war will start to dwindle. Another young prospect at quarterback hangs in the balance.  

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