- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 14, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Rex Grossman explained interceptions a lot better than Kirk Cousins does.

“I got off rhythm and just felt rushed,” Cousins said Sunday, explaining one of his four interceptions against the Arizona Cardinals in the Washington Redskins 30-20 loss.

“I was just trying to get the ball downfield and did not see the defender,” he said, explaining another of the interceptions.

One thing Cousins didn’t learn from two seasons of mentorship under Grossman was how to explain interceptions.

Here’s what Grossman said after throwing four interceptions against the Eagles in 2011 and being benched during the game in favor of John Beck. “There are a lot of times when things aren’t going well and then all of a sudden, things go into place and everything gets better, you start to click and all of a sudden get into a rhythm,” he said.


SEE ALSO: Jay Gruden learns to deal with losing as Redskins plummet


Rex Grossman, bless him, always just ran out of time.

Rex is gone, but the good times remain.

It’s always a holiday at Redskins Park. The problem is it’s not Christmas. It’s not the Fourth of July.

It’s Groundhog Day.

A quarterback explaining turnovers. A coach searching for answers.

After the Monday night loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Redskins coach Jay Gruden sounded like Jim Zorn patting his team on the back after a defeat. On Sunday, following the loss to the Cardinals, he sounded like Steve Spurrier at times.

“I don’t know what to do there,” Gruden said to one postgame question, looking befuddled.

“I don’t have an answer for that,” was one of the many sound bites Spurrier offered during his 5-11 season.

Different players, different coaches, same responses. All that’s missing is the fat, overpaid defensive lineman flopping around on the field.

Gruden has that look that nearly every coach that arrives at Redskins Park has at some point — that look that says, “What have I gotten myself into?”

Spurrier had it. Zorn had it. Even Mike Shanahan got it eventually, near the end of his second season here, declaring the rebuild of the roster was taking “a lot longer than I first anticipated.”

Shanahan said that with an 11-20 record.

Gruden seems lost six games into the season — a coach without answers.

“Whether we were 3-13 or 8-8, whatever we were last year didn’t matter,” Gruden told reporters Monday. “I thought going into this year, I thought that from a talent standpoint we had a chance to compete every Sunday and that’s all we could ask for. I said that before the season and I felt very strongly about that. For whatever reason, we are just not getting it done at this point but tomorrow is a new day and we will try to beat the Titans.”

How anyone can not come into this job without his eyes open is remarkable. If there is one thing I’ve learned over the years in this business, it is that if things look bad from the outside, they are usually much, much worse on the inside.

It took Gruden six games to visibly recognize that.

He has recognized that he’s not coaching the Cincinnati Bengals — where he was the offensive coordinator for three years — anymore. That’s right, I’m using the long-woeful Bengals as a measuring stick for what is good in the NFL.

He was asked nearly point-blank if his players are smart enough to coach.

“Yeah, I mean there are some instances where we work specifically on a look and we get that look in the game and we don’t get the results that we should get,” Gruden said. “So some of that the players have to take accountability, some of it — bad play design or bad defensive design, bad special teams design — the coaches will take responsibility. It’s a little bit of both, to be quite honest with you. I am not going to sit here and blame the players for poor execution and I don’t think the players can stand up and say it’s the coaches for poor game planning.

“I think it is a combination when you have the record that we have and as long as we all understand that and we’re all willing to accept the fact we’re all letting the city down, the better chance we have to get out of the rut.”

Rut? They lose to Tennessee — a bad team — at FedEx Field this Sunday, and this team is not in a rut. It’s in a grave.

After the Seattle loss, Gruden said this team was still looking for an identity. The Redskins lose to the Titans and they’ll be looking for disguises.

Thom Loverro is co-host of “The Sports Fix,” noon to 2 p.m. daily on ESPN 980 radio and espn980.com.


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