- - Monday, December 10, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The December descent began earlier than usual for Washington’s NFL team this season and it’s likely still a long way from hitting bottom.

You might wonder if anything can top a 40-16 shellacking at FedEx Field against a subpar divisional opponent missing one of its two best offensive weapons. Asking that question means you haven’t been paying attention. When there’s only one way this franchise can go, it’s typically further down.

Maybe it’s our proximity and history with this team. But for drama and intrigue, combined with pure tomfoolery and a lack of winning, Washington has few rivals in the league. Cleveland comes to mind and Oakland is a contender, too. However, each also has something to look forward to, respectively, life with a shiny new QB and life in Las Vegas

But in Washington, there’s no looking ahead. Unless you have X-ray vision to peer through the brick wall.

The late Flip Saunders was talking about Washington’s NBA franchise, but he easily could’ve been referencing the city’s NFL outfit when he said, “Don’t think it can’t get any worse because it can.”

That’s a double-negative. But we could quadruple all existing negativity and still come up short in adequately describing Dan Snyder’s woeful organization.

Luck has conspired against Washington, with a pair of quarterbacks suffering broken legs in games this season. Medevacs remain on standby for the offensive line’s next emergency reshuffling. Two of coach Jay Gruden’s best playmakers — Chris Thompson and Jamison Crowder — have been sidelined for most of the season.

But more than injuries ail this franchise. The issue goes around the horn, from bad management to poor judgement to terrible decisions. That’s the Triple Crown of incompetence.

Snyder and team president Bruce Allen have been the constant during Washington’s slide into mockery over the last 10 years. Fans view them as Public Enemy Nos. 1 and 1A — take your pick as to which order. Straw polling suggests neither man would last another day in town if the matter came to a vote.

Such sentiment was rampant before Sunday’s debacle against the New York Giants. But now the resentment is bubbling over, marked by low TV ratings and a half-empty stadium that experienced a mass exodus at intermission.

In D.C., Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfeld is saying, “Forget about me. What about BRUCE?”

Maybe the two of them used the same private investigator to dig up dirt on their respective owners, who must be terrified that the pictures could go viral. But here’s a message to Snyder (and Ted Leonsis while we’re at it):

“We don’t care what they caught you doing, or with whom. We forgive you. Just go ahead and drop the hammer already. Enough is enough. Everything’s going to be OK.”

Maybe Allen can head to Oakland to be reunited with Jon Gruden, who surely was behind Monday’s firing of Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie. Allen and Jon Gruden can put their Tampa Bay gang back together. And maybe McKenzie — who drafted Khalil Mack, Amari Cooper and Derek Carr — can assume the position in Ashburn and fire Jon’s brother as payback.

Then again, McKenzie might decide that Washington is no place to resume a respectable NFL career. And unlike Colin Kaepernick, who reportedly is willing to take any job offer — even here — McKenzie figures to have multiple options.

In any case, considering that Snyder won’t remove himself from the equation, the pall over this franchise seems destined to remain as long as Allen does. Firing Jay Gruden, Greg Manusky, or anyone else won’t have the same cleansing, cathartic effect on what’s left of the fan base.

There was a thought/hope in some quarters that Allen might not survive 24 hours beyond the Giants game. A Monday Massacre after that Sunday Slaughter felt like the right thing to do. Why put off what clearly needs to happen? Nothing between now and Dec. 31 will change the obvious, the fact that fresh leadership at the top is overdue.

By making a clean break this week, all pressure would be removed for the final three games. It wouldn’t matter how QB Josh Johnson performs in his first NFL start since 2011. No one would care how many strangers are installed on the offensive line. The bend-break-and-fold defense would be of little significance.

As long as everyone was assured that business as usual was a thing of the past — and a new hand would be at the wheel moving forward — it wouldn’t matter how clownish the team looked at Jacksonville and Tennessee and against Philadelphia.

Oh well. Maybe one day soon.

⦁ Deron Snyder writes his award-winning column for The Washington Times on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Follow him on Twitter @DeronSnyder.


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