- - Tuesday, October 9, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

After his team’s performance Monday night against the New Orleans Saints — a 43-19 embarrassment — it might be time to review Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden’s greatest hits:

On his team’s 26-15 loss to Carolina on “Monday Night Football” in December 2016: “First of all, we were outcoached today … It’s my responsibility to get these guys ready to play, and we didn’t execute like I would’ve liked to have seen. That falls on my shoulders.”

A few weeks later, following his team’s choke in a season-ending 19-10 loss to the New York Giants that could have put the Redskins in the playoffs: “We’re very disappointed at the outcome. We feel like we have personnel good enough to win the game. I take responsibility for us having our season over. It’s on my shoulders. We’ve got to do a better job as coaches.

“I have a lot of room for improvement, as do the majority of the people in this building, so as long as we all realize that and understand that and recognize that, there is room and we can do it.”

Fast forward to December 2017, following a 30-13 loss to the Chargers: “We have not been competitive, and we weren’t ready to play today, and that’s on me, the staff. We’ve got to do a better job to get these guys ready.”

A few weeks later, following another shameful 18-10 loss to a woeful two-win Giants team that could have given Washington an 8-8 record: “We just didn’t make any plays offensively. We just could never score enough to catch up offensively.”

Gruden followed that up a few days later in his season-ending press conference with this: “The nature of this business is (that) you’ve got to perform. You’ve got to have success or you’re going to have a short-lived tenure.”

After the 21-9 loss to the Indianapolis Colts last month: “We had no chemistry at all today, and it’s myself as a play caller. Really, it’s my fault.”

Following the crushing loss Monday night to the Saints, Gruden went all-in on self-flagellation: “Overall our whole team played poorly and that’s a reflection on myself. Everyone in that locker room will hopefully say they need to play better and I absolutely understand the coaches on this staff need to coach better.

“A total team debauchery and I’m the one in charge of it and take responsibility for it.”

Let me pose a question — do you think that Gruden is trying to tell us something?

Have we finally reached the stage where those who worship at the Gruden altar finally consider the possibility that he may be right? Or is there far more blame to spread around?

Despite the kind of loss Monday night — lifeless, confusing — against New Orleans that often leads to people losing their jobs, these Redskins, with a 2-2 record, are still in first place in what is stacking up as a weak NFC East. And, even if you expect the expected — a loss to Carolina Sunday coming to the ghost town known as FedEx Field — Gruden’s sad sack act could still find his team around the 7- to 9-win territory where they have resided the three previous years, given the caliber of opponents that follow.

Is not being 4-12 anymore, but never being 12-4, good enough?

In a season where points are scored in the NFL easier than Redskins game tickets, Gruden’s offense appears to be very limited. In fact, the offense may rest on the shoulders of a 33-year-old banged up future Hall of Fame running back who wasn’t even on the roster until the third week of August.

Jordan Reed and Chris Thompson may be the crown jewels of the offense, but it appears quarterback Alex Smith may not be capable of using those jewels effectively and consistently unless he has the benefit of a reliable running game to ease the pressure.

Right now, all the Redskins have that fits that description is Adrian Peterson, who may be sidelined with a shoulder injury.

That’s what we call some weak offensive roster construction.

When does Jay Gruden stop telling everyone it’s all his fault and start pointing the finger in the only direction that counts — above him, at the Prince of Darkness, general manager Bruce Allen, and his sidekick, owner Daniel Snyder — where the blame and responsibility always lie with this franchise?

You can hear Thom Loverro with on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings and also on the Kevin Sheehan Show podcast every Tuesday and Thursday.


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