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Redskins’ Jay Gruden in fantasy land with season on the brink

Jay Gruden
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden needs to learn when to fold ’em. At 0-3 on the season following a brutal loss to the Chicago Bears on Monday night, any hope of contention in D.C. has been thrown out the window.

Despite this, Gruden continues to play the company line. Perhaps, he’s simply repeating what embattled owner Daniel Snyder believes. Whatever the reason, Gruden continues to be in fantasy land as his tenure in the nation’s capital likely nears a conclusion.

What we know: A total of six teams that started a season since 1980 have gone on to earn a playoff spot. When Gruden concludes “the season is not lost,” he’s doing it more for self-preservation than anything else.

The altered NFC landscape: Being 0-3 at this point in the 2019 season is not like what we’ve see in the past. Whether Gruden is trying to put on the happy face is irrelevant. He’s not comprehending reality.

  • The Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers all sit at 3-0 on the season. Based on history, the one that doesn’t win a division will earn a wild card spot.
  • That means there’s one spot open for a sixth playoff seed. The Detroit Lions are 2-0-1. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks are over .500.
  • Basic math tells us a story here. At 0-3, Washington would have to overcome a two-plus game deficit against at least one of these four teams.

Washington’s history: It’s not paved in gold. Rather, the Redskins have kept up well with the ineptitude of the surrounding landscape in the nation’s capital.

  • The Skins have won double-digit games just twice over the past 19 seasons. They’d have to go 10-3 in order to match that mark. It wouldn’t even guarantee a playoff spot.
  • For example, either Los Angeles or San Francisco would likely have to finish at 6-7 in order for Washington to get the top wild card spot.
  • From there, the Skins would then have to hope another team falls completely off the map.
  • The backdrop here being real. Since when has Washington proved that it can win 10 of 13 games in a given season?
  • We’re glad that question came up. It has not happened since they last won the Super Bowl back in 1991 — years before Bill Clinton became known as the Sin Doctor in D.C.

Signs of desperation: Gruden somehow thinks that he has a future in the nation’s capital with Snyder looking for another fall guy.

  • This is patently absurd. The one constant over the course of Washington’s struggles in recent decades has been owner Daniel Snyder.
  • The NFL’s version of Scrooge McDuck is not firing himself. Why pander to a man that’s going to throw you out of D.C. quicker than an ethics professor?
  • We all know how this story ends. It culminates in Snyder hiring another yes-man for the job while continuing to lead this team into further irrelevance.

All of this is magnified within an organization that’s existed under the umbrella of quarterback hell. If there’ one fix here, Gruden has yet to find it. At the very least, he’s not willing to commit to it.

That obviously comes in the form of rookie first-round pick Dwayne Haskins. Why start a young quarterback who will go through growing pains when you’re not going to be around to experience the fruits of your labor?

It’s the age-old question. Lame-duck head coaches making decisions based solely on their bottom lines rather than the health of the macro. This is D.C. defined, and Gruden will soon get his walking papers because of it.