Tag Archives: Dan Snyder

Failing To Get Out Of Their Own Way

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The glory days of the Washington Redskins were from 1981-1992 when they won three Super Bowl Championships. But since Joe Gibbs ended his first run as the head coach of the Redskins in 1992, things have been sketchy at best for this franchise. Since 1992, Washington only has three division titles and two playoff victories. And each time that the Redskins appear to be putting something together, it quickly dissipates.

In 2002, the Redskins hired Steve Spurrier to be their new head coach after he had a successful run as the head football coach for the Florida Gators. Spurrier was supposed to revolutionize the Redskins offense. But in two years in D.C., Spurrier’s record was 12-20. Redskins owner Dan Snyder then reached out to Gibbs to return to the team in 2004, but in four years he was unable to return Washington to glory. In 2012, Washington traded up to the second overall pick in the National Football League Draft to select quarterback Robert Griffin III. As a rookie, RG3 would set the NFL on fire due to his athleticism, however after he suffered a knee injury towards the end of that season, he would never be the same player with the team.

Kirk Cousins

The same year that the Redskins drafted Griffin, they also used a fourth-round selection on quarterback Kirk Cousins. Coming out of college Griffin had the sizzle, but Cousins was the more polished pro passer. In Cousins’ first three years he would see sporadic action behind Griffin. However following Washington’s 4-12 campaign in 2014, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden made the decision to make Cousins his full-time starting quarterback.

In 2015, Cousins would become a popular man amongst the folks in D.C. as he set a single-season passing mark for the Redskins as he threw for 4,166 yards en route to helping Washington win the NFC East for the first time since 2012. This past season Cousins would take it a step further as he threw for 4,917 yards, but he was unable to get the ‘Skins back to the postseason.

Cousins was set to become a free agent until the Redskins slapped the dreaded franchise tag on him for the second consecutive year. Cousins appears to be the long-term answer at quarterback in Washington, however the organization has not done right by him.

After the franchise tag was attached to Cousins, he has asked the team to be traded due to the fact that the top two wide receivers for the Redskins from 2016 won’t be returning next season. Wide receiver Pierre Garcon who led Washington in receiving yards last season with 1,041 is joining the San Francisco 49ers, while wide receiver DeSean Jackson who was second on the team with 1,005 receiving yards will now be a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was doubtful that Washington was going to be able to sign both players, but there was optimism that they’d be able to retain at least one. However both will be suiting up for new teams which has not made Cousins happy as 2,046 receiving yards from last season is out the door. And now it will take a lot of smoothing over by the Redskins to make things right with Cousins.

Dan Snyder

But this shouldn’t be a shock to anyone that has followed the Redskins since Snyder became the owner in 1999. Under Snyder, Washington has employed eight different head coaches, while they’ve had 16 different starting quarterbacks. Snyder has tried to bring Washington a winner and each time he has failed.

Just because Cousins wants a trade doesn’t mean that the Redskins are going to oblige him, but they are rolling the dice more than ever. The Redskins are now going to have to overpay Cousins if they want to keep him happy as his frustrations could make for a media firestorm. Cousins has been able to navigate Gruden’s offense with success and the last thing that the head coach can afford to do is to start over at the quarterback position.

Now the Redskins are going to have figure out how to address their wide receiver situation between the draft and free agency as their top returning wide receiver from last season is Jamison Crowder with 847 yards. But much of what Crowder was able to do was based off of the ability of Jackson and Garcon, along the attention that they attracted.

After making the postseason in 2015, the Redskins missed out on consecutive playoff appearances by just one win last season. And instead of improving off of that, Washington is headed backwards. When Gibbs was in his heyday, he won three Super Bowl Titles with three different quarterbacks as he is the only head coach in National Football League history to do so. Gibbs was able to do this because he had a solid system in place, but since that time the Redskins have been an organization that is typically in disarray which is once again front and center.

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The Uncertainty Around RGIII

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Dan Snyder

With training camps in the National Football League set to open later this month, there are some serious issues that are surrounding the Washington Redskins. There is a growing voice that wants the Redskins to change their team nickname as it is deemed to be offensive to Native Americans. And as the United States Patent and Trademark Office cancelled the Redskins trademark over the name last year in a move to force Washington to change its nickname, team owner Daniel Snyder doesn’t appear willing to bend on his stance with the team’s nickname. And as the Redskins are dealing with this issue off of the football field, there is also uncertainty that is around their quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Robert Griffin III

Griffin was the second overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Redskins. And in order for the Redskins to obtain the second overall pick to get Griffin, they had to give the St. Louis Rams a slew of picks that included three first-round picks. In 2012, Griffin did go on to be named as the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year as he helped the Redskins win the NFC East. But towards the end of that season, Griffin injured his knee and he attempted to play through it. Griffin’s injury forced him to miss the entire 2013 training camp which showed up in his play during the regular season as he was never up to speed with what the Redskins needed from him. The Redskins would go 3-13 in 2013 which would end up costing head coach Mike Shanahan his job. Snyder would go on to replace Shanahan with Jay Gruden as Redskins head coach. And Gruden’s job in Washington is simple; get the most out of Griffin.

Jay Gruden

Unlike Shanahan, Gruden isn’t fully attached to the hip with Griffin like Shanahan was due to the fact that he didn’t draft the quarterback. Gruden did bench Griffin last year as he was struggling and the upcoming National Football League season could be the final one for either or both men in Washington if the young quarterback doesn’t improve his play.

Griffin’s career record as a starter with the Redskins is 14-21 with 40 touchdowns and 23 interceptions while he is completing nearly 64 percent of his passes. In Griffin’s rookie season he was allowed to simply be an athlete that was playing quarterback as he displayed the athleticism that allowed him to win the 2011 Heisman Trophy at Baylor University. But now that Griffin is being asked to be a quarterback and make the majority of his plays from within the pocket instead of an athlete who freelances, he is being dealt some harsh adversity of life in the NFL.

At Baylor and in Griffin’s rookie season with the Redskins, he primarily played in the spread offense which meant that the majority of his snaps were in shotgun. And when Griffin didn’t see his first option in the passing game, he would just take off and run. But in order for Griffin to have success with Gruden and overall in the NFL, he must become more of a pocket passer which requires him to be able to scan the entire field from within the pocket, and if the first option is unavailable for him, to go on and find another open receiver.

Aside from Griffin’s play, the Redskins need him to become more of a leader as some of his teammates in Washington feel that he is “coddled” by Snyder. And once you factor in that Snyder has an affinity for his “beloved” quarterback in Griffin that isn’t on the same page with his head coach in Gruden, the Redskins franchise is currently the equivalent of pulling the pin on the grenade and simply hoping that it doesn’t explode while holding it which is a good example of why Washington has only gone to the playoffs four times during Snyder’s 16 years as their owner. And if Snyder, Gruden, and Griffin don’t figure things out over the next few months, we’ll be on the verge of yet “another” change with the Redskins as far as the head coach and the quarterback.

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Tough Times For RG3

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Robert Griffin III

In 2012, Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III was the life of the party. Griffin burst onto the scene by throwing 20 touchdowns passes to just five interceptions as he helped the Redskins win their first division title since 1999. Griffin’s exploits earned him the 2012 National Football League Rookie of the Year Award as the ‘Skins appeared poised to finally have themselves a franchise quarterback. But towards the end of the 2012 regular season, Griffin suffered a knee injury that should have kept him sidelined. Then Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan had Griffin play in Washington’s playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks and it was evident that his knee could not support him. Griffin would undergo off-season knee surgery with a eye on being healthy in 2013. Griffin was named as the Redskins starting quarterback for 2013 while missing the entire preseason. Griffin’s lack of effectiveness was on display as the Redskins were 3-10 with him as their starting quarterback last season which led to Shanahan being fired.

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Jay Gruden

Former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden was hired to be the Redskins new head coach this season with his focus being on working with Griffin. In the first game of the regular season, Griffin was 29-of-37 passing for 267 yards as the Redskins fell to the Houston Texans 17-6. In the second game of the season, Griffin suffered a fractured ankle that sidelined him for six weeks. Griffin returned to the Redskins starting lineup in Week 9, but Washington would go on to lose their next three games. Amid speculation Gruden has now benched Griffin in favor of Colt McCoy and by the looks of things the relationship between Griffin and Gruden has been broken. Gruden is in his first year as Redskins head coach and it will be interesting to see that in a region strong on political power whether or not that it will be Griffin or Gruden that will win out on the favorite ballot of Redskins owner Dan Snyder.

After the Redskins Week 11 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Gruden wasn’t pleased with Griffin’s post game press conference as he felt that his young quarterback “should worry about himself” instead of his teammates, and because of that the coach’s patience appears to have all but evaporated.

In 2012, we saw RGIII the athlete captivate us. But now the ‘Skins need RGIII the quarterback if they are going to continue to employ him in D.C. Since Griffin’s rookie season, teams around the NFL have gained game film on how to defend him which is making life for him a bit tougher as he has yet to adjust. As a rookie if Griffin didn’t see his first passing option open, he would simply take off and make something happen with his legs. Under Shanahan, the Redskins also ran a good portion of the read-option offense which Griffin was comfortable with from his college days at Baylor. But to be a successful quarterback in the NFL, signal callers must have the ability to dissect defenses in order to find other throwing options which is something that Griffin is currently lacking. Griffin is playing tentative in the pocket as opposed to just letting things come natural which is the sign of a quarterback that is thinking too much instead of reacting.

Gruden took the Redskins head coaching job knowing that Griffin was going to be a project. But unlike Shanahan, Gruden isn’t attached at the hip with Griffin and he will look to use his get out of jail free card with him which falls at the feet of Snyder.

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Dan Snyder

Since Snyder became the Redskins owner, the team has had more changes at the quarterback position than that of a bus schedule. Griffin was supposed to be the guy that changed all of that, but he appears to have fallen into the Bermuda Triangle there just like everyone else before him. Griffin’s relationship with Snyder has previously drawn the ire of some of his Redskins teammates as they feel that the quarterback has been coddled by the owner and treated differently. However if Gruden is able to convince Snyder along with Redskins general manager Bruce Allen that Griffin isn’t the answer in Washington, then the 24-year old quarterback could be bidding farewell to the Beltway. 2015 will be the last year on Griffin’s rookie contract and the Redskins will soon need to decide if they are ready to ship him out of FedEx Field. The only way that I could see the Redskins releasing Griffin is if they are unable to facilitate a trade. Griffin is a young quarterback with potential and I am sure that there will be a team in the National Football League willing to give him a shot if the Redskins are ready to move on from him.

Regardless of where Griffin plays next season he must learn to become a better student of the game while also being a better leader as in three years he hasn’t fully been able to win over the Redskins locker room. There is a reason why there are not that many people that can refer to themselves as a starting NFL quarterback as it is one of the toughest positions to master in all of sports. It also has not helped Griffin that the Redskins have been one of the most dysfunctional franchises in sports under Snyder’s watch as there has been a revolving door at head coach and general manager along with at quarterback. Athletes like Griffin don’t come around that often, but a fresh start with a new NFL team after the humongous slice of humble pie that Gruden is serving up for him right now could be just what he and his ego need in order to get back on track.

Sources: Sportrac.com, Pro-football-reference.com

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Same Ol’ Redskins

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The Washington Redskins have been a National Football League franchise since 1932 and their glory days are in the rear view mirror. Since Joe Gibbs retired for the second time as Redskins head coach in 2007, Washington has only had one winning season which was in 2012 when they won the NFC East for the first time since 1999. Jay Gruden is in his first season as the Redskins head coach and he is the eighth head coach in Washington since Dan Snyder purchased the team in 1999. Gruden was hired to maximize the ability of Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III who is the face of the franchise. But that will not be the case in 2014 as Griffin will miss the majority of the 2014 NFL season as he is recovering from a dislocated ankle that he suffered during the Redskins 41-10 victory in Week 2 over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Regardless of Griffin’s situation, the Redskins are a team that is searching for answers in the early part of this season.

After being throttled 45-14 this past Thursday night at the hands of the New York Giants, the ‘Skins are 1-3 and they are looking up in the NFC East. Aside from being 1-3, Washington is also 0-2 within the division.

With Griffin in the lineup the Redskins offense was non-existent in their 17-6, Week 1 loss to the Houston Texans. Griffin was of course injured during the Redskins 41-10 dismantling of the Jaguars in Week 2. But in their last two games, the Redskins have allowed a combined 82 points to the Philadelphia Eagles and Giants. Now it is back to the drawing board for Gruden and his crew as Washington’s Week 5 opponent is none other than the Seattle Seahawks who are the defending Super Bowl Champions which will be followed by a road game against the Arizona┬áCardinals in Week 6. This season could be getting away from the Redskins before it really starts.

Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins was called upon in relief of Griffin against the Jaguars and in that game he was 22-of-33 passing for 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns with no interceptions. Last Sunday in Philadelphia, Cousins picked apart the Eagles defense to the tune of 427 yards and three touchdowns. But this past Thursday night versus the Giants, Cousins wasn’t the same quarterback as he was picked off four times. Cousins appeared to be rattled as he was forcing the football. The Giants converted six Washington turnovers into 24 points. But the Redskins defense didn’t fare that much better against the Giants as New York was 11-of-16 on third down.

In their past two games Washington’s defense was torched by Eagles quarterback Nick Foles and Giants quarterback Eli Manning respectively. Both Foles and Manning passed for at least 300 yards while the Redskins defense only combined to force one interception and one sack in those two games. The Redskins defense does have 11 sacks on the season, but that number is skewed due to the fact that 10 of those sacks were against the Jaguars.

Dan Snyder

In his time as the owner of the Redskins, Snyder has hired Super Bowl winning head coaches along with relative unknowns to lead his team. Over the years Snyder has also attempted to spend heavily on free agents and when that didn’t work he tried to build his team through the draft. With all of this the results simply have not been there and the blame has to fall squarely at the feet of Snyder. Since the Redskins last Super Bowl Championship, every other team in the NFC East has made at least one appearance in the NFL’s Title Game. Aside from their struggles on the field, the Redskins also have to deal with the controversy surrounding their team name as it has been deemed to be offensive by some Native American groups. The call for the Redskins to change their team nickname continues to grow, but Snyder is not willing to budge; for now.

More than ever the Redskins need to find an identity. This is something that Washington has not had since Gibbs retired for the first time in 1992. In Gibbs’ first run with the Redskins, they only had one losing season and they won three Super Bowl Championships with three different starting quarterbacks. Gibbs did it because he had a system that worked. But under Snyder whoever the Redskins bring in to lead this team seems to fail and that appears to be the case for Gruden in 2014 at least as Washington is on a path for their fifth season with at least 10 losses in the past six campaigns. The football fans in the Nation’s Capitol should buckle up for a very long season as the Redskins appear to be second-class citizens to the Eagles, Giants, and Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East.

Source: Pro-football-reference.com

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