Jay Gruden is feeding into the Redskins’ dysfunction

Washington Redskins

Washington has never been a model NFL franchise under Daniel Snyder, but Jay Gruden is making things much worse for the Redskins in 2019. 

When the Redskins made the decision to spend a first round pick on Dwayne Haskins in April’s draft it sent a clear message that Washington officials expected him to be the franchise’s quarterback of the future. Either Jay Gruden didn’t get that memo or he’s chosen to openly ignore it. The way he’s treated Haskins this season is turning the Redskins into one of the most dysfunctional franchises in the league.

Gruden’s decision to hand the starting job to Case Keenum to open the year was entirely defensible. Keenum is an established veteran who has a solid grasp of what Washington wants to do on offense. He was never going to suddenly transform into a Pro Bowl quarterback, but it was at least possible he could find a way to keep the team in the playoff race. Handing Haskins the job right out of the gate could have overwhelmed the talented rookie. Remember, he only enjoyed one year as a starter at Ohio State before making the decision to take his talents to the NFL.

The way Gruden has treated Haskins since the regular season began calls his qualifications to remain Washington’s head coach into serious question. Sources inside the Redskins organization claim that Haskins has gotten “zero reps” with the offense since the regular season began. That has obviously slowed down his learning curve and prevented him from putting serious pressure on Keenum to win the starting job.

The most likely explanation here is that Gruden doesn’t believe in Haskins’ ability to be the team’s franchise quarterback. It’s possible the organization made the decision to draft Haskins in direct opposition to Gruden’s wishes. If that’s the case, Gruden should have done the right thing and quit before the season ever began. Any head coach with zero input on who his team’s future franchise signal caller might be should know his days are numbered.

Another working theory is that Gruden is trying to use Haskins as a pawn to extend his time in Washington. The longer he stays on the sidelines the more the team’s fan base will start to call for him to be thrown into the fire. If Gruden times his insertion into the starting lineup perfectly and he is able to perform at a high level it might convince Snyder and company to give him a new contract. That’s a really difficult needle for Gruden to thread, but desperate times do call for desperate measures.

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No matter what Gruden’s motivation might be, team officials should be livid with his treatment of Haskins. He should be getting a healthy amount of reps in practice in an attempt to get him ready to play as soon as possible. Icing him out of practice doesn’t do anyone associated with the Redskins any good. Gruden’s handling of his rookie quarterback makes Washington look like the NFL’s version of a sad, low rent circus. Little does Gruden know that he’s the clown.

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