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The beginning of the end of the Gruden-Cousins era in D.C.

washington redskinsWe just witnessed the end of the Jay Gruden-Kirk Cousins era in Washington.

Yes, this is a hot take, and yes, as a hot take, it’s overblown, premature and the rest.

It’s just hard to imagine the Redskins, now 3-4, three and a half games back of Philadelphia in the NFC East, in third place, making the playoffs this season, and just as hard to imagine a Redskins team that doesn’t make the playoffs this season not getting blown up the Monday after the regular-season finale as a result.

Gruden, 24-30-1 in his three-and-a-half seasons in D.C., has one playoff appearance, in 2015, and no playoff wins.

Last year’s team stumbled down the stretch after a 6-3-1 start, losing four of its last six, and was eliminated from playoff contention in a dispiriting 19-10 loss to the New York Giants in Week 17, but owner Daniel Snyder made the call to bring Gruden back for one more run with Cousins.

The move made sense: Washington was third in the NFL in 2016 in total offense, with Cousins putting up video-game numbers (4,917 yards, 25 TDs/12 INTs, 68.2 percent completion rate).

         

The idea: keep the core of the offense together, make some improvements on defense, and this team might have a shot.

There was a clear signal sent, though, when Cousins wasn’t signed to a long-term deal, and was instead franchised for a second straight season: if the team didn’t make a quantum leap in 2017, it was going to be time to move on.

It’s not all Cousins’ fault that the Redskins are still just mediocre: he’s thrown for 1,900 yards and 13 TDs with four interceptions in seven games in 2017.

But the way Sunday’s 33-19 loss to Dallas ended is emblematic of the Cousins era in the nation’s capital. Down a score in the game’s final minute, Cousins was picksixed.

It was desperation time anyway – Washington didn’t have any timeouts left, and its best hope was likely getting into position for a Hail Mary on the final play.

Even so, it was fitting.

Gruden will be gone, Cousins will be taking his talents elsewhere, and Redskins fans, used to rebuilding, get to start from scratch yet again.

Column by Chris Graham

 
Discussion
  • Scott German

    I am far from a Redskins fan but in all fairness Washington has been decimated by injuries. They have lost three of their starting five offense of lineman. They started two offensive lineman today that weren’t even on the team last week.
    That said you’re dead right the owner who happens to be an idiot will get rid of Gruden and will not sign cousins