By most measures, the Washington Redskins are not a good football team ( ). They’re coming off their second straight seven-win season. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2015. They haven’t won 10 games since 2012. Their quarterback is facing And they aren’t bad enough to be picking high enough in the draft to guarantee themselves a shot at one of the best quarterbacks in the draft.
Despite all of this, Redskins coach Jay Gruden is apparently not willing to embrace the concept of a rebuild. He wants to win right now, even if the Redskins are forced to start a rookie quarterback immediately.
“There is no developmental process here,” Gruden said, per ESPN. “This is not Triple-A baseball; we’re [not] trying to develop a pitcher here. We’re trying to win a game right now. If we draft a quarterback in the first, second, third or seventh rounds and he’s going to start Day 1, we expect great things from him.
“Players will expect great things from him. Ryan Kerrigan is not expecting us to come out and ‘let’s build for the future.’ We’ve got to win now. Josh Norman, same way. Landon Collins did not come here to be good in 2034. They came here to be good and compete to win a Super Bowl this year.”
It’s very easy to understand why Gruden, a coach who has seemingly been on the hot seat for an eternity, wants to win right now. If he suffers another losing season, he might not return to Washington a year from now — at least not as the coach of Washington’s football team. Since Gruden became the coach of the Redskins back in 2014, he’s gone 35-44-1 with one playoff appearance that came after a nine-win season.
Gruden’s not the only one to blame for the Redskins’ lack of success. Much of the blame can be attributed to the front office and higher ups in the organization.
While the Redskins’ decision to refuse to give Kirk Cousins a pricey long-term contract might not have actually been a bad one, and immediately give him an extension after passing on a Cousins deal wasn’t a good one. No one in the world could’ve predicted Smith’s injury — that’s not Smith’s or the Redskins’ fault — but as a general rule, letting a 29-year-old, good-not-great quarterback leave in free agency and then replacing him with a 33-year-old good-not-great quarterback who you then promptly hand a four-year, $94 million deal is not good football business — especially after factoring in the cost of the trade to land Smith. The Redskins’ organizational issues extend beyond the way they’ve approached the quarterback position, but it’s a recent example that serves its purpose.
Besides, the quarterback position — or rather, the Redskins’ problem at the position — is what Gruden needs to solve if he’s going to win right now and buy more time in Washington. With Smith likely out for the 2019 season, the Redskins’ present options are either: longtime backup Colt McCoy or It’s unlikely either of those two quarterbacks will lead Gruden to safety.
That means the Redskins can either draft a quarterback or try to trade for one — like, say, Josh Rosen, who is on the trade market as the Cardinals consider using the top-overall pick on Kyler Murray. The Rosen idea isn’t a bad one. After Rosen’s dreadful rookie season, he’s not likely to cost a first-round pick. In that sense, he represents tremendous value. A year ago, he was the 10th-overall pick. If he were coming out of college this year, he’d likely be valued as the best quarterback in the draft class. His stock has only fallen because he was stuck in an awful situation during his rookie season, which resulted in everyone getting fired.
The draft is a more uncertain road. The Redskins sit at No. 15 in the draft order. If they remain at No. 15, they might not be able to take a top quarterback as Murray, Dwayne Haskins, and Drew Lock might be all off the board before they’re on the clock. The Redskins could try to engineer a trade up the draft board to get ahead of the cluster of quarterback-needy teams positioned ahead of them (Denver at No. 10, Cincinnati at No. 11, and Miami at No. 13).
If the Redskins do draft a rookie to become their starter, it doesn’t sound like they’ll undertake a patient approach. That might make Washington one of the least desirable destinations for the incoming rookie quarterbacks. They’d be joining a team that expects to win right now and if they don’t win right now, they’ll probably be learning a new offense for a new coach one year from now.