By Bryon Vann, guest contributor
As the old saying goes: a picture is worth a thousand words. As profoundly true as that statement may be, for the fans of Washington tackle football team (“WTF” as I affectionately call them) only one is necessary, overwhelmed.
Since Jay Gruden’s introduction as Washington’s latest football coach this off-season, all the signs were there to indicate how mismatched Gruden and Washington were for one another. Gruden came from the Cincinnati Bengals, where he held the position of Offensive Coordinator. During Gruden’s three-year tenure in Cincinnati, Gruden ran an offense, led by Andy Dalton, which made three unsuccessful playoff appearances. Even though the jury was still out on Dalton, many believed if Gruden could have that kind of success with Dalton imagine what he could do with Dan Snyder’s crowned-jewel Robert Griffin III.
Blessed (or cursed, depending on who you ask) with being married to a Bengals fan, I saw most of Gruden’s offense first-hand during his time in Cincinnati. While the numbers, especially in 2013, would indicate that Dalton had a breakout season in Gruden’s offense, many would argue that Gruden’s inability to effectively utilize the run game was their downfall. Season after season ended with a disproportionately pass-happy offense being bounced in the first round of the playoffs. I’ll be the first to admit, Dalton is a major issue. Be that as it may, the philosophy of Gruden’s offense was not built for Washington.
When Gruden was being interviewed by ESPN in his introductory press conference as Washington’s head coach, he offered the internet a visual gem that captured skeptical Washington fans and Twitter trolls alike. Little did we know, that all of Washington would have the same expression on its collective face. Gruden has brought a very similar pass-happy offense to a team that has achieved its success through the running game. Giving a high-volume pass attempt offense to the physically (and at times emotionally) fragile Robert Griffin III has proven to be a recipe for failure. The ineffective offensive game further exposed the embarrassing defense. The “Pass CMC” experiment (that is Cousins and McCoy) has further proven that Gruden’s offensive philosophy is not malleable. Resting firmly at the bottom of the NFC East (again), Gruden has a tremendous amount of growing to do in a short period of time before he joins the laundry list of Dan Snyder’s “Ex-list”.
As Washington prepares for St. Louis (where Washington is (+2) if you’re in to that sort of thing), Gruden continues to find himself cornered by Washington journalists and bloggers, while backtracking from quote after quote. When it is all said and done, that face Gruden gave us will prove to be the warning sign us Washington fans chose to ignore.
Editor’s note: Bryon Vann is a longtime/long-suffering Redskins fan residing in Cincinnati, OH. Lift him up in prayer y’all…
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