There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Bruce Allen, Scot McCloughan, and Jay Gruden are all interconnected when discussing the current state of the Redskins roster. McCloughan is the talent evaluator and has majority control of the 53- man roster. Allen along with Eric Schaffer, deals with managing contracts and the cap. Lastly Gruden, is responsible for coaching up the players evaluated and signed by Scot and Bruce to reach their fullest potential. This is not minimizing Grudens input on who stays or goes on the team he coaches, but the point being made is that there is a clear chain of command established here and everyone relies on each other to do their own job more efficiently.
Two weeks ago, most have hear by now Mike Jones, Insider for the Washington Post got Redskins nation talking after revealing comments made last Thursday regarding the sense of urgency established in the Redskins front office. Followed by last week’s article by Dan Steinberg of “D.C. Sports Bog” where he brought to light Cooley’s on-air speculation of Redskins GM Scot McCloughan drinking, the drama this off-season continues on. All this speculation and drama led me to believe the following: In just 47 days since the abrupt end to the Redskins season, head coach Jay Gruden is the one guy that can provide stability to the organization in 2017.
McCloughan is in a position where he can flourish not only in the draft, but in free agency as well. As we know, McCloughan’s life line has always been the draft, so the model of the Denver Broncos comes into mind when the best way to attack this off-season. Where the weakest positions lie on the defensive side for Washington, they can get young upgrades in positions of need while still having the draft as the primary focus of the off-season. However, the most important thing that should be noted here, for Gruden to maximize his effectiveness he must have Cousins under contract for at least the 2017 season, this is something that will be played out as the days and weeks go by. With the assumption that Cousins is on the team and the defense has improved to where it’s at least consistently average, Gruden has an opportunity to create stability in what would have been a muddy off-season.
Gruden has improved each year as Washington’s head coach, contributing to the culture change in Washington by creating an environment of competition and accountability with his players. To answer the question of progression or regression, neither has happened at all as they are simply stagnant. However, when coming out of the depths of mediocrity, a 9-7 season followed by an 8-7-1 season where the Redskins lose four out of their last six games, another mediocre year or anything less than corroborates all perception of trouble and cessation. A playoff appearance in what will be a tough NFC East division will not only establish Gruden as a respectable head coach deserving of an extension, it establishes McCloughan as the Redskins long-term GM who can live up to his reputation as the elite talent evaluator.