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    • By JimmiJo in ES Coverage
         1
      Cowboys versus Redskins - now that just sounds correct.
       
      Hello friends, JimmiJo here along with THE Spaceman Spiff. Space is already on the sidelines, yucking it up with the important people. Me? I'm thinking how grateful I am for the 3-car accident on the beltway...
       
      If you cannot get up for this game, there isn't enough viagra made on earth for you. After all; the Redskins are hosting their eternal rival, the Cowboys. Winner will be sitting on top of the division, with a truckload of bragging rights.
       
      What's not to like?
       
      Well, for starters, everybody and their mom is inactive. Chris Thompson Jamison Crowder, Paul Richardson, Quinton Dunbar; all inactive. What a time to have have your top two receivers out. The chatter here in the press box is Washington should do what they can to bring in receivers - to include making a trade with the Raiders for Amari Cooper.
       
      Then there's the question of which Redskins show up? They could come out and light Dallas up. Or, post an anemic effort to suffer another embarrassing lost. Neither would surprise me.
       
      One this is for sure, the distribution in fans is something like 55-45 Redskins. Already an embarrassment. Until you consider this team has done much to earn the lack of support.
       
      Still, you have offer the finger in the middle to those fans who sold their tickets to Dallas fans. What were you thinking?
       
      Back shortly...
       
      Inactives
       
      The Redskins declared the following players as inactive:
      o   No. 10 WR Paul Richardson Jr.
      o   No. 23 CB Quinton Dunbar
      o   No. 25 RB Chris Thompson
      o   No. 30 S Troy Apke
      o   No. 55 C Casey Dunn
      o   No. 74 T Geron Christian Sr.
      o   No. 80 WR Jamison Crowder
       
      The team held a touching tribute to my friend Rich Tandler, who passed this week.
       
      Follow along in-game on Twitter @Skinscast
       
      Half
       
      Did you hear the one about the team that got chance after chance but couldn't score more than a touchdown?
      That's right; they are tied at 7 at the half and completely anemic in the second half.
       
      "Against the run of play" is a term you hear in soccer all the time. It is applicable here. It means the better team is either tied or trailing.
       
      Whoever said football was fair?
       
      Washington needs to find a way to get hot in the second half. The Dallas Cowboys are infinitely beatable today.
       
      JimmiJo
       
      How do you like them apples?
      The Washington Redskins sent them home happy today. Along the way my ulcer started bleeding, I threw up twice, and peed the chair I was sitting in.
      Up by 10 at the two-minute warning, I did not expect to be hoping for a missed field goal to avoid overtime. But there I was, crossing fingers and toes and noticibly relieved when the ball bounced off the upright to seal the win.
      A lot of things had to go right for the Dallas Cowboys to even have a shot at the end. A lot more things went right for Washington.
      The Redskins held Ezekiel Elliot to just 33-yards rushing. They forced two fumbles by Dak Prescott, one of which went for a Redskins' touchdown, and sacked him a total of four times. 
      Ryan Kerrigan had his best day of the season, sacking Prescott twice, one of which caused the fumble for the score. Preston Smith scored the touchdown off of the fumble. Jonathan Allen and and Ryan Anderson each logged a sack. DJ Swearinger hit Prescott square on the ball to cause the other fumble by Prescott.
      And then there was the offense.
      Adrian Peterson defies time and physics in what he can still do on the football field. His ability to change directions instantly, the speed he still posesses, and his ability to play through multiple injuries is astonishing. He ran for 99-yards on 24-carries with a 4.1 yard per carry average. 
      Kapri Bibbs, the other back; added just 13-yards rushing. But as a receiver he caught 4 passes for 43-yards and the first touchdown of the game.
      Josh Doctson reeled in 3-receptions for 43-yards. Jordan Reed added 43-yards on his two catches. Maurice Harris logged 2 for 22-yards.
      Alex Smith had a adequate outting. He went 14/25 for 178 yards and a touchdown for a quarterback rating of 98.1. He was sacked once.
      His obvious miss of Jeremy Sprinkle running free in the end zone is almost cause for termination. Connect on that throw and the game is much more comfortable at the end. 
      The real stars of this show were the fat guys in the trenches. The offensive line that opened highway lane-wide holes for Peterson to run through, and the defensive line that wreaked such havok all game. 
       
      But we have to thank Dallas as well for things like an illegal snap to back the field goal unit up at the end. The holding call that negated the big gain one play before the sack/fumble/score was huge. They seemed to find ways to beat themselves.
       
      Despite the above, Dallas was right there until last miss that struck the goalpost. The win was entirely too close for comfort.
       
      But now that's it's over, I sure am enjoying the win.
       
      The Redskins sit alone at the top of the division after 6-weeks. They travel to New York next week where they can continue to help themselves with a win.
       
      But just because New York currently resides in the toilet does not mean they intend to roll-over and play dead. Washington will have their hands full if they don't get more production out of the offense.
       
      That's next week though. For now, I am intent on  enjoying an excellent victory. Against the Dallas Cowboys.
       
      What's not to like?
       
      Talk soon!
Voice_of_Reason

Evaluating Jay Gruden in 2018

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Off of the Jay Gruden interview today with Chris Cooley on The Team 980, I thought we could have a conversation about the Head Coach as it relate to COACHING, and not as it relates to other aspects of the organization.  Essentially, evaluate Jay Gruden as a Head Coach.  Not as a scout, not as a GM, just simply as a HC.

 

Some might find this extremely surprising, because my well-earned reputation is that I’m one of Jay’s harshest critics, but I thoroughly enjoyed the interview with Jay this morning.  He said some things I really liked hearing.

 

So, the purpose of this thread is NOT to re-litigate the arguments of the past.  Those arguments have been had.  And no new information is available on Jay Gruden the coach, because the ‘Skins have not played a game since December. Please do not derail the thread with old arguments.  

 

The purpose of this thread is forward looking.  It asks 1 question:

 

How are you going to evaluate the Head Coach in 2018? 

 

Put another way, at the end of the season, what has Gruden had to have accomplished in order to be retained for 2019?  

 

Here are my answers:

1.       The opener and everything that goes into it.  So far, Jay is 0-4 in openers, and they haven’t really been pretty.  He’s faced questions about how much he plays his starters in the pre-season, and why the team doesn’t seem to be ready week 1, but is typically ready weeks 2 and 3.

Since 2015, the ‘Skins are 2-1 in weeks 2 and 3.  This has led to questions about why Week 1 is such a problem. There are some who have said that it was Kirk who started slowly.  Ok, now we get to see. 

I’m going to look to be seeing if there are any changes in pre-season and training camp.  We have a new QB, a second year starting WR, a new starting WR, and most likely a new RB and starting LG.  I don’t want to hear that it’s going to take until week 4 or 5 for them to all gel.  So more than ever, I’m going to be looking to see how Gruden handles the pre-season, and if the team is ready to play, and put up between 24-30 points in the opener, regardless of who they are playing.

 

The trend has to change.  Regardless of result, I'm looking for improvement. Preferably a win, though. (I'm also guessing they open on the road because they've opened at home for ages...)

 

2.       Improved run game.  They’ve made a HUGE emphasis about getting new Running backs, and improving the run game.  Are they actually able to accomplish that?  Or are they going to average <2 yards on first down carries?  I believe (and have believed) that this has been a combination of personnel and scheme, so I’m looking for improvement.

 

3.       End of half/game situations.  These situations have been poor for the Redskins for the last 4 years.  I’m looking to see the 2 minute offense step up, and the 2 minute defense get better and not just allow teams to walk right down the field and score.   

 

4.       Don’t blown leads.  Cooley did the breakdown earlier this year, but the amount of times the ‘Skins blow a 10 point plus lead to let the opponent tie or take the lead is astounding.  They still win some of these games.  However, when it happens as regularly as it does, it’s a trend, and that’s coaching.  If we get up by 10 or 14 points, I want to see the ‘Skins maintain that lead. Right now I expect that the other team is going to go right down the field and score to pull the game back to one possession.  NOTE: Some leeway will be given to teams like Green Bay and New Orleans, who can come back on anybody because Rodgers and Brees are HOF QBs who do it to everybody.  Though blowing the 13 point lead to the Saints last year was really, really bad. 

 

5.       This is somewhat related to #4, but when they get a lead, I want to see them put opponents away so we’re not white-knuckling and hoping we can get a stop.  Win a few games by 10+ points.  They really COULD have done this the last couple of years, but they just haven’t been able to hold leads very well.  Blow out a few teams.

 

6.       No duds.  In each of the last 3 years, at the end of the year, the team has had a game to stay in or advance their playoff position and has laid a complete egg.  2015 it was the Monday Night game against a pretty bad Dallas team.  2016 it was Arizona, Carolina, and New York Giants.  2017, with their season on life support, they got BLOWN OUT in Dallas by an average Cowboys team.  That has to stop.  Again, some say that’s been on the QB in the past, and if it stops happening, then happy to blame Kirk for anything, including the Kennedy assassination.  

 

7.      Record.  At the end of the day, this is a bottom line business, and the team has to win.  Context is everything, but this is year 5 of Jay/Allen, and they need to win. Context is everything, so I’ll be looking hard at the things above as well as the record…
 

I tried very hard in this thread to be unbiased and keep everything to things I believe are mostly in the control of the coach, so not putting Jay on the hook for things he doesn't have control over. 

 

Let me know how you are going to evaluate Jay over the coming months...  

 

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I personally think that Jay is the best head coach this teams had since Gibbs and anyone thinking he should be on a hot seats flat out wrong. He is the first head coach since Gibbs to have back to back winning seasons. He has led the offense to be better then the majority of the league in each of his seasons no matter who he has playing. 

 

I don’t place the blame of the failures of the drafts (2016) or keeping the draft picks (2014 class) on him because imo his hands are tied to the whims of Bruce Allen. Neither do I put any of the blame on him for the failure of the defenses over his tenure because that to me sits at the feet of Allen as well. If all Bruce gives the team is garbage players then with garbage in you will get garbage out.

 

For me it’s simple. They are entering another season full of changes in personnel. Unless there is a total collapse on offense where they cannot move the ball then I will not want him to be fired no matter the record is. He should be given a five year extension immediately because unlike many other head coaches he has been able to win here under Bruce and Dan. 

 

We need to remember that Dan is horrible at recruiting coaches (Jim Zorn) and we don’t want to see that cluster happen again. If the 2018 season goes wrong I want to see Bruce fired. Bruce has done so much harm to this organization that it’s already justified he be fired. Jay has not. In fact Profootball Focus consistently ranks Jay as a top 10 coach in this league. His hands have been tied much of the time he’s been here due to the failures of the team president not because of his failures. 

 

Last season Jay had to start 8 different RBs because they kept getting hurt. The offense still moved the ball. Jay took Kirk Cousins a fourth round QB draft pick and do what no one has ever done before and led him to become a winner. Jay lost not one but two 1000 yard receivers and the offense still cranked out a 4000 yard passer. Jay has breathed a breath of fresh air into this offense not seen in decades no matter what hand he’s been dealt

 

Jay Gruden is a good head coach who will no doubt go on to have more head coaching seasons if Dan makes him a scape goat this year. Jay should not in any sort of way be on the hot seat this year in my opinion. No head coach will succeed with Bruce here. As long as the offense continues to move the ball and score points then he is safe to me. This past December was the first time since 2014 that the team was playing meaningless games that month. No one should be wanting to go back to that

 

 

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I think an understated thing about Jay is his ability to deal with the circus that is the Redskins.  I think a lot of coaches would struggle with the crap pile this org continually seems to create.  He is very cool under pressure, and seems to be able to let things out of his control roll off his back.  Not saying he doesn't get pissed, just he is focused on football things, and seems very good at distancing himself from the circus.  Which again makes him the right coach for us right now at least.

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I'm a big Jay advocate and think one thing this team needs to zip up in 2018 is winning at home.  We have a 78-80-1 at home 4 worst in the league.

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Jay last three seasons record at home is15-9. Better then Mike Shanahan record of 9-15 record for his last three seasons here. Better then Gibbs last three seasons 14-10 here by a game. 

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I presently look at Jay Gruden as the Washington Redskins version of Bruce Boudreau. Boudreau took an awful Caps time and lifted them to pretty good status. Then, he hit his ceiling. The team needed to decide if they were satisfied with okay or if they would roll the dice to try to risk greatness. The Caps decided to roll the dice, but really haven't done much better. Likewise, I think Jay Gruden has managed to wright a sinking ship and making it sail worthy. In none of his expeditions has he made a profit. 8-7-1 may technically be above .500, but let's be real. It's a like getting a sixteenth place ribbon at your kids' swim meet. It means nothing.

 

The question with Jay is can he ever do better than okay? Can he clean up the blunders? Can he coach an opening game or a game off a buy without the team playing clueless and flat? Can he reduce the dumb penalties? Can he run the damn ball or at least call a diversified running attack? But, ultimately the big question is... Can he be a winner and how do Redskins' fans define that? 

 

Is 9-7 with a one and done considered a winner? Is 8-7-1? Is 7-9 with more injuries than you have players on a starting roster?

 

For me, I want to see at minimum a playoff win. That said, I see the team as constituted and coached having a range of 5-9 wins. I'd love to be surprised and have one of those everything breaks our way seasons where we grab 10. I'd hate it if we get another stinker where we go 5 or below. Regardless, I don't see Jay meeting my playoff win criteria this year. I think integrating a new QB, a new running back, is tough and we're leaning on a D that before the injuries surprised, but never was great. 

 

So, what would make me happy in 2018? What would make me grade out Jay Gruden as a keeper? I think we need a strong start and a strong end. Under the Kirk years, we struggled with both. If Gruden can prove that wasn't him and he has the wherewithal to rocket out of the gates and not choke during the stretch run of games, I'll be okay with him.

 

Also, I need him to be much closer to nine wins than five.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, bobandweave said:

I personally think that Jay is the best head coach this teams had since Gibbs and anyone thinking he should be on a hot seats flat out wrong. He is the first head coach since Gibbs to have back to back winning seasons. He has led the offense to be better then the majority of the league in each of his seasons no matter who he has playing. 

 

<MOD EDIT>

 

Jay Gruden is a good head coach who will no doubt go on to have more head coaching seasons if Dan makes him a scape goat this year. Jay should not in any sort of way be on the hot seat this year in my opinion. No head coach will succeed with Bruce here. As long as the offense continues to move the ball and score points then he is safe to me. This past December was the first time since 2014 that the team was playing meaningless games that month. No one should be wanting to go back to that

 

 

I was going to post on this topic, but you basically said what I was going to say. Great post imo.

Edited by thesubmittedone
Rule 11, don’t quote large chunks of text
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1.  Situational coaching.  He's got to get better.  I'd like to see growth here, and not confounding decisions in critical game situations.  If the game's within reach in the 4th, we need to see the offense moving with urgency.  You now have a veteran QB that has seen it all...and has commanded offenses.  No excuses!  

 

2.  Player development.  Since he's the leader of the ship, I'd like to think we'll continue to see guys like Doctson, Allen, Anderson, P. Smith etc. improve due to good coaching from his staff. 

 

3.  Playcalling.  Would like to see more personnel groupings that don't tip off the play (C. Thompson in = pass).  Would also like to see better scheming when it comes to running the football.  Having Smith behind center should open up our run game some because he's a mobile QB and the prospect of RPO.  I'm not a fan of Gruden being the playcaller because I believe it detracts from #1, but if he's going to do it, he's going to held accountable for it.  

 

4.  Exploitation of matchups.  I hated to see D. Jackson not get targeted for entire halves of games...or abandoning the run against poor rush defenses.  Gotta get better here...  

 

5.  Preseason/early season preparation.  We don't have weeks to get up to speed.  Preseason should be used as a way to prep for the regular season, in addition to giving young guys looks.  We haven't done anything to warrant resting our starters more than the league average.  Barring injury, I'd like to see our guys out there, even if they're running vanilla plays.  

 

6.  Preparation in general.  I don't want to hear him take responsibility for the team not being prepared to play (Chargers game).  It shouldn't happen especially in the crucial stretch of the season where everyone is jockeying for playoff position.  

 

I honestly want to give the guy a chance with a competent FO shaping the roster before I'm ready to give up on him.  The players appear to want to perform for him.  I've never felt like he outcoached or squandered the talent of the roster  At this point, an 'average job' deserves the opportunity for him to stay until he can't get us to where we need, assuming everything else gets fixed.   Sadly, after five years, we still may not be able to truly assess if he's a good coach or not.  

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I think the OP has a great list. I also think some of it just won't happen. That's not an indictment but that's a very long wish list when the coach hasn't shown that many of those things are his strong suit. 

 

I think the game situation things NEED to change. That's playing with the lead, being ready for the opener, and end-of-half situations. Teams, especially relatively average ones, are going to have duds here and there. Gruden as an offensive coach has also NEVER really had a great running game so I'm not sure we'll see that change unless Alex Smith is a big part of it. 

 

I'm not basing this on much more than the guy "looking the part" but I agree with a previous poster that Gruden is our most complete and solid head coach since Gibbs of the 1980s. I hope he earns more time here because I believe he's going to win in this league and I'm sick of being the team that gives players and coaches their experience right before they succeed. 

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37 minutes ago, TD_washingtonredskins said:

 

I think the OP has a great list. I also think some of it just won't happen. That's not an indictment but that's a very long wish list when the coach hasn't shown that many of those things are his strong suit.

 

What specifically do you think won’t happen?  I actually honestly think any of it COULD happen.  Not that it will, but could... 

 

And I think my list is mostly in Jay’s control.  So just curious what you think won’t happen...

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I agree with everyone saying that Jay really shouldn’t be on the hot seat.  I also fully agree that you have to credit the guy for how he’s handled the circus in Ashburn.  He’s the perfect personality for this setup.

 

What I want to see from him:

 

A. Great emphasis on running the football.  It has to be better, both scheme and talent.  It has to be a priority.  Ultimately he just has to figure that out some way some how.

 

B. A more hardline approach to training camp and the preseason.  He doesn’t need to be Marty, but I think it has to be more than what it’s been in years past.

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15 minutes ago, BatteredFanSyndrome said:

 

A. Great emphasis on running the football.  It has to be better, both scheme and talent.  It has to be a priority.  Ultimately he just has to figure that out some way some how.

 

I agree, I have had time this week to listen to Bmitch, and he says basically the same thing.  He says if scheme doesnt change they could have Barley and it wont matter. His philosophy on the running game has to change or the results likely wont. So I would agree, that has to be something he is judged on.

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1 hour ago, dcdiscokid said:

I agree, I have had time this week to listen to Bmitch, and he says basically the same thing.  He says if scheme doesnt change they could have Barley and it wont matter. His philosophy on the running game has to change or the results likely wont. So I would agree, that has to be something he is judged on.

After reading this, I began to wonder what RB talent has Wash had that floundered here but thrived elsewhere?? I couldn't think of any, but the only real comparison I could come up with was Alfred Morris with Gruden vs Almo running behind that vaunted Cowboy line and associated running game. Almo had his lowest career YPC the first year after he left Gruden, even though his role in Dallas was to finish off against an already exhausted D (you know, Zeke is the bell cow there.) Our Running game suffers from lack of talent, not scheme IMO. Almo's statline says the same.

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My opinion:

1: Discipline:  Jay teams have so many inopportune penalties, turnovers, and just bone headed plays, it’s maddening.

 

2: Opening game: Probably a product of my first gripe above and I don’t know it’s because he runs a lax camp or what it is but under Jay we come out of the gates looking like everybody on the team drank a bottle of tequila the night before.  Good coaches don’t let that happen (5 years in a row)

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Jay definitely has to improve the record against the division opponents 

No more getting swept by Dallas or loosing the final game of the season against the NY Giants 

If the division record improves that also greatly affects the chances of getting a wild card 

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https://www.headcoachranking.com/

 

Great website that other web sites use to track how a head coach is doing. Has him ranked 9th overall in the league.

 

We are in good hands as long as he isn’t scapegoated which I think is a real possibility with Bruce and Dan which is what I worry about. Listening to him state that his involvement in picking the new QB involved basically doing what everyone else in the building did - answer a question saying if he liked Alex - then Bruce made the trade doesn’t make me feel as if he should be judged by the players on the team

 

I do think that that he has some areas to work on but honestly no one is perfect and you can say that about anyone. 

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, Voice_of_Reason said:

What specifically do you think won’t happen?  I actually honestly think any of it COULD happen.  Not that it will, but could... 

 

And I think my list is mostly in Jay’s control.  So just curious what you think won’t happen...

 

Specifically and most confidently I can say that I truly doubt we'll ever establish a strong running game under Gruden. I don't necessarily care either if the offense works like it has since he arrived. 

 

Edit: I'd like to add that I think he really needs to improve in the game management situations. Timeouts, clock, etc. That's completely in his control and, to me, the most important thing he lacks as a HEAD coach. 

Edited by TD_washingtonredskins
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I'm a Gruden supporter. I think he's a solid quality NFL Head Coach. Is he potentially special like a Bellicheck or maybe McVay? Probably not, but you don't need a coach of that caliber to win a Super Bowl. I don't think Pederson in Philly is special. Neither are Harbaugh, Tomlin, Carroll etc.

 

With that said, using this year as a basis to judge Gruden is tough. He'll have a new QB and the roster is still behind the 8 ball. If we go 8-8 that's a good year.

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We have a new QB. The belief is that QB position has been dramatically upgraded.  If the teams on our schedule play to their full potential; our schedule is a killer.

We are in year 5. Gruden has shown us, he's mediocre. 8-8 is the absolute minimum acceptable.  Anything less and he can go work for his brother. Gruden is on the hot seat.

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I don't think you can evaluate Gruden properly while we have Steve Martin, sorry Bruce Allen as GM. I have absolutely no idea what direction Allen is taking us, absolutely no idea and while this ***** is GM it won't matter who is our HC.

 

HTTR 

11 hours ago, c slag said:

Jay definitely has to improve the record against the division opponents 

No more getting swept by Dallas or loosing the final game of the season against the NY Giants 

If the division record improves that also greatly affects the chances of getting a wild card 

And how do we get better against our division opponents when his useless GM is signing him bottom tier talent. If we win more than 8 games in 2018 under Allen I will Platt ****.

 

HTTR 

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The weakest coaching aspect on this team is running the ball and that's Jay's weakness. We've had our issues as a team (health, the LG and C positions when healthy and some questionable runners) but the total absence of the running game is puzzling at times. This is do or die year in my opinion and we must balance the offensive attack especially considering who's at QB. I think Alex Smith is the perfect opportunity for Jay to do that, if he can turn in 10 wins I think you'll see him get a 2+ year deal.

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I've still never liked our running game under his watch. To tell you the truth our line just isn't good at run blocking despite the supposed talent there, their just built more to pass protect. Sure our RB's have stunk, but how many more times do you see them getting hit in the backfield compared to seeing them miss holes?? Last year I'll give em a pass because everyone was hurt, and I've never seen any NFL team be on their 6th RB with a few games left in the season. That was unheard of.

 

I still like Shanahan though, he never had the talent though, and absolutely got the most out of that '12 team with that terrible defense and opposing D-Coordinators didn't have film on Bob yet. Add the knee injury, him staring down targets, he started 1 more season for us..

 

The start of last season really gave me hope we were close to arriving. The defense was awesome, the offense, while it wasn't great was doing enough to win games..I dont have high hopes for this team though, I don't really believe in Alex Smith. Kirk did wonders with our crappy situation last year with almost the entire Oline out for several games late in the year, no running game, and no receivers to throw too. With Alex he's always had more continuity in KC, has had a better defense as well. And I just dont wanna hear about his amazing playoff stats.. When you still don't win playoff games despite playing almost error free football its obviously something else..

 

I think Gruden will earn a small extension cause I don't see any hot candidates out there right now. I see 7-9, 8-8 again this year... Its the worse spot to be in, middle of the road and no light at the end of the tunnel..

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Extension?   We already extended his original 5 year deal once.  Isn't he signed until year 7?

 

No extension unless he wins a playoff game in 2018. 

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Good post VoR. I think you hit it on most of those wishes, and I share them.

 

Though I tend to believe that points 2,4,5 and 6 and more linked to players than coaches. Something like 70% players, 30% coaches.

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