Quick Links

Need to Know: Five questions--What's next for the Redskins?

Need to Know: Five questions--What's next for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, December 29, 251 days before the opening Sunday of the 2014 NFL season.

Nickel coverage

According to multiple reports, Mike Shanahan will be fired this morning when he meets with Redskins owner Daniel Snyder. Although that will be the end for Shanahan, it will be the beginning the process to rebuild the power structure at Redskins Park. As soon as that starts, there will be more questions than answers. Here’s a look at five of them:

1. Do all of the assistant coaches go? It seems likely that coordinators Kyle Shanahan, Jim Haslett (who reportedly has an expiring contract) and Keith Burns will be let go. It’s also seems likely that longtime Shanahan associates like Bob Slowick and Bobby Turner will be fired. But the Redskins might hold on to some guys like tight ends coach Sean McVay to see if the new head coach might want to keep them on.

2. What will the power structure be? Firing Shanahan opens up two jobs as he served as coach and general manager with final say over all football operations. Will a new coach get those powers, too? Or will the team go to the more traditional structure with a coach making the on-field decisions with a general manager handling the draft and free agency?

3. Who will emerge as the leading candidates for the head coaching and, if they go that way, GM jobs? This, of course, will be the question that gets the most attention. Plenty of time will be spent on that in the coming days.

4. What role will Bruce Allen play? Although Allen holds the title of general manager he doesn’t have the personnel acumen needed to conduct the draft, free agency, etc. It is widely assumed that Allen will get a new title, perhaps team president, and continue in his current role. But that is just speculation, we don’t know for sure.

5. What scheme will the new coaching staff run? A 3-4 defensive alignment or a 4-3? Zone blocking for the run or power blocking? Pass-oriented or run first? That will go a long way towards determining what players stay or go and what kind of players they will look for in the draft and in free agency.

Like Real Redskins on Facebook!

Stat of the day

—The Redskins set franchise single-season record for both pass attempts (611) and completions (355). Both marks were set in the 2010 season, when the Redskins went 6-10. Obviously these are records that you do not necessarily want to break.

Timeline

—Days until: NFL free agency 71; 2014 NFL Draft 129; 2014 Opening Sunday 251

—Today’s schedule: Player availability as they clean out their lockers 9; other events TBD

In case you missed it

Fletcher reflects on his career

Quick Links

Angry Jay Gruden says Redskins 'not even close' to thinking about playoffs

Angry Jay Gruden says Redskins 'not even close' to thinking about playoffs

Angry is one way to describe it. 

Jay Gruden was clearly fuming with his Redskins team after a lackluster loss in Arizona. 

The Washington coach said that his team "underachieved" in the 31-23 loss and Gruden questioned if his team was properly focused early in the game. 

And it wasn't just with the media that Gruden voiced his disgust. The Skins coach let the players have it in the locker room after the game; so loud that his voice could be heard next door in the interview room. 

Generally an easy going guy – especially for an NFL head coach – Gruden's post game comments showed the coach at a level of frustration not often seen. 

Asked about his team's chances for the playoffs, Gruden wouldn't even entertain the notion. The coach said his team would focus on its next game in Philadelphia and that the Skins are "not even close" to thinking about the playoffs. 

MORE REDSKINS: Where do the Redskins go from here?

Quick Links

Five observations from the Redskins' loss to the Cardinals

Five observations from the Redskins' loss to the Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ—Here are my five observations on Cardinals 31, Redskins 23:

—Jay Gruden said that the Redskins “underachieved” against the Cardinals today. He was right but he didn’t go far enough. At 6-5-1, the Redskins have underachieved all year. They have left points on the field with red zone and goal to go problems. With the talent they have on offense they already should have double-digit wins instead of fighting to stay above .500.

—I’m not going to forget the defense here. They have given up 31 points two weeks in a row. One of the touchdowns today came after a turnover so the Cardinals had only 10 yards to go but they did have a chance to get away with just a field goal but they couldn’t make a third-down stop. On their first drive the Cardinals converted on third and 11 and third and 12. That set the tone for a day on which Arizona converted 10 of 16 on third down. The D helped carry the team for a while in late September and in October but the unit is fading when it needs to be getting stronger.

—Kirk Cousins probably didn’t cost himself any money in a new contract today but he sure did get off to a bad start. He misfired to a few open receivers when he had time to throw. Some of these plays may have gone down as “drops” since the receiver got both hands on them but they could have been better passes that produced yards after the catch. After he got warmed up he hit on some nice passes, especially a 59-yard bomb to DeSean Jackson early in the second half to set up their first touchdown. But it wasn’t enough to overcome the tough start.

—Back to the defense, the Cardinals came into the game with two viable offensive weapons, RB David Johnson and WR Larry Fitzgerald. The Redskins knew that if they could stop those two the Cardinals would have a tough time scoring. But both made plays, particularly Johnson, who had 175 yards of total offense and had a touchdown rushing and one receiving. Not everyone is Bill Belichick but you have to be able to scheme to take away the team’s most obvious threat.

—The Redskins have lost two straight, the Buccaneers won against the Chargers so for the first time in a few weeks the Redskins are on the outside looking into the NFC playoff picture. That’s not where they want to be and there is a pretty good chance that they can return there next week with a win over the Eagles. But they need to play to their potential.