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Need to Know: Where does the Redskins’ Jay Gruden rank among NFL head coaches?

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Need to Know: Where does the Redskins’ Jay Gruden rank among NFL head coaches?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, March 4, five days before the start of NFL free agency.

Where does the Redskins’ Jay Gruden rank among NFL head coaches?

Jay Gruden became the first Redskins coach since Joe Gibbs to make the playoffs in his second year on the job. Gibbs actually did it twice, in 1982, a year after first being hired as a head coach, and in his second go-around with the team in 2005.

Of course, Gibbs’ first playoff appearance ended considerably better than Gruden’s maiden voyage to the post season last year. Last year’s Redskins were one and done with a home playoff loss to the Packers right out of the gate while Gibbs’ group went on to win Super Bowl XVII. Gibbs was named the NFL coach of the year and he immediately was recognized as one of the best coaches in the NFL.

Gruden, who began the season as the Las Vegas favorite to be the first coach fired in 2015, did not get any coach of the year consideration. But he did gain some respect in the eyes of many, including one analyst at Rotoworld, our sister site.

About this time every year they rank the NFL head coaches and offer a paragraph to explain. Last year Gruden was ranked 22nd among the 25 returning head coaches after coming off of a 4-12 season that featured multiple quarterback changes. They actually praised what Gruden was trying to do while pitying him for having to work in the chaotic Redskins organization.
Of course, some of Gruden’s decisions left much to be desired. Colt McCoy shouldn’t be playing quarterback and Jim Haslett shouldn’t be coordinating defense, let alone on the same team. But if Gruden didn’t bat 1.000, he still laid the groundwork for success in a dysfunctional organization. There’s just no guarantee Snyder lets him see it through.
Let’s fast forward to this year and Gruden has climbed to No. 14. He’s not in bad company. The Saints’ Sean Payton and Jets’ Todd Bowles are right ahead of him and Super Bowl champion coach Gary Kubiak and John Fox are right below.
Gruden needed to do something big in his second year on the job. That he did, delivering on years of rumors that Kirk Cousins could be a viable NFL starter while leading the Redskins to just their third division title of the Snyder era. Gruden improved the offense, saved the defense by firing Jim Haslett and was deft and calm as he navigated Washington’s withering media glare.
There is plenty of room for criticism of the job that Gruden did. But the one thing he absolutely deserves credit for is having the guts to make the switch from Robert Griffin III to Kirk Cousins at quarterback. Certainly not all of the fan base was in favor of the move and those inside the organization were reportedly split as well. For Gruden it took some deft political maneuvering to pull off what turned out to be the right football decision.

That sort of moxie should serve Gruden well going forward in the Redskins organization. If Scot McCloughan keep supplying Gruden with talented players he could well take another jump up in the rankings a year from now.

Timeline

—DE Phillip Daniels, who played for the Redskins from 2004-2010, was born on this date in 1973.

—The Redskins last played a game 54 days ago. It will be about 191 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL free agency starts 5; Redskins offseason workouts start 45; 2016 NFL draft 55

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Snap Chat: Preston Smith makes the most of his limited playing time

Snap Chat: Preston Smith makes the most of his limited playing time

Here is my weekly look at playing time for the Redskins during their win over the Raiders:

—Defensively, the Redskins were in nickel a lot. Slot corner Kendall Fuller played 46 of the 51 defensive snaps. That generally means that they are playing fewer defensive lineman and indeed, nose tackle Ziggy Hood played only 18 snaps.

Junior Galette played only 15 snaps, down from 19 against the Rams. He did get half a sack.

MORE REDSKINS: MUST-SEE PHOTOS FROM THE REDSKINS' WIN

—It was surprising to see that Preston Smith got only 23 snaps. That is by far a season low but it’s hard to argue with the strategy. He was very effective with his limited snaps, getting a sack and tackling Marshawn Lynch for no gain on a third and two play.

—Rookie OLB Ryan Anderson is getting worked into the lineup more and more. He got 24 snaps on defense, one more than he had in the first two games combined, and another eight on special teams.

—The two defensive players who were in for 100 percent of the 51 defensive snaps were S D.J. Swearinger and ILB Zach Brown. CB Josh Norman played 47 snaps and ILB Martrell Spaight, Fuller, and CB Bashaud Breeland played 46 each.

—On offense, Josh Doctson (36) got more playing time than Ryan Grant (34) for the first time this year.

RELATED: CAN THE REDSKINS SUSTAIN THEIR SUCCESS?

—Between Kirk Cousins and the five starting offensive linemen, only Shawn Lauvao missed any of the 68 plays run. Lauvao came out for one play to have his helmet fixed.

—TE Jeremy Sprinkle made his NFL debut, getting seven snaps.

—Besides Colt McCoy, the only player who was active who did not get into the game was rookie ILB Josh Harvey-Clemons.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Need to Know: Last look at Redskins vs. Raiders

Need to Know: Last look at Redskins vs. Raiders

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, September 26, six days before the Washington Redskins play Chiefs in Kansas City.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: No media availability

Days until:

—Monday night Redskins @ Eagles (10/23) 27
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 33

Last look at Redskins vs. Raiders

—I could fill up this entire post with numbers that demonstrate just how dominant the Redskins defense was on Sunday. Here’s one that impressed me—with the exception of two series that started with turnovers deep in Washington territory, the Raiders ran one play on the Redskins’ side of the field. Early in the second quarter, Derek Carr threw a short pass that Marshawn Lynch turned into an eight-yard gain to the Washington 48. On the next play, Kendall Fuller picked off Carr’s pass. That was it until Jamison Crowder muffed a punt, giving Oakland the ball at the Washington 21 with 47 seconds left in the third quarter.

Kirk Cousins passed for over 350 yards with three or more touchdowns and no interceptions for the fourth time as a Redskin. It is the first time Washington quarterback to do that more than once; Joe Theismann did it in 1982 and 1983. Colt McCoy and Mark Rypien did it once each. Cousins is the only one of the group to complete over 80 percent of his passes in such a game; he was 25 of 30, 83.3 percent.

RELATED: UPDATED WEEK 3 NFL POWER RANKINGS

—Again, there are plenty of numbers but what set this game apart was the confidence and attitude on display, particularly on defense. The images that stick in my mind are plays like D.J. Swearinger leveling Marshawn Lynch, Preston Smith just dismissing a Lynch stiff arm to get the stop on third and two, Montae Nicholson getting a textbook legal hit on Michael Crabtree and Zach Brown sending ball carriers to the ground with a vengeance.

—Some are wondering if Mack Brown should be the main backup at running back when Rob Kelley returns from his rib injury, which could be this week. Samaje Perine seemed to miss some openings and at times he seemed to go down with a one-arm tackle. And he fumbled the ball away. But on Sunday night Jay Gruden said that once Kelley is back, Perine will be the backup and Brown is likely to return to the game-day inactive list.

—Let this sink in for a minute—prior to last night’s Cowboys-Cardinals game, the Redskins were fifth in the NFL in rushing attempts (90) and sixth in rushing yards (409). They are on pace to have 480 rushing attempts for 2,180 yards. Last year they ran it 379 times for 1,696 yards.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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