Washington Redskins Commit Costly Error Retaining Jim Haslett

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Redskins defense suffered profuse hemorrhaging as they labored painfully through a sub-par 2013 season.

Beg your pardon. Perhaps that analogy is something of a cop out. Allow me to retract. The Redskins defense leaked in 2013 like Niagara Falls. There’s no disputing that reality.

Linked to a dysfunctional gridiron unit that limped its way to a 3-13 record — after winning the NFC East crown the preceding season — the Redskins defense was an embarrassment to the team’s already handicapped and aging performance. The unit finished the season in the substructure of the NFL‘s defensive rankings, and that may be giving them a little too much credit.

Rival offenses weakly owned Washington’s defense, powering through the defensive front seven and shredding the secondary with sup-par passing games. Washington’s defense finished the season a frustrating “second to last in scoring defense in 2013,” per SB Nation, “surrendering an average of 29.9 points per contest.”

Addicted to routinely employing personnel changes that could expedite a Super Bowl championship back to the nation’s capitol, owner Dan Snyder enlisted former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden to doctor the team. Now, one would think that after a head coaching overhaul — again — an extreme personnel turnover would be in effect and a new defensive coordinator would likely preside the sidelines of Fed Ex Field this fall.

Hold the phone.

Gruden, it would seem, didn’t share the overwhelming perspective of the Redskins fan base and respective  experts, thereof. Much to the fiery displeasure of the Redskins viral fan base, he preferred to secure defensive coordinator Jim Haslett’s services.

“With another year of coaching them up I think they’ll be fine,” Gruden said, per NFL.com. “I’ve gone against his defense. I know what he’s about, and I know the scheme he plays is very difficult.”

Gruden’s ill-advised resolution to retain Haslett’s sub-par defensive coordinating services is, perhaps, a clear-cut indication of his unseasoned approach to effectively managing personnel in the big leagues. He foolishly bypassed multiple opportunities to enlist a cast of reputable assistant coaches and established defensive wizards that would have matured and anchored Washington’s defense heading into the 2014 season.

NFL.com disputes Gruden’s perspective regarding the lingering need for quality personnel to man the Redskins defense, citing, “in the past four years the unit ranked 21st, 21st, 22nd and 30th in points per game. They were also 31st, 13th, 28th and 18th in yards per game.”

What particularly smarted last season was Washington’s defensive backfield. The secondary boasted the No. 20 pass defense in the league. And that’s statistically watering down the obvious. Arguably the unit shouldn’t have even reported for duty on Sundays last season. Opposing signal callers and their respective flankers hardly noticed Washington’s secondary, anyhow.

Washington really rolled the dice when they chanced hiring Gruden to assume command of a choking and aging company. Not provide rival squads with gridiron leverage. But Gruden’s misguided error to retain Haslett as defensive coordinator will inevitably return to haunt him and frustrate the efforts of an already struggling franchise.


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