Washington Redskins: An Eye Towards the Future

Brad Vipperman@TeamVip33Correspondent IOctober 21, 2009

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 12:  Head coach Joe Gibbs of the Washington Redskins (R) is congratulated by head coach Jon Gruden of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at mid-field after the Redskins defeated the Buccaneers 16-10 on September 12, 2004 at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

There has been seemingly non-stop talk about how dire the Redskins current situation is.  To be honest, I have thrown fuel on that fire as well. 

Sitting back and watching my team get out-coached and out-played is something that doesn't sit well with me.

Growing up as an athlete, I hate to lose.  I never bought in to the expression, "It doesn't matter if you win or lose, it's how you play the game."

To me, that was just something coaches said when you lost, or parents whose kids weren't any good would tell them.

Worst of all for Redskin fans this year, we're losing...and how we're playing the game is pretty terrible.

Jim Zorn is going to be fired.  Can we all stop speculating about this?  There hasn't been a bigger sitting duck in a position of power in Washington since Richard Nixon.

Unlike Nixon, however, Zorn won't resign.  It would make no sense for him to do that.  Aside from the obvious financial implications, Zorn also has to think about his future employment.

History has shown us that even some of the worst head coaches ever can quickly find work back in their coordinator niche.  Some of them can even find success again.

Of course, Zorn has never been a coordinator, but you all catch my drift.  It will look much better on his resume if Zorn fights for his job and his players till the very end.  In sports, as in business, nobody likes a quitter.

Another hot topic is which of the available coaches with a loaded resume will the Redskins lure out of retirement to return us to glory?

There has been talk that the Redskins have "blown their chance with Mike Shanahan."  I don't believe this to be the case.

First of all, Daniel Snyder has enough dollar signs to change anyone's mind.  Second, Shanahan has reportedly said no to taking over this Redskins team in the middle of the season.  Who would want to do that?

Why would any coach with good prestige want to tie their name in with a sinking ship that isn't just a defensive tweak or a roster change away from floating?

I think Shanahan still has to be one of the front-runners to take over the job in the winter.

Other names that have been thrown in the ring have been Mike Holmgren, Jon Gruden, and Bill Cowher.

Of all these choices, I like Jon Gruden the most, and I will tell you why.

In the NFL, motivation and drive are some of the most important factors in molding a successful football team.  When you look at the terrible teams in the league, you see a common theme: a lack of intensity.

Take a look at the Raiders.  Aside from their shocking upset of the Eagles, they have played with less passion than a vegetarian at a hot-dog eating contest. 

Their quarterback is overweight and lazy and their head coach looks completely lost (when he's not breaking his assistants' jaws).

Watch how the Titans play this year.  I like Jeff Fisher, so I'm not putting all this on him, but they have no heart.

And, I hate to say it, but look at us!  How many times have our Redskins been booed off the field, failed to convert on third down and in the red zone, or made completely incompetent clock-management decisions?

Gruden is the definition of passion and intensity.  He will not tolerate mistakes and if he makes one himself, he will admit to it and shoulder all of the blame.

There would be no "Sherman Lewis" hiring with Gruden as head coach.  Snyder wouldn't dare hire someone to call Gruden's plays without running it by him first.

Jim Zorn is like that kid who gets his lunch money stolen and just shrugs afterwards and says, "Oh well, I guess I deserved it." 

Despite the fact that he's clinging to his job by a thread, he should have lashed out in the media at this complete undermining of his authority and blatant disrespect to his character.

Aside from Gruden, who seems to be enjoying the cushy confines of the Monday Night Football booth, I would like Holmgren next.

Holmgren has a different attitude towards the game than Gruden and one that I think would be very welcome in Washington.  Holmgren cultivates relationships with his players and gets them to perform at a higher level by knowing everything about them.

That being said, I've heard buzz about Holmgren not wanting the Redskins job because of his relationship with Jim Zorn.  If this is true, which I feel it probably is, it validates my previous paragraph and also means whichever team lands him is getting a proven winner who should bring about a positive change.

Lastly, I would want Cowher or Shanahan.  Both of these coaches have already set their historical identity with a different franchise. 

I feel like, at this stage in their careers, and in their lives, it will be very difficult for them to re-create that magic with a franchise they are totally unfamiliar with.

It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out.  I truly believe that next week's Monday Night Football game will determine whether or not Zorn stays on as the figurehead for the rest of the season. 

If we put up a similar showing to the ones we've had the last couple weeks, I believe we'll cut him loose, slap the "interim" tag on Jerry Gray or Danny Smith, and move forward.

If we play well, however, Zorn will get to finish the ride like a second-term President during his last few months in office.

Either way, I believe hope is on the horizon.  For all the doom-and-gloom I've been reading, I think we should all try and find a silver lining.

We're 32-32 since the 2005 season (not including this year).  It's hard to improve when you're stuck in one place. 

A couple high draft picks, the continued development of our increasingly impressive defense, and hopefully an all-star head coach are all things that we can look upon and smile.

Change is coming.  Don't lose hope.



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