Off another dismal performance in blowout loss to the New England Patriots Sunday at home, the Washington Redskins have made the first coaching move of 2019 and fired Jay Gruden. While this does not come as a surprise, the timing is actually interesting, as the Redskins will now travel to Miami to play the equally winless Dolphins this week.
First, Gruden has been on the hot seat for the last 2 – 3 weeks as Washington’s offense, his specialty, has floundered. On Sunday, Gruden started veteran backup QB Colt McCoy (instead of top pick Dwayne Haskins) and actually took a 7 – 0 lead on the Pats.
But, then New England dominated the game from there 33-7, including Tom Brady throwing for 348 yards and three touchdowns. McCoy only mustered 119 yards passing without a touchdown and one interception as the Redskins dropped to 0-5.
Off of back to back 7-9 losing seasons, Gruden (above on Sunday) seemed to know the handwriting was on the wall for his firing, when after the game he was asked about his job status and gave a classic quote,
“If my key works tomorrow, I’ll keep working.”
Gruden, the younger brother of Raiders coach Jon Gruden and who was a former Arena Football League star QB in Tampa and Orlando, took over the Redskins as coach in 2014 and they were in the playoffs in 2015 with a 9-7 record. However, they have struggled to have any sustained success, since then.
Washington announced in a statement Monday morning that veteran offensive line coach and former head coach of the Raiders and the University of Nebraska, Bill Callahan will take over on an interim basis.
Callahan actually led the Raiders to the Superbowl in 2002 the year after Jon Gruden was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Of course, as you’re probably aware, Jon Gruden got the ultimate revenge on his old team with a Super Bowl 37 win over Oakland.
Back to the implications for the Dolphins. As we have written, there are several teams, including the Redskins and Cincinnati Bengals, that are equally as bad as Miami. And the Skins and Bengals play the Dolphins, too.
So, if the idea and intent is lose as many games as possible to try to get the number one pick, then clearly this Sunday with Washington and a new head coach and a quarterback situation in disarray is just as much of a threat to lose again and be 0-6.
Miami will be coming off a bye with second year QB Josh Rosen still slated to lead them in a season that has seen them beaten badly in all four losses for 0-4.
Dolphins and Jaguars both on road in our Sunday primer
Two of the three state NFL teams are in action and both on the road for this third Sunday in October. And, for the Jaguars and the Dolphins they are playing what would both be considered winnable games.
First, the Bucs are on the bye week after their poor performance for most of last Sunday’s loss in London to the Panthers. Tampa Bay will look to rest and to reload before playing two more road games in Nashville and Seattle the next two weeks.
As for the teams in action today, the Jags have traveled North to Cincinnati and will play for the first time officially without disgruntled defensive back Jalen Ramsey whom they traded to the L.A. Rams earlier this week. Of course Ramsey had not played the last three games and now almost everyone is in agreement he was purposely using his supposed back injury to stay out of the lineup and force the team to trade him.
Clear evidence of this is: that Ramsey practiced Thursday and Friday in Los Angeles and will apparently be active for their game in Atlanta today.
Meanwhile for his Jacksonville teammates that are left behind, they did not play poorly but were simply beaten by a stronger New Orleans team 13 – 6 a week ago in Jacksonville. For the most part, quarterback Gardner Minshew was contained by the tough Saints defense, but Jacksonville also rose to the occasion only allowing the Saints one touchdown in the contest.
The Jags will look to have running back Leonard Fournette feast on a much easier Cincinnati defense to get themselves rolling and look for pass rushers Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue to get after Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in this one.
For the Dolphins, they came close to pulling off their first win of the season a week ago, as Ryan Fitzpatrick (above) rallied them in the fourth quarter to within 17 – 16 of the Redskins. That is only to have the two-point conversion pass to Kenyan Drake fall in complete handing the Dolphins a fifth straight loss to start the year.
Now in Western New York for the first of two meetings with the Buffalo Bills, the Dolphins have decided to go back to Fitzpatrick as their starting quarterback. This just a week after coach Brian Flores declared the Josh Rosen was going to be the quarterback for the foreseeable future to give him a good look, as to what he could help the Dolphins with this season and beyond.
The “yo-yo games” at quarterback have been going on all season, including Rosen replacing Fitzpatrick in both of his first two starts when the team was wiped out by Baltimore and New England.
Meanwhile the Bills are solid on defense including shutting down Marcus Mariota and the Titans in an upset a couple of weeks ago. Buffalo is led by second-year quarterback and former first-rounder, Josh Allen, who’s is bigger threat with his legs as he is with his arms.
It will not be an easy task for the Dolphins to go get this road win in Buffalo.
Report- Dolphins shopping RB Kenyan Drake
With the Dolphins season spiraling downward and headed for an almost certain 1 – 15 or 0-16 finish, it’s not surprising that Miami is still looking to offload any players of value to other teams. And now, that may involve proven running back Kenyan Drake, who could be on the move before the trading deadline in two weeks.
NFL Network insider, Ian Rapoport, reported Thursday morning that the Dolphins are having conversations with multiple teams about the fourth-year back from Alabama:
Sources: The #Dolphins have had trade conversations with teams centered around RB Kenyan Drake, and the team has indicated they would trade him if the right offer presented itself. Drake, who has had no extension talks with Miami since camp, would welcome a new opportunity.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 17, 2019
Drake was finally going to be given an opportunity in 2019 to be the feature back in Miami’s backfield after having shared time a year ago with veteran Frank Gore and previously, with Jay Ajayi.
However, as it has been well documented, the Miami offense is a disaster under first-year coach Brian Flores, his new offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea and their continued “yo-yo” games with quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen. Miami has only had the lead for a few minutes of one game (Chargers) in their five losses.
The offense has been so bad that Drake has only had 153 yards rushing in 5 games, while averaging 3.7 per carry. He has an additional 19 catches for 137 yards, but has yet to register a touchdown at all this season.
That lack of productivity is more of a byproduct of how bad the scheme and the talent around Drake is, especially when you consider did he had nearly 1,000 yards from scrimmage and nine combined touchdowns rushing and receiving in 2018.
Drake scored one of the most famous TDs in franchise history on the “Miami Miracle” play by taking the final lateral and racing to the end zone, as they defeated the Patriots last December.
As Rappaport points out, Drake is in the final year of his rookie contract and their may be a team or two interested in giving the Dolphins a 6th or 7th round pick for him. Then again, teams may wait Miami out and see, if the Dolphins eventually just release Drake later this season.
Miami started second-year back Mark Walton in the Washington game last weekend, and also has third-year back Kalen Ballage that they could use if Drake is gone.
The former third-round pick out of Alabama does have tremendous versatility, including as a kickoff returner both with the Crimson Tide and in the NFL with the Dolphins. Drake has a career average of 24.9 yards per kickoff return but has only run one back this season for 15 yards.
Miami Dolphins7 days ago
Dolphins coach Flores gained respect going for win Sunday
Florida Gators1 week ago
Recent history shows Saturday will be tough for Gators at LSU
Jacksonville Jaguars1 week ago
Jaguars Fournette leads week six Fantasy Football advice
Jacksonville Jaguars1 week ago
Jaguars owner Khan says he’s met with Jalen Ramsey