After going 13-19 in his first two seasons as head coach of the Washington Redskins, Jay Gruden had an opportunity to make a statement Monday. Beating the Steelers at home on national television would have put the rest of the league on notice that the Redskins are for real. Instead, Washington looked feeble for much of the night and lost 38-16.
At this point, is Gruden anything more than an average coach?
“You couldn’t say he’s a great coach right now,” CBS Sports NFL analyst London Fletcher said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I think he’s a good coach. I think he does a good job of scheming up things and putting his players, from an offensive standpoint, (in a position) to win match-ups. Kirk just didn’t play well.”
Cousins went 30-of-43 for 329 yards and two interceptions, as Washington was held to three fields through the first three quarters.
“He had opportunities make some plays, but schematically, I thought the way their offense was designed, there was plays that were there to be made,” Fletcher said. “They just didn’t make them. But I think he’s a good coach. We’re not going to put him in the Hall of Fame as a coach right now.”
Fletcher, who played for the Redskins from 2007-13, didn’t understand why Josh Norman didn’t guard Antonio Brown for the entire game. In fact, Norman didn’t guard Brown much at all. That unenviable task went to Bashaud Breeland, who was burned twice for touchdowns.
“I look at it like this: If you’re the Redskins and you’re going to pay a guy $15 million a year and not have him shadow the No. 1 receiver on the team, you overpaid for this guy,” Fletcher said. “You overpaid. If you don’t have him shadow the No. 1 guy, what’s the point of having him?”
The Steelers, by the way, were without Martavis Bryant, Markus Wheaton and Le’Veon Bell. Eli Rogers stepped up and had a nice game with six catches for 59 yards and a touchdown, but Antonio Brown was without question the one player Washington needed to stop.
“Antonio Brown is the public enemy No. 1 for the Washington Redskins defense,” Fletcher said. “You say, ‘Josh, you got this guy. Everywhere, anywhere on the field, somebody else is going to have to beat us.’ But you can’t let Antonio Brown go out and get (126 yards) and two TDs. That makes no sense. . . . I think Breeland is a good cornerback. He’s a very competitive young guy, but he’s still a young guy. You want your best on their best. To pay him that kind of money and not have him shadow the No. 1 receiver, that’s unacceptable.”
Washington (0-1) will try to get in the win column this Sunday against Dallas (0-1), which is coming off a 20-19 loss to the Giants. Both teams will have their backs against the wall, as they look to avoid an 0-2 start.
Kickoff is at 1 p.m. ET.