By Harry Allison
Redskins coach Jay Gruden is clearly on thin ice.
This is his sixth season and they finished 7-9 the past years.
And they haven’t won a playoff game in more than a decade.
So his humor yesterday was a bit unsettling.
He fielded a slew of questions about the state of the team — and the disarray that continues to plague it, starting with the well-publicized absence of offensive lineman Trent Williams, the sudden release of linebacker Mason Foster and the mounting pressure of an unspoken playoff mandate.
The stress of a 13 season-long playoff victory drought is not visible, at least not on the surface. Nor does Gruden appear panicked by Williams’ apparent discontent over his contract and the team’s medical staff.
The start of training camp is a time for new beginnings and renewed optimism.
And, apparently, well-timed zingers about Josh Norman’s extra-curricular activities.
Asked for his reaction to seeing his cornerback jump over a bull during the Running of the Bulls in Spain earlier this month, Gruden quipped: “Well, I knew the bull wouldn’t hit him. He avoids contact. Just kidding, Josh! Just kidding.”
Gruden was quick to do damage control, of course, adding: “No, no. Josh is a man of the world, man. He’s experienced more things in his life at his young age than most people have in their whole life. So, obviously, we wouldn’t recommend that for our players. We want to keep them out of harm’s way. Josh is a unique man, and he has done a lot of great work other than jumping over bulls. He has done a lot of charitable work that people don’t know about and great things for the community. I applaud Josh for the way he lives his life.”
All kidding aside, though, the Redskins have a lot of question marks heading into the 2019 season. And the biggest red flag could be their offense, which is thin at offensive line, lacks consistently healthy playmakers at wide receiver and has an unsettled quarterback situation. And even Gruden knows he’s running out of time to prove he’s the right man to get the Redskins back to postseason glory.