After finishing last in the NFC East for four consecutive years, the 2012 Washington Redskins overcame a 3-6 start by winning their final seven games and their first division title since 1999.
Well, it was nice while it lasted. This past season, a little déjà vu saw the club once again stumble out of the gate as the ‘Skins dropped five of their first eight contests. But instead of rallying for a playoff berth, Mike Shanahan saw his team lose its final eight games and the veteran head coach wound up losing his job after a 3-13 showing.
So team owner Daniel Snyder and general manager Bruce Allen enlisted the services of Gruden…as in Jay Gruden. The former offensive coordinator off the Cincinnati Bengals brings a bevy of football experience from a variety of leagues, from the World League of American Football (later NFL Europe) to the Arena Football League to being an assistant with his brother, Jon Gruden, while with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The 47-year old coach is now at the helm of one of the league’s most fabled franchises, where unfortunately winning has become somewhat of a tall tale. But thanks to a few notable additions and the reminder of that NFC East title just two years ago, there is optimism in the nation’s capital (at least when it comes to football).
This is the second part of a 32-team series in which we’ll look at the “if, and & but’s” of each team’s chances to make the postseason.
And Washington will make a second trip in three seasons to the playoffs…