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Sweeping or Subtle Changes Ahead?

January 2, 2017
With the Redskins elimination on the final day of the regular season Sunday night, the big question that has to immediately be asked is this: Will the impending reaction and changes from inside Redskins Park be subtle or sweeping?

The hope that I have and that you should have is that they are subtle in nature. Don’t get me wrong, changes will happen and the Redskins will look very different than what we saw for a final time on Sunday at FedExField.

While I hope, the changes will be subtle, my fear is they will be sweeping. Perhaps the organization has learned a little patience from years of blowing things up, but I’m not sure if they truly have.

A loss in a must-win game, at home, with reports of a large Giants contingent, in a game that New York did not have to win, is a bad recipe for fine-tuning and calm, rational behavior. The perception/reality that the Redskins came out flat several times down the stretch is not a particularly good look. 

As I said on 106.7 The FAN this week, I was alright with the Redskins not making the playoffs, because I didn’t expect them to do so, before the season and certainly after an (0-2) start at home.

My concern was that the “executive branch” and Jay Gruden would be angry and irrational, instead of understanding and patient.

The “executive branch” which rules the world would be upset because of the overall failure, but the impact that it has on the bottom-line, could be enormous.

The Redskins were not going to host any playoff games, so that wasn’t a part of the equation, but make no mistake about it – Sunday’s result cost the Redskins millions and millions of dollars in potential revenue.

A second consecutive playoff trip and possibly a playoff win (unlikely) would have meant many fans that are on the fence about renewing season tickets, doing just that for 2017. More importantly, many club seat season ticket holders and premium seating clients could be much more likely to walk away after such a frustrating end.

A loss and a non-playoff season absolutely could shape weather high profile companies continue to do business with the Redskins. A loss and the ensuing frustration absolutely affects fans buying more team controlled merchandise.

A win would have solidified a lot of these issues. A win in the playoffs would have been enormously beneficial and profitable. Make no mistake about this. A loss Sunday comes with a heavy toll.

It could lead to heavy irrationality and when you combine that with Jay Gruden’s general impatience, it could lead to more trouble ahead.

The one caveat here is Scot McCloughan. He seems to be the most patient individual in the front office but his vision might be trumped by bitterness.

So what kind of sweeping changes are we talking about?

1 -The obvious is firing Joe Barry. It’s still the wrong thing to do in my eyes, but I am sure I will lose this battle. Barry is an easy target that will make everyone on the outside (the paying public) happy.

Wade Phillips apparently is available right now with Gary Kubiak resigning as head coach of the Broncos and Phillips wanted the job two years ago. His son, Wes, is also a part of the Redskins coaching staff.

Image result for wade phillips

The Redskins need a sacrificial lamb and Barry is the dangling piñata.

It’s a shame, but he will likely be the fall guy.

2  - Kirk Cousins contract situation is the other huge dilemma hanging over the head of this franchise. After the struggles of the offense in two huge home games (Giants, Carolina) and the overall inconsistency of the offense down the stretch, Cousins lost a good amount of leverage in-house.

There’s almost no way the Redskins are going to pay him what his market value says he is worth. I would be stunned.

Because of that, he’ll most likely be slapped with the franchise tag again and he could ultimately shop his services if the Redskins do not give him the exclusive tender or if he does not sign the tag right away like he did last year.

It’s important to note that the one year cost will likely now be in excess of $24 million, because of the increase in the salary cap and other factors, according to J.I. Halsell of and a former Redskins salary cap executive and agent with Cousins’ agent, Mike McCartney.

Essentially, if Cousins gets tagged again, there’s no reason to believe the two sides would work out a long—term deal by July 15 th again, and that could put Cousins in the very real position of being a lame-duck quarterback. Again.

While many believed that if Cousins ‘proved it again’ as he did this year, it would all but guarantee a long-term deal, that was never, ever the case and I still believe it will never happen here in Washington.

The cost is now astronomical and the cost of waiting and being ‘sure’ was prohibitive.

Maybe – somebody, somewhere – has had a change of heart on Cousins, inside the building, but that’s really hard to process considering everything that has happened recently and over his time here in Washington.

It’s very possible that Cousins is tagged as a mechanism and the Redskins explore trade interest especially if Kyle Shanahan and/or Sean McVay get head coaching opportunities and at least one of the two, will almost absolutely be hired.

3 – Will Jay Gruden get an extension? My guess would be no, but that means that 2017 is essentially a contract year for the head coach and the jury is still out on him.

If he doesn’t get an extension, does that cause a rift between Scot McCloughan and he? Bruce Allen is said to be his top supporter in the organization and it would be wise for the Redskins to give Gruden a one-year extension to avoid the drama of next year, being a trial for the head coaches’ future.

If Gruden doesn’t get an extension and if McCloughan or Dan Snyder truly does not believe in him, for whatever reason they have, could an unexpected change at head coach be possible?

It’s very unlikely, but you never know.

4 – DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon are both free agents and only one of the two are expected to return and it is possible that both do not come back.

It’s long been thought as an automatic that Garcon would not leave, while Jackson seemingly has had one foot the door. But it should not be out of the question that Garcon could leave as well, to a team that hires Shanahan or McVay, or another team that values Garcon’s overall ability at a higher cost than the Redskins value him.

It’s a mistake that Redskins fans and media will make a lot over the next two plus months, and nothing would surprise me here, but for continuity purposes, you have to pray that the Redskins can lock up one or the other (most likely Garcon) to a new deal before free agency opens in March.

5 – If McVay leaves, who will be the new coordinator on offense? My guess would be Bill Callahan, because that makes the most sense but do you really want to be going into a critical 2017 with a new-sih OC, a new defensive coordinator and a new supporting position staff along with potentially a lame-duck quarterback and other changes?

The easy answer is NO.

In essence, the Redskins have some HUGE questions and clearly changes are straight ahead but they have to do everything they can to assure continuity as opposed to thinking sweeping changes are going to fix the core issues they have. 

Chris Russell has covered the Washington Redskins for seven years for multiple media outlets and was a part of the Redskins Radio Network broadcast team for five seasons. He covers the Redskins for Monumental Sports Network (,, & Warpath Magazine. Listen to Chris on Washington D.C.'s # 1 sports radio station, 106.7 The FAN.   You can e-mail Chris at