It may be hard to believe, but the Washington Redskins, who started the season 2-4, have made the playoffs. Washington has won three straight and six of nine, including Sunday’s 38-24 win over the Eagles in Philadelphia.
Dan Snyder has to be elated, especially after going 7-25 over the last two seasons. But as he has learned, backing off is one of the best things an owner can do.
“I see an owner in Dan Snyder who hired Mike Shanahan five years ago and hired Bruce Allen and said ‘I got to get away from this,’” former Redskin and current Redskins radio analyst Chris Cooley said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “And (he) pretty much did – other than maybe a quarterback – and it still didn’t work. And he tried a new head coach (Jay Gruden) and a new GM (Scot McCloughan) and he said, ‘I got to get away from it.’ Obviously Dan cares and obviously he wants to win football games, but I think he’s gotten to the point where he’s saying, ‘I can’t do this. I can’t be a part of this.’ And as much as I love the dude, that’s probably the best thing. You find the right football people and that’s the best thing to do for an organization.”
Wait a second. Did Chris Cooley just say that he loves Dan Snyder? Yes, yes he did.
That, to put it mildly, is not a popular sentiment. Why does Cooley love a man who is reviled by so many?
“He believes in the people he trusts around him, and apparently I became one of those people,” Cooley explained. “He believes in the guys that play for him. I can understand everyone arguing every different direction. I was on a different side of it and we have a good relationship. I kind of see how much the Redskins mean to him and the way he wants to win football games. Sometimes it’s so easy to compare it to (playing) fantasy football. ‘I paid for it. I’m not going to let anyone else take it over. I’m running that thing.’ So it took him a long time to figure that out. And there’s some social stuff that anyone can take any way they want. I like the guy. So that’s where we’re at.”
Snyder’s best hire may have been Gruden, who has turned Kirk Cousins into a legitimate NFL starting quarterback. Cousins has completed 69.5 percent of his passes for 3,990 yards, 26 touchdowns and 11 interceptions this season. Twenty of those touchdowns have gone to Jordan Reed (11), Pierre Garcon (five) and DeSean Jackson (four).
“He’s a good football coach,” Cooley said of Gruden. “He was a smart offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals. He helped the progression of Andy Dalton and they made the playoffs for a couple of years. I’ve gotten to spend a lot of time with Jay. He gets the game. Jay gets players. He knows how to reach his guys and he knows how to work with all of his guys individually and they want to play for him. I think that’s what’s starting to make Jay a little more special.”
The Redskins (8-7), who close the season at Dallas (4-11), will host Seattle, Green Bay or Minnesota in the playoffs, pending this week’s results. This year marks the Redskins’ first playoff appearance since 2012 and their fifth playoff appearance since 1992.