LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. – In the NFL, especially not within the Redskins organization, things typically don’t remain the same after a losing season. However, after Washington’s 7-and-9 campaign in 2017 – any changes are yet to be determined.
In his end-of-season press conference Tuesday, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden did not announce any changes to his coaching staff – only saying the team is still in the evaluation period.
“We’re going to evaluate our players first,” Gruden told reporters. “We will make sure we have a clear understanding of where we need to improve, how we need to improve, and then we’ll evaluate the staff also.”
One assistant coach who will not be moving on is quarterbacks coach Kevin O’Connell. Linked to the offensive coordinator vacancy at UCLA, Gruden says O’Connell will be staying with the ‘Skins an transitioning into a role of passing game coordinator in addition to his QB coach duties.
When discussing the future of quarterback Kirk Cousins, who could enter free agency if the team chooses not to use the franchise tag on him for a third straight season, Gruden admitted it may be difficult to built a roster for 2018 without knowing whether or not Cousins will be Washington’s QB. However, Gruden added the team must find a way to improve regardless of the quarterback situation.
“There’s ways to plan for it,” Gruden said. “We just have to make sure we have all our ducks in a row. Whether he’s here or not, we have to figure out ways that we’re going to make this team better. In order to make the team better, obviously we have to look at each individual position and target the guys we want and do the best we can to get the guys here. There’s no guarantee that they’re going to sign here anyway, so we still have to have Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, Plan D.”
When asked about backup QB Colt McCoy taking over should Cousins leave, Gruden gave McCoy a vote of confidence – saying he’s comfortable with him. However, the burgundy and gold bench boss declined to “hand the keys” to Colt or anoint anyone the heir apparent to Cousins until Kirk’s fate is known.
“He’s just been in the system now for a while and you can just see him do some things,” Gruden said of McCoy. “We’re not appointing anybody a starting quarterback right now. I’m not saying Colt is the heir apparent and he’s going to start tomorrow. I just know that Colt’s been in the building and I have total faith that if he was given an opportunity, he would be ready to produce. That’s just how I feel about Colt. We’re not going to give the keys to him right now. We’re still trying to work things out with the other quarterback in Kirk and hopefully things will work out, but I know Colt is ready to play.”