Joe Theismann Believes Jay Gruden, Redskins Can Win NFC East

Theismann believes this is the best team Jay Gruden has ever had

Tiki and Tierney
October 30, 2018 - 8:30 am

USA Today Images

The Washington Redskins signed Adrian Peterson to a one-year deal Monday, this after losing three running backs through two preseason games.

What should we make of this signing?

“First of all, it’s essential,” former MVP and Super Bowl champion Joe Theismann said on Tiki and Tierney. “The Redskins are down to three running backs: Chris Thompson, who’s coming off of an injury, Rob Kelley, and (Kapri) Bibbs. (Byron) Marshall is hurt. (Derrius) Guice is out for the year. Samaje Perine is hurt. So you’re basically adding out of necessity. . . . Do I think it’s a good addition? Yes. Do I think it’s a necessary addition? Absolutely.”

Peterson, 33, played four games for the Saints and six games for the Cardinals last season, combining for 156 carries for 529 yards (3.4 yards per carry) and two touchdowns.

Peterson likely won’t make-or-break Washington’s season, but Jay Gruden might. He has missed the playoffs in three of his four seasons with the Redskins, including each of the last two.

Theismann, however, is optimistic. 

“I think this is the best team he’s had,” Theismann said. “I think it’s the deepest team. Dan (Snyder) has given him a chance to build this football team. Every one of our draft picks from 2017 made the team. It looks like a large percentage of 2018 are going to make it. That’s how I think you build your team. Too often we see the knee-jerk reaction from management and ownership in this league. If a guy struggles, they go away. I think back to when Bill Cowher went through a 6-10 season and Mr. Rooney stayed with him and they won a Super Bowl that next year or the year after.”

Indeed, the Steelers went 6-10 in 2003. Then they drafted Ben Roethlisberger, went 15-1 in 2004 and won the Super Bowl in 2005.

“We had 23 guys on IR last year, and we still managed to win seven football games,” Theismann said. “Jay is really a masterful play-caller. He had no weapons to work with on offense. Jordan Reed didn’t play. Terrelle Pryor is still trying to figure out how to be a wide receiver. Josh Doctson was a rookie. Chris Thompson was hurt. Six of our offensive linemen had surgery. And he still managed to put up the numbers that Kirk (Cousins) did. 

“So I don’t think (Gruden is) on shaky ground,” Theismann continued. “I think the expectation is somewhere between nine and 10 wins this year. I expect that from this football team.”

Theismann also expects the Redskins to contend for the NFC East title.

“I think the Cowboys have the furthest way to go in the division,” he said. “I think the Giants will be markedly better. I think their wide receiving corps is something to reckon with. I think it’s going to be a very competitive division. I think we can be in the mix, but the whole thing is going to boil down to how healthy can you stay? And can a 2 come in and play like a 1 when he’s asked to do it? I think injuries will make a big difference, but I like the Redskins having the ability to win the division. If you can go 5-1 in the division, you’re going to win the division.”

The Redskins open at Arizona on Sept. 9 before a pair of home games against the Colts and Packers in Weeks 2 and 3, respectively.