Redskins Gruden Fired Football

Washington Redskins president Bruce Allen speaks to the media at an NFL football news conference, Monday, Oct. 7, 2019, in Ashburn, Va.

Washington Redskins team president Bruce Allen addressed reporters on Monday afternoon after the firing of coach Jay Gruden.

Allen said in January, when he defended the team mostly staying on course during the offseason, that he felt the Redskins were close to making the playoffs.

Here are seven takeaways from Monday's press conference, beginning with....

1) Allen still thinks they're close: Asked why the last decade (the time Allen has been employed) has been so bad in Washington, Allen disagreed.

"You know, I don't necessarily agree with the premise," he said. "Last year at this time we're in first place and we're doing well, so it was working pretty damn good. Unfortunately our quarterback got injured."

He was referring to Washington's 6-3 record before Alex Smith's broken leg, after which the team only won one other game.

"The pieces are here for a winning team," Allen said. "We have to put them in the right place, believe in each other, and keep fighting for our goal. There's only one way you win. You have to work. You have to get better and you have to beat your opponent. And that's what we have to do. And I believe these players and these coaches will do that."

2) Trent Williams won't be traded: Allen indicated that offensive lineman Trent Williams will not be traded by the team this year. Williams is in a standoff with the team over contractual and medical issues, and has reportedly indicated he does not want to play in Washington anymore.

Allen, however, said the team is not interested in trading Williams.

3) Dwayne Haskins remains a central figure: Allen said the decision at quarterback would be left up to interim coach Bill Callahan, but there's no reason to believe Haskins won't be starting the rest of the season.

Allen saluted the scouts who have been putting in long hours, though draft-night reports suggested that Haskins was the preferred pick of team owner Dan Snyder.

4) Snyder won't be talking: Asked why team owner Dan Snyder wasn't addressing fans on Monday after Gruden's firing, Allen replied, "Because I am."

Asked if Snyder would be making himself available, Allen said that "Dan makes himself available from time to time," though in the past few years, his interviews were mostly with radio stations that he owned.

5) The crowds might get worse before they get better: Allen said he thought fans probably sold their tickets to New England Patriots fans to make some money, noting the Patriots have a rabid following.

Sunday's game was a sellout, but with less appealing franchises coming to town, there are likely to be many more empty seats the rest of the year.

"All we can do is try to improve our product," Allen said. "These games, we weren't close in. We've lost five games and we didn't lose them in the last second. We lost these games decisively. And we have to change that. And our fans deserve that. And this market deserves that. We're in the nation's capital, and it deserves better than that, and we have to get it done."

6) Allen remains a politician at heart: He used a number of campaign-style phrases throughout the press conference.

Among them:

"When you're around this building enough, you can feel the passion of these players, you can feel the ability of these players and you can see the coaches working their tails off to try and come up with a winning game plan."

"I see what the coaches are trying to accomplish. I see what the people do at the stadium. They're great workers. They care about this team. They care about this franchise. And I'm not saying I care more than anyone, but I absolutely want what's best for the Washington Redskins and we're going to make sure we do it."

"We've made too many mistakes on game day. But the effort. The effort of the players and the rest of this organization is fantastic. [Senior VP of player personnel] Doug Williams, his hours, if you want to check his time card, working all the time. Our scouts on the road, working all the time. And they're trying to find the right formula for success. These players have the ability and we just have to execute it."

7) Allen doesn't think the culture needs an overhaul: Allen defended the organization's culture as "actually damn good."

The Redskins haven't just struggled on the field in the past decade, but have also battled external controversies over the team name, their treatment of cheerleaders, lawsuits against ticket holders, the dismissal of a general manager for a reported alcohol problem, and the dismissal of business executive Brian Lafemina, a former league employee, after less than a year.

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mphillips@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6546

@michaelpRTD

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