Gruden might discipline Swearinger for criticisms

Brian Tinsman
December 23, 2018 - 11:32 pm

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


Oh, to be a fly on the wall at Redskins Park on Monday morning.

That's approximately when outspoken Washington Redskins safety D.J. Swearinger will report to head coach Jay Gruden's office for a chat about how outspoken he has become.

This is not their first conversation between the two on the topic, as Gruden revealed in a conference call with reporters on Sunday. But it might be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

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"I’m quite disappointed, to be honest with you," Gruden said flatly. "I think we made it pretty clear we keep our business within these walls, and we’ve had talks before about that, and unfortunately, he chose to go to the media again and talk about some of his displeasure with some of the calls.

Gruden added: "We had a discussion about him before and I thought we squashed it, but I guess not...It’s happened with the same guy a couple times now, so it’s become redundant to me."

During the team's late-season collapse, Swearinger has grown increasingly agitated with the playcall from defensive coordinator Greg Manusky. Sunday, in a loss that all but eliminated the Redskins from the playoffs (a fact finished off on Sunday), Swearinger finally dropped the coded language and called out Manusky's decisions on particular plays.

"We should have blown them out," Swearinger said in the locker room after the game. "If I'm the D-coordinator, I'm calling zone every time on third down because you got a backup quarterback. Make him beat us.

"We're playing a backup quarterback. Why would you put us in man to man? We are our best on defense when we look at the quarterback."

That ruffled Gruden, as he pointed out that Swearinger does not speak for all 11 players on defense.

“I think one guy’s voice is not necessarily the opinion of every other player on the football team,” Gruden said. “I don’t know why he feels that way, but I don’t think Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Mason Foster and the rest of the guys feel the same way.

"We’ll have to see."

Gruden seems to have scheduled the meeting for Monday as a chance to let all sides calm down from the emotions of a crushing loss. He said he was reserving the right to discipline Swearinger depending on the outcome of the meeting.

"I just don’t want a torn locker room and people starting to point fingers," Gruden said. "That’s the one thing we’ve really, really tried to preach against — no finger pointing after a loss. We just got to accept it and give credit to the other team and then move on and try and get better."

Swearinger has proven to be a lightning rod throughout his career, bouncing around despite possessing immense talent and leadership potential. Upon arriving in 2017, he was promptly named a defensive captain after keying the defense through offseason workouts and training camp.

At the time, his vocal nature was lauded. After one season, however, he was not re-elected as a captain in 2018. By now, we might have an indication as to why.

"He’s a talented guy," Gruden said. "He’s played well this year. I think he’s an alternate for the Pro Bowl. He’s done some good things. I don’t know if he really understands what he’s doing is not helpful and it’s a distraction.

"Coach Manusky worked his tail off during the week to get the best game plan together, called man coverage on third down and six which is something 95 percent of coordinators do, and we got an unfortunate call."

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