SNIDER: Patriot Way should be the Redskins' blueprint

Rick Snider
February 04, 2019 - 12:11 pm

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


New England coach Bill Belichick won his sixth Super Bowl on Sunday by continuing his old-school method to success – urgency.

Sure, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is the greatest of all time. But he's also the only real connection over the Super Bowl reign that has gone on so long some teammates pretended they were the passer when playing youth football.

Brady aside, Belichick's success comes from the unrelenting desire to improve every single day. The desire to push through any problem. The standard of excellence overlapping every moment. And now that the season's over, Belichick won't waste a minute getting ready for the next.

That's where the Redskins should start because urgency has been sorely lacking since their Super Bowl streak ended in 1991.

Coach Jay Gruden saw Belichick's system up close in 2014 when the Patriots practiced with the Redskins during training camp. It was like a sandlot team watching the rich prep school invade their field and whip them into submission. The Patriots did everything from warmups to drills with crisp precision. Brady never let the ball hit the ground when practicing against the Redskins.

Gruden should have watched those practice films till the pixels faded because Belichick tipped his secret that day – do it right, even when no one's watching at a summer practice in Richmond.

That's been the biggest problem over Gruden's five seasons in Washington – no urgency. No accountability of players. When a play was blown in practice, some past Redskins coaches like Joe Gibbs, Norv Turner and Marty Schottenheimer would run it again and even again until done the right way. Players were held accountable on the spot. While safety D.J. Swearinger's public criticism of Redskins coaches got him released last season, he wasn't wrong.

"Club Jay" is a millennial approach to a kinder, gentler life. Gruden is a good guy and a good coach, but his shortfall is Belichick's strength. Do it right every day in every way.

The one time I've seen Gruden really mad during practice came after cornerback Bashaud Breeland delivered a cheap shot to receiver Terrelle Pryor during a training camp drill in 2017. Gruden threw Breeland out of practice. But it takes a whole lot to push Gruden to the edge.

It's about pace and production on the practice fields. Making players realize they either step up or get out. For too many years, owner Dan Snyder undermined his coaches with elite players.

That doesn't happen anymore, but Gruden needs to look at what's probably his final season in Washington with some urgency. Same goes for the team's personnel department. Either make this team better now, or start looking at airline schedules.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks.