- The Washington Times
Monday, December 29, 2014

Standing at the podium for the last time in a trying 2014 season, Redskins coach Jay Gruden said Monday that several changes will be made this offseason.

If he has his druthers, however, the dismissal of defensive coordinator Jim Haslett will not be among them.

“Would I recommend keeping [Haslett]?” Gruden said, repeating a reporter’s question. “I would recommend keeping him, yes.”

Gruden, repeating assurances he made to The Times on Friday, said he will evaluate all of Washington’s coaches and players in the coming weeks, as will general manager Bruce Allen and owner Dan Snyder. The decision to release or retain an assistant coach or player will not come down to one opinion, Gruden said.

“It’s going to be our decision,” he explained. “It’s something we’re going to live with and something we’re going to do together.”

The Redskins allowed 27.4 points per game this season, more than all but two other NFL teams. Defensive backs regularly blew coverages or missed tackles, and opposing receivers feasted on those miscues en route to huge performances, seemingly week after week.

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Those repeated issues have put Haslett’s future in doubt, with some — including former Redskins linebacker London Fletcher — calling for the fifth-year defensive coordinator to be let go. Current players, however, have spoken up on Haslett’s behalf. And Gruden praised the defensive coordinator’s performance in light of injuries his unit accrued over the course of the season.

“I have a lot of respect for Jim Haslett,” Gruden said. “Coach Haslett had his hands tied a little bit this year. We had a lot of injuries, a lot of issues to our defense, the personnel that not many people have had to go through in this NFL season or in the history of this league, playing with as many different guys at as many different key positions throughout the season. I don’t know what the numbers were but I’m sure they’re up there with a record amount of players that had to start and play in this defense.

“Obviously, from a production standpoint — offense, defense, special teams — we all have to take a step back and look and evaluate everybody, and nobody got the job done this year. You’re 4-12, so we had issues all across the board. I’m not going to talk about fictional things. I’m just going to take a step back here, wait for the meeting with Mr. Snyder and we’ll go from there.”

• Tom Schad can be reached at tschad@washingtontimes.com.

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