Winless Redskins, Dolphins meet in MiamiReuters | Miami | Updated: 10-10-2019 08:35 IST | Created: 10-10-2019 08:29 IST
Call it the Dysfunction Bowl. The 0-5 Washington Redskins, who just fired coach Jay Gruden on Monday, visit the 0-4 Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
Washington is favored by 3.5 points because ... um ... well ... maybe due to the Redskins' point differential, which is second-worst in the NFL at minus-78, but not as bad as Miami's minus-137. The Dolphins' mark set an NFL low by any team through four games since at least 1940. Gruden was notified on Sunday at 8 p.m. that he was to meet owner Daniel Snyder on Monday at 5 a.m. Gruden figured that he was about to be fired so he drove to his office at around midnight, packed up his stuff and met with Snyder a few hours later.
"I'm not bitter," Gruden told The Washington Post. "This is a production-based business, and I didn't get it done." Dolphins coach Brian Flores also hasn't gotten it done, but he skates for now because it's his first year on the job. Miami has traded away several of its top players in a rebuilding effort that it hopes will pay off in the next few years.
Gruden, 52, was 35-49-1 in more than five full seasons with Washington. He has been replaced by offensive line coach Bill Callahan, who will serve as the interim boss. The Redskins are 42-75 with team president Bruce Allen, who kept his post, as the chief decision-maker. The team has been plagued this year by a number of factors, including the holdout of left tackle Trent Williams and injuries to starting guard Brandon Scherff (ankle) and standout tight end Jordan Reed (concussion).
Redskins starting tackle Moses Morgan (shoulder) was limited in practice Wednesday, as was tight end Vernon Davis (concussion). Scherff returned to limited practice but left tackle Donald Penn (hamstring) sat out. The Dolphins, who are coming off a bye week, have four key players who are uncertain for Sunday's game due to injuries: defensive backs Reshad Jones (ankle), Bobby McCain (hamstring) and Xavien Howard (knee), and offensive tackle Jesse Davis (elbow).
But Miami's biggest issue is not injuries. It's a lack of talent after the team in the past several months dumped former starters such as safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, linebacker Kiko Alonso, defensive end Cam Wake, quarterback Ryan Tannehill, wide receiver Kenny Stills, and offensive tackles Laremy Tunsil and Ja'Wuan James. It's gotten so bad that many Dolphins fans have begun -- on Twitter -- to openly root for a string of losses that could ultimately give Miami the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
But Dolphins center Daniel Kilgore said he and his teammates are not tanking. "We're going to compete our (butts) off," Kilgore said. "We're playing to win."
The Dolphins are relying on second-year quarterback Josh Rosen, who is 0-2 as a starter so far this season but drew support and praise from Flores on Wednesday. Rosen is completing just 51.2 percent of his passes, with one touchdown and three interceptions. "I think he's a young, talented player, and I think he needs to get in there and develop and get reps and just improve," Flores said, affirming Rosen will start the rest of the season.
Miami's running game has been mostly absent, as Kenyan Drake leads the team with just 113 yards (3.6 average). Rookie wide receiver Preston Williams (15 catches, 201 yards) leads the team in receptions. Washington is expected to go back to Case Keenum as the starting quarterback. He is 0-4 as a starter this year -- Colt McCoy took the other loss, last Sunday against the New England Patriots.
Keenum is completing 68.1 percent of his passes for 970 yards with seven touchdowns and four interceptions. Running back Chris Thompson leads Washington in scrimmage yards with 335, including 268 yards on 25 receptions.