“It’s not hard to understand why they are where they are right now,” Whitner said when asked about the state of the Redskins.
Whitner then described the instance he “lost all respect for Jay Gruden” during Washington’s 41-21 win over the Chicago Bears on Christmas Eve in 2016.
“Playing the Chicago Bears, winning the game, I almost tear my quad,” Whitner said. “So from what I hear from some of the guys on the sideline, he asked, ‘Who is that out there on the ground?’ They’re like, ‘That’s Whitner, Coach.’ He’s like, ‘Well, let’s get him up so we can get this game over with.’
“That shows that you have no respect for your players,” Whitner said. “Guys is out their putting their bodies and well-being on the line for you and for you to make that comment and I know that you made it. It’s a reason that you’re fired. It’s a reason that your players quit on you. Because you don’t know how to be a people’s person and how to coach and lead men. … He should just be a coordinator. He’s not a leader of men.”
Whitner was placed on injured reserve days later and never played another NFL snap.
“He was one of those guys that smile in your face and talk behind your back and you can feel it,” Whitner later said of Gruden.
Friday’s remarks by Whitner came just a couple of days after Kyle Shanahan, the former Redskins offensive coordinator and current head coach of Sunday’s opponent, the San Francisco 49ers, took a shot at the franchise. He said that the best part of his tenure in Washington was working with his father and some of the other coaches but the worst part was “everything else.”
Whitner, the eighth pick in the 2006 draft by the Bills, made the all-rookie team and played 50 games under defensive coordinator Perry Fewell in Buffalo before the pair reunited when Fewell served as Redskins defensive backs coach in 2016. All that history didn’t spare Fewell from Whitner’s wrath.
“I know more about football than Perry Fewell and a lot of those defensive coordinators and Greg Manusky,” Whitner said. “... These guys are just friends of the coaches. A lot of these coaches are just hiring their friends. They’re not hiring the best teachers and giving people an opportunity to come in, teach the guys, teach them why you’re teaching them what they’re teaching them and then let them go on and have success on the football field."
Whitner continued his criticism of Manusky, Washington’s defensive coordinator who served as outside linebackers coach in 2016. The Redskins’ defense ranks in the bottom seven in yards allowed per game and points allowed per game.
“If you put Greg Manusky in a room and said, ‘Teach me how to disguise a cover-three and make it look like a cover-four and make Tom Brady believe it’ or ‘Show me a Tampa-two that looks like a single-high coverage and manipulate Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, he would not be able to do that,” Whitner said. “He would not be able to do it. So how can you be a defensive coordinator if you don’t know how to manipulate the best minds in the NFL? You can’t be.”
The Junkies asked Whitner for some bright spots on the team, and he highlighted rookie wideout Terry McLaurin and cornerback Quinton Dunbar, calling the latter the best defensive player on the Redskins and stating that he “should be regarded as one of the top cornerbacks in the National Football League and that’s no lie.” Whitner also added that he likes former quarterback Kirk Cousins and had a good relationship with owner Daniel Snyder.
But he quickly pivoted back to criticism, this time discussing cornerback Josh Norman’s relationship with Fewell.
“Josh Norman was never accountable,” Whitner said. “He always used to cry to the defensive backs coach. ‘Aw, P! Aw, P!’ Talking about Perry Fewell. Perry Fewell let him get away with a lot of things. Perry Fewell didn’t hold everybody to the [same] accountability level. He would get on young guys and talk bad to young guys, but when it came to guys that he knew was making a lot of money for the team they could do whatever he wanted and he would still go out there and take up for them. That’s where accountability issues come in, right?”
Whitner isn’t the first person to scrutinize the Redskins this season and probably won’t be the last. Who knows what kind of commentary Saturday will bring?
Read more on the Redskins: