Head coach Jay Gruden of the Washington Redskins reacts on...

Head coach Jay Gruden of the Washington Redskins reacts on the sidelines during the second half of the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on Oct. 12, 2014 in Glendale, Ariz. Credit: Getty Images / Christian Petersen

The year began with so much optimism for Washington coach Jay Gruden. But at 3-7 and with growing doubts about Gruden's ability to get along with hypersensitive quarterback Robert Griffin III, the idea of Gruden being out at season's end is gaining traction. A road loss to the 49ers Sunday, and the speculation will only grow. Gruden went to almost unheard-of lengths in critiquing Griffin during his press briefing on Monday, pointing out flaws in his mechanics and decision-making ability. Gruden backed off by Wednesday, suggesting he shouldn't put so much on just one player. But he couldn't put the toothpaste back in the tube on this one.

Team owner Daniel Snyder, who is very close to Griffin, isn't above firing a coach after just one year. He fired Marty Schottenheimer after his initial season in 2001, and Jim Zorn lasted just two seasons before being canned in 2009.

Wagner returns

The defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks, coming off a loss last Sunday to the Chiefs that dropped them to 6-4, face a huge game against the 9-1 Cardinals at home. It's not quite win-or-else, but it's close. The Seahawks did get some encouraging news for this one, though. Linebacker Bobby Wagner, who had been out since Week 6 with a toe injury, is set to make his return. "It has felt like an eternity since I've played," Wagner told reporters this week. "I'm excited to be back."

Gordon is back, just in time

The Browns welcome back wide receiver Josh Gordon, who has been reinstated after being suspended for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Gordon makes his 2014 debut against the Falcons in Atlanta.

It's a welcome sight for quarterback Brian Hoyer, who has been mostly a dink-and-dunk quarterback so far this season. Hoyer's numbers have tailed off significantly after a hot start. Over his first five games, he had seven touchdowns and just one interception. Over his last five, he has four touchdowns and four interceptions.

The 4-6 Falcons, meanwhile, are suddenly tied with the Saints atop the awful NFC South. After a woeful start, which included a five-game losing streak, the Falcons have won two straight and play at the Georgia Dome, where Matt Ryan has enjoyed tremendous successs. Ryan is 38-11 lifetime at home, throwing 80 touchdowns and 30 interceptions for a 98.1 rating.

Peyton is scuffling

After a red-hot start, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has been mostly ordinary the last three games, as the Broncos have lost twice in that span. After throwing just three interceptions in his first seven games, Manning has six over his last three. Blame poor pass protection and injuries to several skill position players for the slump. Tight end Julius Thomas (ankle), wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (concussion), and running backs Montee Ball (groin) and Ronnie Hillman (foot) have all missed time recently.


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