Alexander not surprised Haslett retained

January, 25, 2014
Jan 25
2:00
PM ET
Lorenzo Alexander wasn't around for the Washington Redskins' mess in 2013. He did watch them struggle and he did hear about all the drama. He also knows the defense did not play as well as they, or anyone, wanted.

But while many assumed Jim Haslett would be fired, Alexander, who signed with Arizona last offseason after seven seasons in Washington, understands why he was not. Nor was he surprised that Haslett was retained by new coach Jay Gruden.

“Obviously he got a lot of flack from how the defense performed this past year, but the NFL is a relationship business,” Alexander said. “He and Jay Gruden coached together in the UFL, so when you have that type of relationship it's a no-brainer he would keep him around.

“Even if Haslett left here and Jay was a head coach somewhere else, he might have brought him on.”

Alexander supported the move from afar, too.

“I think he's a good coordinator,” Alexander said. “A sign of a good coordinator is how he used his personnel. When I was there he used me very effectively and he took insight from the guys as well. Guys respect him. I know I did when I was there. Hopefully they have some success.”

Switching topics, Alexander said he was surprised by the drama that supposedly existed with quarterback Robert Griffin III, mainly because his rookie season didn't foreshadow a bumpy second year. In fairness, while some players say Griffin needs to still mature, they also say they like him. Most of the drama surrounding Griffin focused on his relationship with Mike and Kyle Shanahan.

"I don't know all the ins and outs," Alexander said. "When I was there I never saw that. For all that to come out and come to a head, that's what losing does to you. When you win, you sweep stuff under the rug but when you're losing everything bursts. ...It was sad to see from afar."

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter

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