The Redskins’ season ended 12 days ago, and it’s already been a long offseason

Redskins Coach Jay Gruden at his news conference following the season finale. (Photo by Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Let’s imagine an alternate world in which Kirk Cousins surveys the field during that last Washington drive against the New York Giants, considers a first-down throw into traffic and suddenly imagines the terrible angst and drama such a throw might cause. Instead of forcing that, he slides for six yards, an insignificant prelude to his game-winning touchdown pass for the Redskins.

Don’t feel sorry for the Giants; they just wanted to rip off their shirts and party on a boat with Bieber anyhow. But that scenario sure could have changed life in Washington.

In that world, offensive coordinator Sean McVay does not have an early interview in which he wows the Rams; instead, he’s preparing for a first-round game in Seattle. Jay Gruden — with back-to-back playoff appearances going into his fourth season — has an aura of security, appealing to prospective defensive coordinators. The sports-radio callers advocating the team ditch its choke-artist quarterback in favor of Nate Sudfeld or Deshaun Watson instead are spending their afternoons painting velvet likenesses of The Posse in their garages. Heck, maybe the Redskins even pull off a playoff surprise in Seattle, raising the possibility of a contract extension for Gruden.

Things sure are peaceful, huh? And no editors are asking me to write about the team’s suddenly chaotic offseason on a lovely Friday afternoon.

But alas. Cousins threw the ball. The Giants collected a win just before stripping down with Bieber. The Redskins fired their defensive coordinator, lost their play-caller to Los Angeles and now enter Gruden’s prove-it year with all the stability of a two-legged chair — and one of those legs still might feel disrespected and unwanted.

This isn’t exactly a crisis, and there’s no rule that you have to finalize your coaching staff by the second week of January. Wade Phillips — the man so many local fans have spent years lusting after to run the defense — didn’t arrive in Denver until Jan. 28, 2015, and his defense won the Broncos a Super Bowl that same season.