One of the hottest names of the NFL offseason has found a new job, as Jay Gruden has agreed to become the new head coach of the Washington Redskins.
ESPN's Adam Schefter was the first to break news of the deal:
Jay Gruden has agreed to become the next head coach of the Washington Redskins, per league source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 9, 2014
Rich Tandler of CSN Washington adds confirms it was a 5-year deal:
Bruce Allen confirmed a five-year contract for Jay Gruden. #RedskinsTalk— Rich Tandler (@Rich_TandlerCSN) January 9, 2014
Schefter also reported on Gruden's first hire, the offensive coordinator in Washington:
Redskins expected to hire Sean McVay as their offensive coordinator, per league sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 9, 2014
CBS' Jason La Canfora confirms the OC hiring:
Skins coach Sean McVay has finalized his new contract to remain with the team as OC. No surprise there. He was the guy from the get go— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 14, 2014
Daniel Shiferaw of CSN Washington provides this quote from Gruden, who speaks about how he wanted to handle the situation as it pertains to media:
Whoa. Gruden on @CSNwashington just now: "I'm not going to go behind [players'] back and whisper to the media, not that it happened before"— Daniel Shiferaw (@dshif) January 9, 2014
As for Gruden's replacement in Cincinnati, the Bengals confirmed that Hue Jackson will take over as offensive coordinator:
We have named Hue Jackson as offensive coordinator to replace Jay Gruden, who was hired as Redskins head coach. #Bengals— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) January 9, 2014
Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reports on the length of the deal:
I'm told Grudens deal with Redskins is a 5 year deal. Also hearing he was pretty much tabbed last night— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) January 9, 2014
Zac Boyer of The Washington Times reports that Jim Haslett will remain the team's defensive coordinator:
According to someone familiar with the decision, Sean McVay will be the #Redskins' OC and Jim Haslett the Redskins' DC.— Zac Boyer (@ZacBoyer) January 9, 2014
At Thursday's press conference, both Washington general manager Bruce Allen and Gruden spoke about the job and the hiring process, via Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan and Tarik El-Bashir of CSN Washington:
Bruce Allen: "We were looking for a new leader, somebody who could inspire our football team.. We were able to bring Jay in." #Redskins— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) January 9, 2014
Jay Gruden: "This is a once in a lifetime deal."— Tarik El-Bashir (@TarikCSN) January 9, 2014
Mike Jones of the Washington Post provides this quote from Robert Griffin III, who spoke about the hiring on Facebook:
RGIII on facebook: "Excited about the hiring of Coach Jay Gruden. Can't wait to get to work with him & the guys!"— Mike Jones (@MikeJonesWaPo) January 9, 2014
Some believe that the Redskins are merely saying that Griffin had no involvement in the process, due to sensitivities regarding the perception that Griffin has too much power. After all, how could the team not involve Griffin, given the critical nature of the coach-quarterback relationship?
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, it’s the truth. Griffin wasn’t involved. Indeed, the source said it’s still not clear whether the two men have spoken, even after Gruden had gotten the job.
The 46-year-old coach is the brother of former Super Bowl winning coach and current analyst Jon Gruden. While this name recognition helps in some respects, Jay has formed an impressive resume on his own.
After coaching in the Arena Football League and the United Football League, Gruden spent the last three seasons as the offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals. Before he joined the organization, the offense ranked only 22nd in the league in points scored. However, that number improved to 18th in 2011, 12th in 2012 and sixth in 2013.
This impressive rise is what made him such a promising candidate for head coaching jobs around the league. ESPN's Adam Schefter noted how in-demand Gruden was:
Titans, Lions, Vikings and Redskins each requesting permission to interview Bengals OC Jay Gruden, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 6, 2014
After the Bengals were eliminated from the playoffs, the coach discussed his readiness for the interview process with Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com:
I've been in the league now three years as a coordinator and obviously with my brother for a lot of years. If that challenge were to come about, I think I'd be ready. They're all different and they're all looking for something unique. They're looking for somebody to come in and bring something different than what they had. … I think the most important thing when you go to any interview is to be yourself and not try to be somebody you're not.
The Redskins were obviously looking for something different after a poor 2013 season where they finished 3-13 and second-year quarterback Robert Griffin III took significant steps back in his development under Mike Shanahan. Washington will hope Gruden's offensive approach will help turn things around in a hurry.
Of course, not everyone believes he has what it takes to be a head coach in the NFL. Mike Silver of NFL.com discusses the coach's lack of success in the playoffs:
Jay Gruden as offensive coordinator: Three playoff games, 33 points. And, now, four interviews. What a league...— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) January 6, 2014
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller also questioned Gruden's ability:
I know a lot of people like Jay Gruden, but I'm not impressed with his play-calling or scheming.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) January 5, 2014
However, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com is reporting that Griffin wants to play in a more pro-style offense, which should mesh well with Gruden's background:
From what I’m told, RGIII wants to play in a pro-style offense, rather than run read-option plays all the time. Should work with Jay Gruden— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 9, 2014
There are also question marks about his lack of experience at this level. Aside from the three years with the Bengals and a few seasons as an offensive assistant for his brother with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the rest of his time in coaching was with the AFL and UFL.
Still, the league's newest head coach will get a chance to prove doubters wrong starting in 2014. If things go according to plan, he has the potential to remain in his position for a long time.
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