With the NFL season over, at least for teams that were terrible last year, the Washington Redskins have wasted no time in making changes to their leadership, and today the word has come out via ESPN’s Adam Schefter that they have hired Jay Gruden as their new head coach.
With the NFL season over, at least for teams that were terrible last year, the Washington Redskins have wasted no time in making changes to their leadership, and today the word has come out via ESPN’s Adam Schefter that they have hired Jay Gruden as their new head coach. After firing head coach Mike Shanahan, who had been with the Redskins since 2010, speculation as to who the Redskins would hire as their next head coach revolved around several names, and Gruden was definitely one of them. The brother of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach (and current Monday Night Football sportscaster) Jon Gruden, Jay Gruden has spent the past three seasons as offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals. Before that, he worked as the offensive coordinator for the Buccaneers from 2002 until 2008, which coincided not only with his brother’s time as head coach of that team, but with current Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen’s time as general manager of the Bucs.
Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer was also interviewed for the Redskins head coach position, which raises the question of whether Gruden will attempt to enlist Zimmer as his own defensive coordinator going forward. Fans have certainly not been happy with the performance of current defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, who led the Redskins to a defensive performance generally ranked as one of the worst in the league in 2013. However, Gruden and Haslett previously worked together as offensive and defensive coordinators with the Florida Tuskers of the UFL in 2009. Therefore, Gruden may retain Haslett and see what they can put together next year.
As for Gruden himself, he is a former football player, though only in the Arena Football League. However, he had a great record in that league, winning six of the league’s Arena Bowl championship games as the quarterback for the Tampa Bay Storm and Orlando Predators. Gruden has never been the head coach of an NFL team before, but as a coach in the Arena Football League and the UFL, he has a cumulative record of 93-61. During his time as the offensive coordinator of the Bengals for the past three years, the team’s record was 30-18, and they made the playoffs all three years. Of course, they also lost their first playoff game in all three of those years, so this record isn’t but so impressive. Nonetheless, after Mike Shanahan only managed to produce one winning season in his four years with the team, fans are ready to see some changes made. Gruden’s lack of experience as an NFL head coach leave some questions as to what he’ll truly be capable of in that position, but if his previous stats are any indication, he appears to be a promising hire.