In a move that may not be as splashy as some would’ve liked, the Washington Redskins have tabbed Jay Gruden as the successor to Mike Shanahan as the team’s head coach.
Gruden (yes, Jon’s brother) had been the offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals since 2011, and prior to that spent many years as a head coach and a coordinator in the Arena Football League. Washington apparently became quite smitten with Gruden upon interviewing him, as the team’s GM, Bruce Allen, said it was a unanimous decision to bring him on immediately following the meeting. They also gave him a five-year deal, which is rather rare for a first-time NFL head coach. The Redskins were motivated to get a deal done with Gruden before he could leave town for an interview with Minnesota that had been scheduled for later in the week. Mission accomplished.
Gruden and Allen were already acquainted due to having worked together for several years in the mid-2000s with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where Gruden was an offensive assistant. He’ll have his work cut out for him, though, as the Redskins are coming off a miserable 3-13 season, and their first-round pick in the upcoming draft (No. 2 overall) belongs to the Rams as a result of the Robert Griffin III trade from 2012.
Griffin is still the focal point of Washington’s franchise, despite an uninspiring, injury-plagued sophomore campaign. Gruden has already come out and said that RGIII is the unquestioned starting quarterback going forward. He was clearly not the same player following his ACL injury in last year’s playoffs, and the team’s offense was a mess from game one. The defense wasn’t helping matters, either, as that unit ranked just 18th in the league in total defense.