Reports: Jay Gruden Hired As Next Coach Of Redskins

Posted on January 09, 2014 by Harvey Valentine

During his 15 years as Redskins owner, Daniel Snyder has shown a preference for experienced big names when hiring coaches -- going that route three times. He's also tried a hot college coach in Steve Spurrier and an outside-the-box pick in Jim Zorn.

None of those approaches has gotten him a Lombardi Trophy. This time around, the Redskins are going the coordinator route, hiring Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, according to multiple reports.

The Redskins will introduce the 29th coach in franchise history at a 4 p.m. press conference Jan. 9 at Redskins Park. Gruden has reportedly agreed to a five-year contract.

No coach during the Snyder era thus far has exceeded four years. On Dec. 30, Washington fired Mike Shanahan, who went 24-40 during four seasons and didn't always get along with franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III. 

Gruden has spent the past three seasons with Cincinnati, helping guide them to three consecutive playoff appearances.

This season didn't end well, as the Bengals were bounced from the playoffs Jan. 5 despite being favored at home against San Diego, and quarterback Andy Dalton turned in another poor postseason performance.

That said, the Bengals' offense finished 10th in total yards this season, averaging 368.2 per game and ranking sixth in the NFL in points per game (26.9). They ranked 22nd in total yards in 2012 and 20th in 2011. Dalton, a 2011 draft pick, passed for 4,296 yards and 33 touchdowns, both Bengals records, in 2013.

From 2002-08, Gruden was an offensive assistant for his brother, Jon, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the team's general manager was current Redskins GM Bruce Allen. Redskins secondary coach Raheem Morris and tight ends coach Sean McVay worked for Tampa Bay when Gruden coached there. 

Gruden has also worked with Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett in the United Football League. The Redskins retained Morris, McVay and Haslett after they fired Shanahan. There are some reports that Haslett will remain as defensive coordinator and McVay will take over the Redskins' offense.

Allen cast a wide net in his search for Shanahan's replacement, interviewing or requesting permission to speak with a variety of NFL coordinators and college coach James Franklin. The search apparently did not include meetings with any big-name former coaches, who might have wanted the type of control over personnel that Shanahan enjoyed.

According to reports, Gruden was the sixth candidate interviewed, following Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and Dallas Cowboys special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia.

Following the Jan. 8 meeting, the two sides reportedly began working on a deal, and Gruden, who had already met with the Tennessee Titans, put a planned Jan. 9 interview in Minnesota on hold.

Gruden played college football at Louisville. From 1991-96, he played quarterback for the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League. He was head coach for the AFL's Orlando Predators for nine seasons (1998-2001 and 2004-08), leading the team to four championship game appearances, with two league titles.

In 2002 and 2003, he took a hiatus from coaching the Predators and returned to the playing field as Orlando's quarterback, leading two playoff seasons. He was elected to the AFL Hall of Fame in 1999.

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