Redskins Hire Jay Gruden as New Coach
LOUDOUN COUNTY, VA—Thursday, the Washington Redskins announced the hiring of its new head football coach, Jay Gruden. Gruden spent the last three seasons as offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals and becomes the 29th head coach in franchise history and the eighth since Daniel Snyder became owner in 1999.
Upon the hiring, embattled quarterback Robert Griffin III broke his public silence since the Redskins season ended in December and posted the following on his Facebook and Twitter accounts:

“Excited about the hiring of Coach Jay Gruden. Can't wait to get to work with him & the guys!”

Griffin’s former coaches, Mike Shanahan and his son Kyle (offensive coordinator) were fired at the end of the season. In their four years with the Redskins, the Shanahans compiled a 24-41 record. Despite the poor record, most believe that the circumstances involving Griffin’s knee injuries in the 2012 Wildcard against the Seattle Seahawks is what presaged the beginning of the end for the two-time Super Bowl winning coach in Washington. Griffin opted to “lay low” immediately after the firings stating that he wanted to speak with the coaches first. After thanking the Shanahans for their part in his budding, yet mercurial, two-year career, Griffin later said during a conference call with the media, "Looking forward to a new year and building this team back to where we know it should be."

All the same, the glory days were long ago. Griffin, 23, wasn’t even born the last time the Redskins won. Building a team back to where it should be after 20+ years of destruction is a tall order, one that first time head coach, Gruden will be charged with. But it appears the Redskins, once again, got their man.

According to the WaPo:

“I think it was a good hire,” a front office executive from another NFL team said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to be viewed as prying into the Redskins’ business. “He’s well regarded. Other teams wanted him. He’ll do a good job with the quarterback.”

Gruden was reportedly being solicited by the Tennessee Titans, Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings, with his preference being the Titans. However, the Redskins made him an offer he couldn’t refuse, signing him to a five-year deal for an undisclosed amount.

Gruden, who seems very well briefed on the most recent state of his new team didn’t mince words stating to 106.7 The Fan that the previously benched “Robert Griffin III is the starter. There will be no competition.”

Gruden, who already has many ties to Redskins brass, will be switching roles with a familiar face as he takes on head coaching duties. Jim Haslett, who is expected to remain as defensive coordinator, hired Gruden as an assistant with the United Football League's Florida Tuskers in 2009. The duo led the Tuskers to the UFL championship game and Gruden, who remained on after Haslett left to join the Redskins, took over as head coach. It was Gruden’s second opportunity as headman in charge. His first, in the Arena League where he is a member of the indoor league’s Hall of Fame as a successful player and coach.

During his introduction, Gruden thanked his older brother, Jon, who gave him his first NFL job with the 2002 Super Bowl champion Buccaneers. “I wouldn’t be sitting here today without learning everything that I know about football from him,” Gruden said. “What a great brother. What a great person. What a great football coach.”

Gruden has had an existing relationship with Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen as well as Haslett, defensive backs coach Raheem Morris and tight ends coach Sean McVay—all who expect to be retained.

That Gruden’s personality seems to be everything Shanahan’s wasn’t: young, friendly, charismatic and flexible will surely lure many fed up Redskins fans back into the fold. But whether or not that translates into wins is still to be determined.  

Excluding interim coaches, Gruden, 46, becomes the team’s youngest head coaching hire since hiring Joe Gibbs at 40 years of age in 1981. In his tenure in Cincinnati from 2011-13, the Bengals averaged 10 wins a season, making three consecutive playoff appearances and earning an AFC North championship in 2013. Members of the Bengals’ offense accounted for seven Pro Bowl selections in his three seasons in Cincinnati.

Gruden’s former boss, 2009 coach of the year Marvin Lewis who signed a contract 5-year extension the same year Gruden was brought to the Bengals released this statement.

"I’m ecstatic for Jay. From the first time we met I’ve been a Jay Gruden fan, and I’m grateful for what he did for us, his work with a young quarterback and helping take us where we’ve been, the last three seasons in the playoffs."

Gruden said that he’ll serve as play caller and described his offense as indescribable but offered that he’s open.

“I think we have to adhere to what we have offensively talent-wise,” said Gruden. “We can do the read-option. We can do naked bootlegs. We can run outside zone. We can run bubble screens. We can run deep. We can do play-action. I think the whole idea to be a successful offense is to be diverse and be good at a lot of different things and not just one.”

It’s safe to say Gruden’s relationship with Griffin will be among the most parsed in the NFL but the new coach has already enjoyed success with young Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton.

"Jay’s first year was my rookie year, and it was cool coming in together and growing and getting better," Dalton said. "Jay was big on asking my input, what I’m most comfortable with and any ideas I had," Dalton said. "With Jay, I had a very positive transition from college to the NFL. I feel fortunate to have had him as my only pro coordinator. He’s helped me in a lot of ways

The new head coach also said that he hadn’t made a final decision on whether or not the defense would continue running a 3-4 or 4-3.

A day into his new job and Gruden is off to a good start but as eight other men can tell you, it isn’t how you start with the Washington Redskins, it’s if you finish.