With a quintet of losses to begin the season and the hopeful future franchise quarterback still without a start, Jay Gruden’s tenure leading the Washington Redskins came to its conclusion on Monday.
Following a 33-7 loss to the Patriots, Gruden was fired, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. The team later confirmed the report and issued the following statement:
“Through the first five games of the 2019 season, the team has clearly not performed up to expectations, and we all share in that responsibility. Moving forward we are committed to doing all that we can collectively as an organization to turn things around and give our Redskins fans and alumni a team they can be proud of in 2019 and beyond.”
The dismissal comes five weeks into Gruden’s sixth season helming the Redskins, having tallied an underwhelming 35-49-1 record with just one playoff appearance.
Following its first 0-5 start since 2001, Washington moves on from Gruden as the team is on track for its third straight losing season after consecutive 7-9 showings.
Assistant head coach and offensive line coach Bill Callahan will become the interim head coach, according to Rapoport. Callahan was the head coach in Oakland in 2002 and 2003, leading the Raiders to Super Bowl XXXVII.
In hindsight, the most notable production of Gruden’s tenure may well have been the emergence of Sean McVay, the current Rams head coach who already has a Super Bowl appearance under his belt and is highly regarded for his offensive mind. McVay was the offensive coordinator for the Redskins during Gruden’s only two winning seasons — a 9-7 showing in 2015 that produced the team’s only postseason appearance over Gruden’s stay and an 8-7-1 tally in 2016.
While Gruden was clearly aiming to keep his job, he kept Case Keenum in as the starter. Though Keenum’s numbers were solid, the losses mounted and the clamoring to see rookie Dwayne Haskins escalated. Selected 15th in the 2019 NFL Draft, Haskins is seen as the future franchise quarterback, but Gruden was hesitant to pull the trigger on the rookie. Gruden finally called on Haskins out of the bullpen to relieve a skidding Keenum against the Giants in Week 4 and the rookie threw three interceptions. A week later and a lopsided loss to the Patriots awaited with Colt McCoy now starting and finding the same struggles and end result. The official start of the Haskins era remains in limbo and though it seems inevitable, it’s still yet to happen.
And it won’t happen with Gruden as head coach.
Injuries have plagued the Redskins over the last few seasons, most notably at the quarterback position which aided in the uncertainty of Haskins’ situation and the overall chaos of the QB room. Alex Smith suffered a horrible leg injury last year, causing the Redskins to move forward though not completely shutting the door on Smith. McCoy, really the only consistent presence under center with Gruden as he’s been his reserve QB since 2014, then suffered a season-ending injury of his own. Keenum was then traded for in the offseason.
Gruden began his days leading Washington in 2014 with a quarterback battle between Robert Griffin and Kirk Cousins.
The reins were eventually handed to Cousins and then Smith when the former moved on to Minnesota.
While the quarterback situation is at the forefront of the news cycle, the Redskins have struggled in every aspect so far this season.
For a second consecutive season, the promise of running back Derrius Guice has been sidelined due to injury. Before he was injured this season, though, Gruden decided that Adrian Peterson would be a healthy inactive, which caused a stir. The defense, despite boasting talented players such as Josh Norman, Landon Collins and Ryan Kerrigan, has also struggled mightily this season. And perhaps the Redskins‘ most talented player, left tackle Trent Williams, is the NFL’s only remaining holdout.
It wasn’t one thing with the Redskins, it was very much everything that was going wrong in Washington.
A change needed to be made and it came Monday with the end of the Gruden regime in D.C.