WASHINGTON (AP) — Jay Gruden has his first NFL head coaching job, charged with ending the perpetual state of turmoil that has become the Washington Redskins.
He was hired on Thursday after spending the last three seasons as the offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals, where his skill in helping to develop Andy Dalton will no doubt be of use when he takes on the task of grooming another young franchise quarterback, Robert Griffin III.
Gruden replaces Mike Shanahan, who was fired last week after a 3-13 season that ended with eight consecutive losses. The Redskins finished last in the NFC East division during three of Shanahan's four seasons in Washington, a time marked by discord among ownership, quarterback and coach.
Gruden will become Dan Snyder's eighth coach in 16 seasons as an NFL owner. The span includes four winning seasons and seven last-place finishes. Unlike Shanahan, Gruden will not have final say over all gridiron matters. He'll report to general manager Bruce Allen, who has taken charge of assembling the roster and other personnel decisions.
The 46-year-old Gruden has been largely overshadowed by his more famous brother, Jon Gruden, who won a Super Bowl coaching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and is now a TV analyst on "Monday Night Football." But Jay Gruden has been a name on the rise because of his success with Dalton and the Bengals' offense.
Jay Gruden interviewed for multiple head coaching openings last year and had drawn interest from at least three other teams seeking to fill a head coaching vacancy this year. He interviewed with the Tennessee Titans on Tuesday.
Gruden had an inside track on the Redskins job because of his ties within the Washington organization. He was an assistant coach with Tampa Bay from 2002-08, where he worked at various times with Allen, Redskins defensive backs coach Raheem Morris and tight ends coach Sean McVay. Gruden also coached under Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett at the Florida Tuskers in 2009 in the now defunct United Football League.
Gruden played quarterback for the Barcelona Dragons and the Sacramento Surge in the long-defunct World League of American Football in 1990, then went to the Arena Football League and began a playing and coaching career that was so successful it landed him in the AFL Hall of Fame in 1999.