Jay Gruden was named the head coach of the Redskins on Thursday, Jan. 9 at a news conference in Washington, D.C. Gruden served the previous three seasons as the offensive coordinator for the Bengals.
Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden speaks at a news conference Monday, Feb. 7, 2011, in Cincinnati. Gruden replaces Bob Bratkowski on the NFL football team. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
Former Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is the new head coach of the Washington Redskins.
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CINCINNATI -- Jay Gruden is the new head coach of the Washington Redskins.
Gruden, the Bengals former offensive coordinator, was introduced by the team at a 4 p.m. news conference in Washington, D.C. He received a five-year deal but the terms of the contract were not immediately clear.
“There’s a lot you want to accomplish but you want the players to come in and now they can expect the best," he said during the press conference. "If they believe that then we’ll have a chance to succeed right away."
Gruden replaces Mike Shanahan, who was fired one day after the season ended. The 46-year-old becomes the sixth coach hired by team owner Dan Snyder in his 15 years at the helm; none have lasted more than four years. Former Miami (Ohio) wide receiver Sean McVay will be named Gruden's offensive coordinator, according to multiple media reports. The 27-year-old has served as the Redskins' tight ends coach since 2011, and previously worked with Gruden in the UFL and with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"I like Sean, I like Sean a lot, and I expect a lot from him," Gruden said during the news conference.
Schefter also reported via Twitter that the Bengals plan to promote current running backs coach Hue Jackson to offensive coordinator. NFL beat reporter Michael Silver tweeted that Jackson said "it's awesome" after learning the plan was for him to be promoted to lead the team's offense. RELATED: Titans interview Bengals coordinator Mike Zimmer ALSO: Bengals name Hue Jackson offensive coordinator
That news was confirmed Thursday night by Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. “I am very excited to move forward with Hue,” Lewis said in a press release. “Hue’s expertise in all aspects of football and coaching is very wide.”
Jackson, who is expected to implement a more balanced attack, has plenty of experience as an offensive coordinator. He previously held that title for the Raiders, Falcons and Redskins, as well as in college at USC and Cal. He was also the Raiders’ head coach in 2011.
Gruden, the younger brother of NFL analyst and former head coach Jon Gruden, was one of the hottest names on the coaching market since the Bengals' season came to an abrupt end following a wild-card round playoff loss Sunday to the San Diego Chargers.
He interviewed with the Redskins organization on Wednesday and visited Tennessee Tuesday to interview for the vacant Titans job. He also had visits scheduled with Minnesota and Detroit but decided Washington, D.C. was the place for him before taking those meetings. After taking over the team's offensive coordinator position in 2011, Gruden helped mold the Bengals into a dynamic West Coast-style offense that features a plethora of young talent. The team improved in points per game during that time, going from 18th to 12th to sixth. They were the NFL's 10th-ranked offense in total yards in 2013.
Members of the Bengals’ offense accounted for seven Pro Bowl selections during his time in Cincinnati.
Some thought Gruden's role in helping Marvin Lewis turn the once-struggling Bengals organization into a perennial playoff contender would lead him to pursue a head-coaching position after last season. Despite going on multiple interviews, he was compelled to return to the Bengals for another season.
However, after a third straight playoff berth and team's first AFC North title since 2009, the former University of Louisville quarterback made it clear in a Bengals.com interview that he felt ready to take the next professional step if it the right opportunity presented itself.
"I've been in the league now three years as a coordinator and obviously with my brother for a lot of years. If that challenge were to come about, I think I'd be ready," said Gruden, who previously worked with current Redskins general manager Bruce Allen in Tampa Bay while a member of his brother's coaching staff. Part of the challenge in D.C. for Gruden will be resurrecting the career of one-time surefire prospect quarterback Robert Griffin III. Griffin was benched for the final after a season full of controversy, injuries and poor play.
During the media event, Gruden praised Griffin's talent, but added that "He's got to understand that I expect a lot from the starting quarterback...I expect him to be a leader of this team." He also said he has built a "genuine trust" in "RG III," the franchise's cornerstone.
Gruden has a history of working with young quarterbacks, especially his protégé Andy Dalton, who threw for more than 3,000 yards in each of his first three seasons after being drafted in the second round of the 2011 draft. During that time together, Gruden helped Dalton to a 30-18 regular season record as a starter (.625), as Dalton’s 30 wins in that time frame ranked tied for fifth-most among NFL quarterbacks.
also led a successful pass-happy offense as the head coach of the Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League.
Thursday's move could be the first of several notable changes to the Bengals' coaching staff. Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, 57, the architect of one of the top defensive units in the NFL, is among the top candidates for several of the remaining open coaching gigs. While Zimmer would only confirm that several teams had expressed interest Monday, there were reports he had an interview set in Tennessee and several reports have linked him to the job in Minnesota. Rapport reported Thursday morning via Twitter that Zimmer is one of three finalists for the position with the Vikings,
The last Bengals coordinator to leave to become a head coach was Bruce Coslet in 1990 who left to take the New York Jets job.