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Washington Fires Jay Gruden

The Washington Redskins called head coach Jay Gruden to the facility at 5 am this morning to fire him after an 0-5 start. Washington is awful this season but it isn't like Gruden had a lot to work with, with a rookie quarterback and two veteran backups competing for the starting job, and Trent Williams holding out, and injuries at tight end, and all the drafting problems that Washington has had over the years. Gruden will be replaced by Bill Callahan, who ironically replaced his brother Jon in Oakland 17 years ago.

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56 comments, Last at 09 Oct 2019, 10:02pm

2 Yikes

That seems like a dick move, Monday is usually an off day for the players and surely you could fire him right when the day starts for the coaching staff.

3 Welcome to the Bruce Allen…

In reply to by habeasdorkus

Welcome to the Bruce Allen experience. The man couldn't even bother to learn his QBs name ("Kurt" Cousins). WASTEAM will continue to be irrelevant until Snyder and Allen are gone.

As an Eagles fan, though, I'm all for Bruce Allen and Dave Gettleman trying to turn the NFC East into a reflection of the AFC East.

16 It's a little different -…

It's a little different - the Giants and Redskins just look like they tend towards mediocrity, not godawful horrible. Drafting Barkley or Jones weren't necessarily *bad* choices, just "not the best" choices. Not the same as signing Bell to a $10M contract with a disaster of an offensive line, or giving up a 2nd round pick for Rosen when you're going to tank and collect draft picks.

54 It was a 3rd

Frankly, I just think they decided the value was too great to pass up. The guys was the 10th overall for a reason. Getting him for a 3rd seems like the best move they made all offseason.

23 I don't get the 5am thing either

In reply to by habeasdorkus

I've never understood the train of thought that results in, "let's fire the coach really early tomorrow morning". Snyder and Allen had all afternoon/evening to make the decision, and by all accounts had already been thinking about it for awhile. So why not just pull the trigger on Sunday? Seems like a hassle for everyone with no actual benefits.

I want to attribute to the general dysfunction in Washington, but I feel like this isn't an isolated case.

25 I knew a guy once,  who…

I knew a guy once,  who owned a car dealership, who used to fire sales people over the PA system. Salesperson would be out on the lot, pitching a SUV to some prospect, and over the speaker he'd hear his name....."Joe Blow, you're done. Go clean out your desk and pick up your last check at the office". 

Wouldn't it be great if coaches were axed at the two minute warning, announced by the referee? 

"Two minute warning. Washington owner has fired head coach....."

26 Dysfunctional companies are…

Dysfunctional companies are not so unusual, especially when they aren't being regularly held accountable. I used to work at a company which put the fun in dysfunction.


On one occasion, one of your engineers proclaimed in our standup that he was going to moving on. At that point, our team lead was called into the execs office where they asked him...should we just fire him now in front of everybody? My team lead was slackjawed...fire him?? You mean after everyone knows hes leaving because of a new job?

On another occasion, my friend told myself and a few others that she had landed a new job. She then told the execs privately she had found another position. They asked if she had told anyone and she mentioned that she had told a few people. They told her to keep it under wraps until they could provide a positive spin. She did so. After 2 weeks, she left and no one said anything. About a month later, someone asked where she was and they said she had been fired. Mind you, they said this knowing full well that several of us already knew the truth.

Those are just two of the funnier stories. There are several others that are much more depressing. In any event, it doesn't take much imagination to think about what working at a place like the Redskins would feel like. 

11 Yeah, how does that work? …

Yeah, how does that work?  Did he get a phone call at 5am, saying to come in?  Did they call him at 4am and tell him to be there at 5?  Did they call him the night before and tell him to be there at 5am?

19 From the Washington Post:

Gruden, who knew once he received word late Sunday night of the early Monday meeting that it was almost certainly to discuss his being fired, arrived at the facility to find Snyder and Allen already there. After they informed him that he was being terminated, Gruden thanked them for the opportunity and left.

15 In this case,  however, the…

In this case,  however, the guy was coaching minor league football from age 37 through age 43, then had two years as an NFL coordinator, and then will have made perhaps as much as 30 million as an NFL head coach, despite very little success.

That's a really, really, lucky career arc.



28 depends on one's perspective

If he wanted to be a successful head coach, he was pretty much screwed by the factors beyond his control.

He may have done enough to be get another shot at it some day.  Though certainly for now offensive coordinator is his ceiling.  

5 Not that there were any real…

Not that there were any real good options, but choosing to start Colt McCoy over Case Keenum was like hanging up a big sign announcing that you're trying to lose.

9 I think the sign actually…

I think the sign actually read "Haskins shouldn't have been our first round pick".

Maybe Gruden never gave Haskins a fair shot, maybe Gruden's right that Haskins isn't ready yet, but when you bench your starter and turn to Colt McCoy (1-0 career record vs the Pats notwithstanding) before your first round draft pick, that's a pretty clear signal from the coach to the front office.

12 This is another one of those…

This is another one of those behind the scenes things that I would love to know how it's working.  Things like:


1) Would the Redskins really draft a guy like Haskins if their head coach didn't want to draft him?

2) If management did pick Haskins against Gruden's wishes, why would Gruden NOT start Haskins?  He has to know he's on the hot seat.  Isn't this a middle finger to management? Maybe he wanted to be fired

30 answers

1) The Redskins drafted RGIII when Shanahan didn't want him.  Shanahan certainly didn't want to make the big trade to the Rams to get him.  Shanahan showed his displeasure by drafting Cousins in the same draft.

Unlike the case with Shanahan, Gruden was never promised control over personnel.  But it wasn't just Gruden: the entire scouting staff reportedly did not think Haskins was worth taking at #15 overall.  But the word came down from on high, and Haskins was taken.

At least, that's what the local gossip says.

2) Gruden has been fighting for control of his own lineup since the day he was hired.  When he started, he caved to the pressure to start RGIII ahead of Cousins.  And he played along with the RGIII-camp desire to use him only as a pocket passer, even though he was terrible at it.  And it didn't work.  But it took a long time to get Snyder to admit it wasn't working and to move on to Cousins.  Even though, management didn't like Cousins, and treated him as an unworthy QB (in the most ridiculous way possible - they 'saved money' on a long-term contract by using the franchise tag two years in a row.  Aside: don't use a franchise tag on a QB, unless he's at a minimum a Pro Bowler.  Short-term money concerns matter, too.  Paying Kirk Cousins nearly $44 million over two years to play QB is one of the worst decisions of the Dan Sndyer/Bruce Allen era.)

Fast forward to this season: since the Alex Smith injury, the Redskins haven't really had a credible starter at QB.  Keenum has some skill, but he's never been considered great.  Colt McCoy is a career backup, but he has more reps under Jay Gruden than anybody.  Haskins is, to Gruden's thinking, at least a year away from being ready to play.

I'm guessing Gruden just got sick of the b.s.  He played the game of taking orders from Snyder about the QB once, and it didn't help the team all that much.  At some point, you get sick of being disrespected.  Gruden may not be a great head coach, but he knows football a hell of a lot better than Dan Snyder does.  So, after Keenum went down with his injury, Gruden played Haskins vs. the Giants.  And Snyder flunkies like Louis Riddick in the media excoriated Gruden for "setting Haskins up to fail."  After that, was Gruden supposed to throw Haskins in against the defense of the Patriots?  

As Gruden said last week, he's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.  If he plays Haskins, and Haskins is awful, it's Gruden's fault.  If he doesn't play Haskins, it's Gruden's fault.  So he started Colt McCoy because he thought McCoy was his best option for that game.  

McCoy didn't look great, but Gruden really didn't have any better options.  I don't quite get the people who say "why didn't he play Haskins" as if he hadn't done exactly that one week earlier.  There seems to be some belief that, if only Jay were to give Haskins all of the 1st team reps, that he could be playing as well as Kyler Murray and Daniel Jones.  Clearly Jay doesn't feel that to be true.  And from what I've seen of Haskins playing (both in the pre-season and vs. the Giants), Jay is right.  Haskins isn't anywhere near NFL-ready.  The guy only had 14 starts at Ohio State.  And OSU doesn't run a pro passing offense.  


38 > The Redskins drafted RGIII…

In reply to by RickD

> The Redskins drafted RGIII when Shanahan didn't want him

Are you sure about this? I remember Shanny being all-in with RGIII, and he actually had the power to make the decision at the time. I mean, he designed a new offensive system for the guy. He drafted Cousins in the same draft because he had a 2nd round grade on him, which was about right in retrospect, and he was too good a value to pass on. 


55 Haskins was bizarrely overrated

In reply to by RickD

"But it wasn't just Gruden: the entire scouting staff reportedly did not think Haskins was worth taking at #15 overall.  But the word came down from on high, and Haskins was taken."

I've been saying this for a while. Haskins is the first QB getting top-10 hype I have ever watched, where I come away from the tape and say "I honestly can't name a single thing he does well". Talk about a product of the talent around him. He was extremely inaccurate, didn't seem to have a really strong arm to make up for it, or any athleticism to speak of. The signature Haskins play was "dump it off to a RB on a screen and let your superior talent at OLine and RB take that for 20+ YAC." His replacement at Ohio State, Justin Fields, has a higher QBR and college rating than he did his last season.

Didn't believe the hype on that guy, but I'm not surprised that Dan Synder did.

29 Keenum has been injured the past two weeks

He spent all of last week walking around with his foot in a walking boot.  He wasn't going to start.

And...did you see Keenum vs. Giants?  He was missing wide open receivers.  Clearly he couldn't get enough strength into his passes.  When he cannot push off his plant foot properly, he's largely useless as a serious QB.

What got Jay fired was starting Colt over Haskins.  

Colt didn't have a good day, but I suspect Haskins would have been diced and sliced.  He doesn't read coverages well and he doesn't read rushes well.  


6 5am??? It just feels like…

5am??? It just feels like an ultra dick move. 


Also you know the Redskins telegraphed this move sometime back.  Between leaking a video of him partying from a year ago to Steven A Smith proclaiming from his sources, it was the worst kept secret in the NFL. 


Man, why is Snyder doing this? You are a rich man, comport your business with some class. 



8 How many?

How many coaches have been fired immediately following losses to NE? (Including playoff losses followed by offseason firings)

10 I'm going to guess not that…

In reply to by ima_pseudonym

I'm going to guess not that many.  Losing to NE is generally the expected outcome for poor teams, and good teams don't fire their coaches that often.

Per my post above, I don't think Gruden got fired because he lost to NE.  He got fired because he refused to play Haskins.

13 Apparently Bill Callahan…

Apparently Bill Callahan made a point of saying that the Redskins need to run the ball more (the Redskins were the 30th ranked rushing offense coming into this week, mind you). So basically his first move will be to make Redskins games even more unwatchable than they already are.

32 well...

It's hard to say they should pass more.  Their QB play is dreadful, both TEs are injured, and aside from McLaurin, they don't have much at WR.

At least at RB they have Adrian Peterson, even though he's gotten older, and the O-line has so many injuries expecting proper run-blocking is a pipe dream.

It's amazing how much this offense has crashed in just three seasons.  In 2016 it was one of the best in the NFL.  With Kirk Cousins, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, and other supporting pieces they legitimately had a top 10 offense.  

And they got rid of all those guys.  And they still have Trent Williams holding out, but refuse to trade him...as if that will help them.  

It's truly incredibly just how bad Daniel Snyder is at running a football franchise.  

This is going to be the worst Redskins season I've ever seen - and that includes the Spurrier and Zorn years.  They're probably going to lose to Miami next week.  The Dolphins at least have a coherent coaching staff, even if their front office has decided to get rid of all their best players.  

If they lose to Miami, who are they going to beat?  The Jets are better than Miami (albeit not by a lot).  The Giants already smoked them once, and Dallas and Philly are much better than the Giants.  This situation is so dysfunctional I'm wondering if they could go winless.  

Pretty sure things are going to continue to get worse before they get better.


33 They get the jets at home…

In reply to by RickD

They get the jets at home. That is definitely winnable. They are currently favored to win at Miami by 3.5 points. 

34 They're probably going to…

In reply to by RickD

They're probably going to lose to Miami next week.

Let's not get crazy, here.

Washington is at least a professional football team. The Dolphins are the third best football team in their city.

35 At this point not trading…

In reply to by RickD

At this point not trading Trent Williams is downright comical. The usual argument against it, that they need their best offensive line combination to protect and evaluate their young quarterback, is moot because Williams isn't playing. The season is long since lost, so getting Williams back won't yield a potential playoff appearance. They are possibly hurting themselves in free agency due to their treatment of Williams (characterizing it as a dispute over money, refusing to acknowledge Williams's concerns about medical treatment). And to top it off, there are a number of playoff-bound or at least playoff-likely teams that could sorely use an above-average left tackle and might be willing to pay a premium for him. But of course, the Snyder-Allen regime are nonpareil grudge holders and would rather salt the earth than do something unambiguously good for their team if doing so creates the perception that Trent Williams won the holdout.

37 Not to mention, their…

Not to mention, their handling of his situation, which involves medical concerns, is a massive red flag to potential free agents. It's cutting off their nose to spite their face.

40 I hear what you're saying…

In reply to by RickD

I hear what you're saying about the passing game, but Peterson is averaging 2.7 yards per carry.  Giving him the ball more often is definitely not the answer.  And their only other healthy "running back" is Chris Thompson, who is almost exclusively a receiver.  I'd say Callahan has definitely got his work cut out for him.

44 It's truly incredibly just…

In reply to by RickD

It's truly incredibly just how bad Daniel Snyder is at running a football franchise. 


Which of course, is the primary issue.  Snyder has no business running a football franchise, other that cutting the checks.  Hell, if I was a diehard fan who happened to be fortunate in life to buy my favorite team, you can bet your ass I'd hire a qualified person to run the operation, then sit back and enjoy. 

What's more important to you as an owner?  Winning championships or constantly showing that you're the boss?

52 Adrian Peterson plan...

now they can line up in an I-formation and run Adrian Peterson into the line 53 times.

Apparently Gruden wanted to release Peterson but was overruled by Snyder.

18 Wow reading some of the…

Wow reading some of the stuff Dan Snyder has done since owning the team is shocking. He is soundly the worst owner. I would not support this team if I were a skins fan while he's the owner.

22 From what I've read, he's…

From what I've read, he's not a very good neighbor as well. He once pressured the National Park Service to allow him to chop down more than 100 protected trees that were on NPS land adjacent to his property, ostensibly because they blocking his view of the Potomac.

Snyder was a favorite target of Gregg Easterbrook/TMQ, who named him "Owner/Menace to Western Civilization".

43 Re. Haskins....

I don't follow college football so have no view of my own, but the coverage of the draft I saw praised Washington for getting Haskins at #15 overall (or at least for not trading up for him). So I'm a little confused to now be reading here that he was considered a reach.

Anyhow, when I was browsing each team's rosters at the beginning of this season I commented that the Washington offense minus Trent Williams was among the worst I had ever seen heading into a season. If anything they have exceeded my expectations, for the fact that Terry McLaurin, a third round rookie, looks like a genuinely good player. Jay Gruden did not stand a chance with this roster.

47 "So I'm a little confused to…

"So I'm a little confused to now be reading here that he was considered a reach."

I don't exactly think that's what people are saying. If I had to guess, I'd say that basically Gruden had been given the impression that hey, you need to be winning and improving this year. Haskins has long-term potential but in the short term, no way would he be ready to help a team this year. So I could easily imagine Gruden not wanting Haskins, because picking Haskins basically meant he was going to be fired. Haskins didn't help the Redskins at all this year.

Then, of course, the *other* problem with drafting Haskins is that if you're not a stable, well-run organization, a guy like Haskins is a *terrible* pick. Snyder might be thinking OK, I'm gonna go bring in a guy like Sean McVay and poof, we get a Goff situation again. Except the chances of him identifying and hiring a guy like McVay are basically zero.

50 When McVay took over the…

When McVay took over the Rams he inherited a loaded roster.  As BJR noted above, the Redskins have garbage.  And a dick owner!  Any talented coach with a future would not pick up the phone from Synder or Allen.

56 I second what Sixnots said…

I second what Sixnots said above. The rams already had a middle of the road defense, and had played through the rookie season of a first overall quarterback. They also finished 4-12, which looks superior to the Redskins this year, and it was well known that Fisher was a terrible, idiotic coach. To say that they were loaded may be a bit much, but the idea that they were an 8+ win team talent wise seems right on the money.

The Redskins look exactly as terrible as their record, and Gruden isn't considered a terrible coach. Second year Haskins is a hell of a lot less shiny than second year Goff, and you have to work for Snyder. Even if Snyder could somehow manage to identify his McVay, assuming there even is one, why would he work for Dan Snyder? The next coach has a 90% chance of being fired within 5 years of being hired, due to meddling and a trash roster.