The Redskins have officially fired head coach Jay Gruden. In the interim, offensive line/assistant head coach Bill Callahan will take over the operation, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).
“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,” the team said, via press release. “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.”
Last week, we heard another round of reports indicating a rift between Gruden and the organization, specifically as it pertains to first-round pick Dwayne Haskins. Reportedly, owner Dan Snyder & Co. drove the selection of the Ohio State quarterback – Gruden did not want him. This year, Gruden refused to start Haskins, citing his lack of NFL readiness.
Of course, Gruden’s recent off-the-field controversy didn’t help matters either. Days ago, a video surfaced in which Gruden appears to be smoking marijuana with a young woman. The Redskins declined to comment on the viral video, but it has been speculated that the Redskins leaked these year-old videos, so they could fire Gruden “with cause”, helping to ease potential financial ramifications of a firing. It’s reminiscent of circumstances leading up to the firing of GM Scot McCloughan.
Gruden also addressed recent comments by ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, where Smith stated that Gruden had quit on his team.
“I heard about that one. That one is far from the truth. Those are fighting words for me,” Gruden said. “That’s one thing I will never do or have done in my life. I work extremely hard, getting up early as hell and working late and doing the best I can to get ourselves a victory this week. I have a lot of respect for everyone in this locker room and the last thing I would do to these players is quit on them because I know they’re not going to quit on me.”
The Redskins are 0-5, but it’s fair to wonder whether this is truly the fault of Gruden. The Redskins were not necessarily built to win in 2019 and the club’s constant discord is clearly holding the franchise back.
Callahan, 63, is a highly-respected figure in the NFL. Sometime during or after the Redskins’ press conference at 1pm ET, we’ll learn whether Callahan will garner consideration for the permanent post.
Callahan took over for Jon Gruden as the Raiders head coach in 2002 and held the post through 2003, before he was fired. After going 4-12 as Oakland’s head coach in ’03, he served as Nebraska’s HC for four years.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.