Jay Gruden

Redskins Not Planning To Fire Jay Gruden

Jay Gruden was a fringe hot-seat candidate, but it looks like the Redskins aren’t going to entertain the idea of jettisoning their head coach after this season.

The team has no plans to make a coaching change, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter), adding the injuries Washington’s dealt with and Gruden’s leadership skills factored into the retention decision.

Gruden’s ability to keep his staff on the same page has played into this as well, and Michael Lombardi of The Ringer reports (Twitter link) the Redskins are hoping to extend some members of the coaching staff.

Gruden has new offensive and defensive coordinators in place this season, and the Redskins have dealt with several setbacks. Gruden also has been the face of the organization that’s gone without a GM since Scot McCloughan‘s ouster. The Redskins having signed their HC to an extension earlier this year meant a dismissal at this juncture was unlikely.

The Bengals held Gruden — a former Cincinnati offensive coordinator — as their top choice to replace Marvin Lewis if/when he’s out as their HC, Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes (on Twitter).

They will finish short of the playoffs for the third time in four seasons and will again enter an uncertain offseason regarding Kirk Cousins‘ employment. The fourth-year coach is 28-34-1 thus far in his tenure.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Breer’s Latest: Black Monday Preview

With the final week of the NFL’s regular season approaching, that only means two things; 12 teams will soon be focusing on reaching the Super Bowl, while the rest will start to look ahead to next season. One major part of looking forward is addressing who on the coaching staff will be returning in 2018. Many of these coaching questions are answered on the day following Week’s 17 conclusion, conveniently called “Black Monday”.

Veteran reporter Albert of Breer of Sports Illustrated, gave a preview of the coaches he expects to stay and the ones that will likely be shown the door in his most recent column. Breer ranked the potential firings as “Likely/Done”, “We’ll See”, and “It’s Complicated”. In total, there were 15 head coaches mentioned who could see their situations change starting next week.

Here’s a quick look at Breer’s takes on some of the league’s hottest coaching questions:

  • There were five head coaches included in the “likely/done” category including: BearsJohn Fox, BengalsMarvin Lewis, LionsJim Caldwell, ColtsChuck Pagano and and the Giants‘ interim coach Steve Spagnuolo. The four full-time head coaches on this list have all had their fair share of success in the league. In fact, three of them led their current teams to multiple playoff appearances during their tenure. However, Caldwell and Lewis have been unable to win a postseason game with Pagano and Fox having failed at continuing the past success they have shown during their careers in football. Breer notes that while the “expectation is that Fox will be gone”, the decision on the fate of general manager Ryan Pace is true question facing the franchise this offseason. There’s been rapid speculation about Lewis, Caldwell and Pagano throughout the year, so their inclusion on this list is no surprise. Finally, the Giants are currently interviewing general manager candidates who will almost certainly be looking to lead their own head coaching search once hired.
  • Breer puts six current head coaches in the ‘we’ll see” part of the list. This portion mentions the CardinalsBruce Arians, BroncosVance Joseph, RaidersJack Del Rio, BuccaneersDirk Koetter, TitansMike Mularkey and the RedskinsJay Gruden. There’s a variety of situations going on here with Breer noting that Arizona could see Arians retire, which could lead them to other current NFL head coaches: Todd Bowles and Bill O’Brien. Del Rio and Gruden have had their fair share of success because of quality quarterback play, but both have managed to decrease confidence because of an inconsistent 2017 season. However, Breer points out that both are signed long-term so their owners would have to eat the remaining years of their current deals. Mularkey and Koetter were rewarded for the relationships they formed with their QB’s, but there’s been disappointment with how this season has unfolded for their teams. Breer notes that should Mularkey lose this Sunday, he could be on the chopping block come Monday morning with the team looking to hire an offensive-minded coach like Josh McDaniels. Finally, Joseph has forced himself to the hot seat even in his first year of coaching the Broncos, though Breer says himself that this situation is “unpredictable” given that team president John Elway is just “not pleased with how the season’s gone”.
  • Browns head coach Hue Jackson, and the two previously mentioned O’Brien and Bowles of the Texans and Jets, find themselves on the “it’s complicated” section of Breer’s roundup largely because of just the many factors are at play in regards to their situations. Jackson got a vote of confidence from owner Jimmy Haslam himself, but new general manager John Dorsey could have his sights on implementing his own guy after a winless season. O’Brien has made the playoffs before, but has struggled committing to a QB even after the team selected Deshaun Watson in the first round. Bowles has done a lot with a little in New York this season, but ownership could go in a different direction with a new starting signal caller likely walking into the building next year. Also, there is the potential that all three coaches could move onto new head coaching gigs with the number of openings that could be available this offseason. The final and definitely most surprising inclusion on this list was Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, who Breer mentions could retire at age 66 with a roster about to see major turnover in the next few years. Although, I would venture that nothing he’s said this season would indicate that being the case.

Coaching Notes: Panthers, Cardinals, Bengals, Bucs

There’s plenty of uncertainty when it comes to the Panthers organization, as owner Jerry Richardson is shopping the team and they’re currently rolling with an interim general manager in Marty Hurney. However, the team is looking to establish some stability by locking up head coach Ron Rivera.

NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports that the organization is prioritizing locking up their head coach long term. While talks have just started, the reporter expects negotiations to quickly heat up. Meanwhile, many in the organization are hoping that Hurney is promoted to full-time general manager, although the team will presumably explore their options before committing to the executive.

Rivera last signed a three-year deal worth $19.5MM. That deal would take the head coach through the 2018 season, meaning there isn’t a whole lot of urgency for the organization to lock up their head coach this offseason.

Let’s take a look at some more coaching notes from around the NFL…

  • Cardinals coach Bruce Arians hasn’t informed the organization about his future, but Rapoport reports that the team is “more confident than ever” that he’ll return. Still, since there is some uncertainty, the organization is exploring other potential options, and Rapoport notes that one of those candidates is Texans coach Bill O’Brien. If available, the Cardinals have made it clear that O’Brien would be atop their list of targets. Arians is under contract through the 2018 season, but there’s been chatter that the 65-year-old could retire to better focus on his health.
  • Unsurprisingly, there’s some concern that Browns head coach Hue Jackson may have lost his locker room, reports Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. This concern recently came to a head when running back Isaiah Crowell “liked” a series of tweets that were critical of Jackson. Meanwhile, Florio notes that there are whispers that some of the team’s defensive players are upset with defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and his son, Blake, who is the Browns’ linebackers coach.
  • The Bengals are eyeing Jackson or Jay Gruden for their impending head coaching vacancy, reports Florio. It’d be a homecoming for the pair, as both Jackson and Gruden served as offensive coordinators for Marvin Lewis. The writer notes that Lewis could ultimately be promoted to a front office role.
  • Even if Dirk Koetter sticks around as the Buccaneers head coach, Roy Cummings of Florida Football Insiders is convinced the organization will require some other coaching changes. Specifically, defensive coordinator Mike Smith could be on the hot seat, and the team could look towards former Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley as a replacement.

NFC Notes: 49ers, Fox, Reed, Fisher

It was a long awaited day for 49ers fans, as they got their first look at newly acquired quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in today’s loss to the Seahawks. The former Pats backup signal caller got into the game because rookie starter C.J. Beathard was forced to exit with an injury. Garoppolo made good use of his mild playing time, throwing a nice touchdown pass as time expired.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan chose not to shed much light on how he’s thinking about the QB position moving forward. Although, he did mention that Beathard’s leg injury was not too serious, reports Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). While Beathard’s injury does not appear to affect his playing status moving forward, he will get additional testing tomorrow. Nevertheless, it’s notable that Shanahan wouldn’t commit to a starter for Week 13 either way, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee (Twitter link). However, Barrows did also tweet that the 49ers coach didn’t think about pulling his rookie starter while he was healthy.

It’ll be a tough decision considering the way Garoppolo played when he entered the game and the high pick the front office gave up to get him. Shanahan hasn’t caved into public pressure as of yet, so it’s a decision that seems to remain truly up in the air.

  • If the Bears fire John Fox this offseason, Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com believes that Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo should be considered for the job. DeFilippo would be an out-of-the-box hire since he is not a coordinator, but the feeling in Philadelphia is that no one has been more instrumental in Carson Wentz‘s development than the 39-year-old. It’s possible that DeFilippo could be the guy to help rookie QB Mitch Trubisky reach his full potential. And, with anywhere from 7-10 teams potentially looking for a new head coach this offseason, DeFilippo can be expected to draw some interest.
  • Redskins star tight end Jordan Reed has missed a lot of time in 2017 and looks to miss another game in Week 13, according to John Keim of ESPN.com. Keim notes that Reed didn’t practice or do any side running today as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury. Coach Jay Gruden confirmed that Reed would be held out for the next few days as well. “We’re going to take off that part of it here for a couple days, see where he’s at,” Gruden said. While there will still be some time for Reed to get on the field after, it’s tough to expect him to heal quick enough to be effective in game action considering his past injury problems.
  • With the Rams surging to an 8-3 record under first-year head coach Sean McVay, a lot of criticism has been tossed at former head coach Jeff Fisher for the way he handled the offense. Fisher appeared on the Amazon show All or Nothing over this past summer and expressed desire to get back on the sideline for the 2018-19 season. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk opines that despite Fisher’s recent track record, he does bring a ton of experience in the game and has the skills to impress in the interview room. Florio hears that his name has already “bubbled up” for coaching jobs, so there’s some potential for interest to come from the NFL as well. They’ll also be a number of coaching jobs open, both head coach and as a coordinator. It’ll be a tough sell considering what has transpired in Los Angeles this season, but Fisher is clearly still held in high regard among the football community, so anything is possible.

East Rumors: Giants, Jets, Njoku, Redskins

The Jets have been entangled in some confusing visit scheduling today. Now, they’re going to be meeting Monday with a player previously slated to visit the Giants on that date. Gang Green will host tight end David Njoku on a visit, according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Njoku’s Giants visit, which he first spoke about nearly two weeks ago, has been cancelled, per Raanan. This comes hours after some rescheduling moved Gareon Conley‘s Jets summit to Tuesday back from Monday. The Jets have a need at tight end after seeing some of the sparsest production in modern NFL history from that position over the past two years. Of course, new OC John Morton figures to use that spot a bit more than predecessor Chan Gailey, whose offense did not feature tight ends much in his passing game.

Here’s the latest coming out of the Eastern divisions as teams continue to make their final draft preparations.

  • Mentioned as one of three teams to be pursuing Jared Odrick, the Giants might not have too much interest in the recently released defensive lineman, per Raanan. Big Blue’s focus may be more specified than just adding a talented defensive lineman. With three high-paid starters on that unit, the Giants are likely seeking a run-stuffing tackle to replace Johnathan Hankins, who spurned their reported four-year, $28MM offer to sign with the Colts. The Giants currently employ fourth-year man Jay Bromley and former waiver claim Robert Thomas. Both of those players’ skill sets are geared more toward getting into the backfield, Raanan writes, whereas the Giants want someone to complement Damon Harrison. A backup for most of his career, Bromley has one sack in three seasons. Thomas has registered one in two years.
  • Odrick will cost some money the Giants may not be willing to spend up front, and the defensive tackle is going to have some other interested parties, pointing James Kratch of NJ.com to not make it a given the former Dolphins and Jags lineman comes to New York. Harrison, Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul are signed to high-value contracts, making another expenditure up front dicey. The Eagles and Seahawks are believed to be interested in Odrick as well.
  • Jay Gruden believed the Redskins needed extensive help up front that one player wasn’t going to provide. That was a debate among Washington’s evolving power structure this offseason, and John Keim of ESPN.com notes the results of that choice yielded the signings of Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain rather than the more expensive Bennie Logan. The Chiefs swooped in and added Logan after he’d visited the Redskins. Those two Washington signees will have a combined cap figure of $6.9MM in 2017, while Logan’s is set to come in at $7.953MM on Kansas City’s payroll. Washington will have a new-look defensive line in 2017 after the departures of Chris Baker and Ricky Jean-Francois.
  • Jets second-year wide receiver Robby Anderson parted ways with his agent, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports (on Twitter). Anderson will presumably look for new representation after moving on from Chris Wiestling of SIG Sports. Wiestling also represents Muhammad Wilkerson.

Redskins Prez Bruce Allen On McCloughan

With one month to go until the NFL Draft, the Redskins are without a general manager and they will wait until after the draft’s conclusion to fill the vacancy. After a drama-filled offseason which saw Scot McCloughan ousted for alleged issues with alcohol, team president Bruce Allen spoke publicly for the very first time this week when he sat down with Liz Clarke of The Washington Post. Here’s a look at some of the highlights from their chat:

On firing McCloughan:

I thought it was the right thing to do for where we were at the time. We wanted to give clarity to our free agents and to our staff of where we were going. For Scot, it was good timing because it allows him to be hired by anyone right now before this draft…I enjoyed working with [Scot’s father and brother] and the success we had in Oakland. Obviously that’s what I envisioned when I brought Scot to the Redskins. So, yes, I’m disappointed it didn’t work out. I hope it works out for him in the future. My responsibility is to the Redskins and the organization and the scouts and the players on this team.

[RELATED: Redskins Sign WR Brian Quick]

On reports that McCloughan’s dismissal was driven by the jealousy of Allen and others in the organization:

Scot and I had a wonderful relationship. I do like him as a person. And I wanted him to do great. And it just didn’t work out.

On Daniel Snyder’s decision to give an extension to coach Jay Gruden:

[Gruden] has established himself as a good leader for our team. Our players have responded well to him. His honesty and his directness and his sense of humor have taken us through some speed bumps in the season. His ability to creatively come up with new ways to attack a defense is something that we’re very fortunate to have.

NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Giants, Gruden

Had the Giants let Jason Pierre-Paul hit free agency instead of franchise-tagging him for the second time, the Cowboys were prepared to intervene. Dallas was going to attempt to pry JPP away from the Giants if he were available, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv reports. While fitting Pierre-Paul’s high-end salary demands would have been difficult for a Cowboys team that as of now has the least cap room in the league at $3.3MM, Jerry Jones wants to upgrade his team’s pass-rushing corps.

A source informed Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram the Cowboys are seeking help at pass-rusher and wide receiver this offseason. An interest at wideout seems interesting given that the Cowboys stand to return their top three pass-catchers from 2016, with only Terrance Williams being a free agent, and the team having shifted to a run-based offense. Dallas plans to try and retain Williams, but only at a certain price, per Hill. If the sides can’t work something out, the Cowboys will target a receiver in free agency or the draft.

We can’t come up empty. We have somebody meaningful there. They are part of our core strategy. But it’s two [positions]. It’s not nine,” Jones said, without identifying those positions. “And I think we have the cap room and whatever we resolve with Tony [Romo], I feel confident we will not lose on those two.”

Here’s more from the NFC East.
  • The Giants have made an effort to keep Johnathan Hankins, but he’s likely going to test the market, Vacchiano reports, adding that the defensive tackle will almost certainly leave the Giants if he reaches free agency. Vacchiano notes the feeling around the league is Hankins is not quite on Damon Harrison‘s level, but his age (25 in three weeks) should help him secure a deal in Harrison range. Vacchiano estimates Hankins will fetch a deal that pays him around $7MM or $8MM per year. The Giants have just more than $14MM in cap space after spending to fortify their defense last season. Their defensive line contains per-year payments of $17MM (Olivier Vernon) and $9.25MM (Harrison), and coupled with Pierre-Paul’s $16.9MM price tag, it’s unlikely Big Blue can afford to keep Hankins.
  • Despite that lofty price for tagging JPP again, the Giants would be OK with the eighth-year defensive end playing the season on the tag. Vacchiano notes. The sides remain far apart in talks. The Giants want to keep as much of their defense together for a Super Bowl run during the final three years of Eli Manning‘s contract, Vacchiano writes, but would be hamstrung by Pierre-Paul’s 2017 salary if it’s unable to be reduced via extension.
  • The Giants are likely to cut or reduce the salary of linebacker J.T. Thomas, Vacchiano writes. Signed to three-year, $10MM deal in 2015, Thomas missed 15 games last season after starting 11 in his first Giants slate. A Thomas cut would create $3MM in cap room while saddling the Giants with a $1MM dead money charge.
  • Jay Gruden‘s two-year Redskins extension came together quickly after an impromptu meeting at the Combine, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reports. Team president Bruce Allen and Gruden’s agent, Bob LaMonte, met in Indianapolis and agreed to tack two more years on top of the two that remain on his initial Washington deal. La Canfora notes how this will help counter some of the concerns about GM Scot McCloughan‘s status with the team.
  • Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Jonathan Casillas received small performance-escalator bonuses, per Vacchiano. The fourth-year Giants corner and third-year linebacker will each receive $500K bonuses in their 2017 salaries. DRC will make $6.98MM in base salary, while Casillas will earn $2.75MM.

Redskins Extend HC Jay Gruden

The Redskins and head coach Jay Gruden have agreed to an extension that will keep Gruden under contract through the 2020 season, which John Keim of ESPN.com was the first to report. Gruden had two years left on his original five-year pact, all of which was guaranteed, and this new extension tacks an additional two years onto the end of that deal.

Jay Gruden (Vertical)

As ESPN’s Adam Schefter observes, this marks the first time club owner Dan Snyder has extended a head coach since he bought the team in 1999. No head coach has lasted more than four years under Snyder, who has had seven head coaches and one interim coach during his tenure.

Interestingly, this move comes just as fans and analysts are beginning to wonder if Snyder is up to his usual tricks with respect to GM Scot McCloughan. As PFR’s Sam Robinson wrote last night, McCloughan is absent from this weekend’s Combine, which has caused agents of free agents to question the stability of the organization. Indeed, agents and other league insiders wondered if there was more to the story than the team is letting on — McCloughan’s absence has been officially attributed to the death of his grandmother — and some agents are taking this as a sign to steer their clients away from Washington.

Gruden, 50, has guided the Redskins to a 21-26-1 record during his first three years at the helm, but he has gone 17-14-1 the past two years, and he captured an NFC East title in 2015. It is the first time Washington has posted consecutive winning seasons since 1996-97.

The Redskins, though, remain at an organizational crossroads given the uncertainty that surrounds their GM and their quarterback situation, and given the fact that Gruden will be working with two new coordinators in 2017, Greg Manusky (DC) and Matt Cavanaugh (OC).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: 49ers, Gruden, OBJ

Kyle Shanahan is widely expected to become the 49ers‘ next head coach, and now some are beginning to wonder how he will go about filling out his staff. As Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee writes, it is unlikely that Shanahan will be able to bring many of his Atlanta assistants with him given that most of those assistants are under contract with the Falcons or are loyal to Falcons head coach Dan Quinn. However, Barrows posits that Shanahan could bring current Atlanta quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur to the Bay Area and install him as the 49ers’ offensive coordinator. LaFleur — who would also be a candidate to replace Shanahan as the Falcons’ OC — has worked with Shanahan for eight seasons in Atlanta, Washington, and Houston.

Barrows’ sources also suggest that Bears’ assistant special-teams coach Richard Hightower could become the 49ers’ special teams coordinator. Hightower worked under Shanahan in 2014 as an offensive quality control coach for the Browns.

Now let’s take a look at a few more notes from around the league as we anxiously await next week’s Super Bowl:

  • Rich Tandler of CSNMidAtlantic.com does not believe that Redskins head coach Jay Gruden is on the hot seat, as some have speculated. Tandler is unsure if Gruden could survive a 6-10 or worse showing in 2017, but he does not believe it’s playoffs or bust for Gruden, who will be entering his fourth year as Washington’s head coach.
  • There is no rush for the Giants to pursue an extension for Odell Beckham, Jr., as James Kratch of NJ.com writes. Between his current rookie deal, the fifth-year option, and the franchise tag, OBJ is locked into the Giants’ roster until at least 2021, so while his future with the team is certainly not in question, New York can afford to wait while they work through their concerns with Beckham.
  • Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, one of the top three quarterback prospects in this year’s draft class, will not participate in the Senior Bowl despite the Browns‘ specifically requesting that he do so. Although the Browns were reportedly not planning to use their No. 1 overall selection on Watson, Mary Kat Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer suggests that Watson’s decision not only denied him the chance to change the team’s mind in that regard, it may make it tougher for Cleveland to select him with their No. 12 overall choice.
  • Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin sat down with Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer to discuss a number of issues, including the 2017 draft and backup quarterback A.J. McCarron. Tobin also mentioned that, although the club re-signed kicker Randy Bullock, Bullock will have an open competition with rookie kickers and/or veteran free agents.
  • David Culley, who worked as Andy Reid‘s wide receivers coach with the Eagles and Chiefs, agreed to become the Bills‘ new quarterbacks coach last week. Per Reid, the 60-year-old Culley still harbors aspirations of becoming a head coach, so he did not want to block his longtime assistant from moving up the coaching ladder (article via Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star).
  • The current collective bargaining agreement runs through 2020, but commissioner Roger Goodell and team owners owners have expressed an interest in extending the CBA, as Mark Maske of the Washington Post writes. However, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith says that the union will not agree to an extension without renegotiation of certain key issues, though he did not specify what those issues are.

NFC Notes: Washington, 49ers, Bears

Washington probably isn’t done adding free agents, but coach Jay Gruden hinted that we may not see any official transactions until after the draft.

“I think there’s a lot of reasons for that,” Gruden told Washington reporter Rich Tandler of CSNMidAtlantic.com. “You don’t want to go crazy signing a bunch of backs and then draft one and have to cut them anyway. So I think we want to find out exactly where we stand after the draft.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFC…

  • Gruden acknowledged that Washington let go of “a heck of a running back” by allowing veteran Alfred Morris to sign elsewhere. As NFL.com’s Kevin Patra writes, the team will now have to rely on second-year running back Matt Jones“We need him to protect the ball a little bit more,” Gruden said. “He’s a big, strong, powerful back that I think can handle the workload; time will tell on that. We’re taking a bit of a gamble here, but based on our professional opinion, we believe he can handle it and be very, very effective at it, toting the rock.”
  • With rumors surrounding 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, head coach Chip Kelly was quick to hand out praise to the team’s other signal-caller: Blaine Gabbert“[I’m] impressed with Blaine,” Kelly said (via Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com). “You watch him the last couple of games he started. He’s another guy, you look at his skill set…He’s big. I’d never really dealt with Blaine because he came into the league before I came into the league, but just how big and physical and impressive he is. He’s a 6-4, 245-pound guy that can really run. I thought the last part of the season he played really well. It’ll be intriguing to work with him, too.”
  • The Bears could use a young speed rusher off the edge, opines Brad Biggs of The Chicago TribuneLamarr HoustonWillie Young and Pernell McPhee showed an ability to get to the quarterback, but Biggs notes that the trio used their strength to get past the opposition. The writer would prefer the team brings in a quicker lineman.