Sean McVay‘s launching pad to becoming an impactful head coach came in Washington, when he earned an offensive coordinator gig while still in his 20s. The coach that greenlit that promotion is now on McVay’s Rams staff.
The Rams have hired Jay Gruden as a consultant, McVay said. The former Washington head coach attended the Rams’ joint practices with the Bengals this week, but McVay said his former boss is expected to mostly work remotely in his new gig.
This will be Gruden’s first NFL job since he spent 2020 as the Jaguars’ offensive coordinator — a one-and-done gig when the Jaguars pivoted to Urban Meyer last year. The Panthers and Saints were interested in the six-year HC for their respective OC posts, with Carolina giving Gruden two interviews before deciding on Ben McAdoo.
Gruden, 55, worked with McVay for three seasons in Washington. The two veteran coaches go back to Tampa Bay, however, when each was a Jon Gruden staffer in 2008. The Super Bowl-winning Rams coach was with Washington under Mike Shanahan as tight ends coach, and after Dan Snyder fired Shanahan, Gruden kept McVay on and promoted him to OC at age 27. That became a good indication of McVay’s potential.
The Gruden hire also marks the latest McVay 2022 reunion. Following the Rams’ Super Bowl win, they lost offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell and passing-game coordinator Wes Phillips. Both are in Minnesota. The defending champions circled back to former assistants. Ex-Rams wide receivers and assistant quarterbacks coach Liam Coen is now in place as McVay’s offensive coordinator, coming over after a one-year stint as Kentucky’s OC. Greg Olson is beginning his third stint as a Rams assistant. A St. Louis OC under Scott Linehan and L.A. QBs coach in McVay’s debut campaign, Olson is back as a senior offensive assistant.
Another name has been added to the Saints’ search for an offensive coordinator. As On3 Sports’ Matt Zenitz reports (via Twitter), Jay Gruden has interviewed with the team.
The team has been looking for a new coordinator on offense and defense, and already met with multiple candidates for each vacancy. New Orleans has already addedDoug Marrone to the offensive staff, but they still have a decision to make regarding incumbent OC Pete Carmichael. In fact, Zenitz reports that Carmichael remaining in that role still “seems like a possibility”.
Gruden was out of coaching last season, following his one-year stint as the OC in Jacksonville. That came after six years as the head coach in Washington, a stretch that saw some success, but ended in disappointment. He led the team to back-to-back winning records in 2015 and 2016 (something that hadn’t been done in the nation’s capital in almost two decades), although that time includes his only playoff appearance, which ended in a Wild Card loss. Two straight 7-9 campaigns followed, and he was fired five weeks into the 2019 seasons after a winless start.
The 54-year-old also interviewed twice with the Panthers last month for their OC opening. That interest means it wouldn’t come as a surprise if he were to return to the NFL in 2022. Prior to his only head coaching position, he was the offensive play-caller for the Bengals for three seasons, and he also spent seven years on the offensive staff of the Buccaneers, being brought in at the same time as his brother Jon.
If the Saints were to keep Carmichael but also add Gruden, those two – along with Marrone – would represent a highly experienced trio of minds looking to turn around one of the league’s worst offenses in 2021.
Matt Rhule said he preferred his next offensive coordinator have NFL play-calling experience. One of the two coaches to receive second interviews for this position checks that box.
After meeting with Colts running backs coach Scottie Montgomery, the Panthers gave former Washington head coach Jay Gruden a second interview Thursday, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). Gruden was one of two former HCs to go through a first interview with Carolina, with Ben McAdoobeing the other.
Although Montgomery served as East Carolina’s head coach for three seasons and Maryland’s OC for the next two, he has yet to call plays at the NFL level. Rhule’s past in the college ranks, however, makes Montgomery’s advancement here interesting. Gruden called plays for 10 seasons, doing so with the Bengals, Washington and Jaguars.
Gruden and Montgomery, after previously interviewing virtually, met in-person with Carolina brass, Steve Reed of the Associated Press notes. This is a crucial hire for Rhule, who is on the hot seat after two sub-.500 seasons on the job. A previous report suggested the embattled HC needed a “rock-star offensive coordinator” to save his job.
While it does appear Rhule will receive a third season, Gruden landing the OC job would give the Panthers a natural interim HC in the event Rhule cannot keep it through the 2022 season. Gruden, 54, agreeing to join Carolina’s staff would be interesting as well since he recently accepted an OC gig for a team with a head coach (Doug Marrone) on the hot seat. Gruden went one-and-done in Jacksonville in 2020 and did not coach this season.
The Panthers have also met with Colts wide receivers coach (and ex-Eagles OC) Mike Groh, Vikings OC Klint Kubiak, ex-Texans OC Tim Kelly and Packers quarterbacks coach Luke Getsy. None has been linked to a second interview yet.
After canning Joe Brady late in his second season as Panthers OC, Matt Rhule said he sought an experienced play-caller to replace him. Two former head coaches are now officially in the running.
Jay Gruden loomed on Carolina’s wish list for over a week, but the former Washington HC has since spoken with Rhule about the job, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets. Former Giants HC Ben McAdoo also met with the Panthers about the job, doing so Tuesday, per Person (on Twitter).
Gruden, 54, did not coach in 2021, with the Jaguars moving on from him as OC after hiring Urban Meyer. But the six-season Washington HC spent 10 seasons as an NFL play-caller, initially running the Bengals’ offense in the early 2010s. Four of those produced playoff berths, while Kirk Cousins set franchise single-season records under Gruden as well.
McAdoo, 44, worked under Gruden with the Jaguars in 2020, coaching quarterbacks for that 1-15 team. He is obviously better known for his two-season stint as Giants head coach. That ended badly, with an in-season firing, but McAdoo did coach the 2016 Giants to an 11-5 record and the team’s first playoff berth in five years. McAdoo spent the previous two years as Giants OC under Tom Coughlin.
Additionally, Chip Kelly resurfaced as a potential option. Rhule sought to see if the current UCLA coach was interested, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets, but Kelly instead signed an extension to stay with the Bruins. Kelly has not coached in the NFL since his one-and-done 2016 season in San Francisco.
The Panthers have now interviewed seven coaches — Gruden, McAdoo, Luke Getsy, Tim Kelly, Mike Groh, Scottie Montgomery and Klint Kubiak — f0r their OC job.
The Panthers have Bill O’Brien and Jay Gruden on the radar as they search for their next offensive coordinator, according to sources who spoke with ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter. Schefter also hears that Carolina is expected to reach out to Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell about the vacancy.
Washington fired Gruden midway through his sixth season after winless start to the 2019 season. He clashed with ownership and team brass throughout his tenure, though he was far from alone in that regard. Dwayne Haskins aside, he offers a solid track record of grooming young quarterbacks, dating back to his early days with the Bengals and QB Andy Dalton. Gruden re-emerged in 2020 as the Jaguars’ offensive coordinator but didn’t make the transition to the short-lived Urban Meyer era.
O’Brien, meanwhile, took the Texans to the playoffs four times, including 2015 and ’16 when he had the likes of Brian Hoyer and Brock Osweiler under center. Still, the Texans came up short in the postseason, despite the presence of Deshaun Watson. His work as a GM left much to be desired, but O’Brien is still in demand — in addition to the Panthers OC job, the Jaguars are eyeing him as a head coaching candidate. His interviews will have to wait at least a couple more days, however, as he guides the Alabama offense through the National Championship game.
Jay Gruden is currently unattached, with the Jaguars hiring Urban Meyer last month. Darrell Bevell is the team’s new offensive coordinator. Gruden, who coached Washington from 2014-19, remains interested in returning to the sidelines.
However, the longtime NFL play-caller does not expect to coach this season. Gruden, 53, said, with staffs having mostly filled up over the past few weeks, he will likely sit out in 2021 before reassessing his options, Ben Standig of The Athletic notes (subscription required).
Gruden made some noise recently when he made a candid remark about Washington owner Daniel Snyder‘s draft involvement. The six-year Washington HC indicated the team’s owner “would come in off his yacht and make the pick” after Washington’s coaching staff and front office prepared for the draft. Gruden expanded on that assessment.
“Well, first and foremost, he is the owner. So if he wants to come off his yacht, or if he wants to come off his tennis court, wherever he’s at and make a pick, he has that right,” Gruden said. “(Dan) has the ultimate say, and that’s not going to change until he decides he wants to change.
“So I guess he’s given up total responsibility and total power to coach (Ron) Rivera, which is a good thing, I think. But when I was there, that wasn’t the case. He had final say over everything. He and (former team president) Bruce Allen would talk about it, and they would make the decision. I signed up for that. I knew that was the case going in, and that’s just the way it was.”
Like Gruden, Allen is no longer with the franchise. Snyder dismissed the 10-year team president after the 2019 season. But the Snyder-Allen-Gruden power trio was in place for nearly six seasons. The last of those, a 3-13 season that involved Gruden being fired after an 0-5 start, transpired after a controversial draft.
It has been long reported Gruden was against drafting Dwayne Haskins, a Snyder- and Allen-driven move. Gruden said one of the team’s plans involved taking Montez Sweat at No. 15; Washington later traded back into Round 1 and drafted the edge defender at No. 26. Gruden also mentioned being high on safety Darnell Savage, whom the Packers drafted at No. 21 overall.
“We knew we needed a quarterback, though. I mean, so at the end of the day, it’s not like Dwayne was not a good prospect. He’s a young football player with a lot of talent. So it’s not the end of the world we took Dwayne,” Gruden said, via Standig. “We just didn’t think we had to take him that high. It’s just what we thought … if we lost Dwayne that there were a couple of other ones later we might be able to get to come in and maybe compete with Case. Plus there was still hope in the back of our minds that Alex would come back.”
Coming off a 50-touchdown pass 2018 season at Ohio State, Haskins was viewed as a surefire first-round pick. The Giants were connected to him at No. 6 overall, though they surprised most by drafting Daniel Jones. Haskins fell to No. 15, becoming the third quarterback off the 2019 board. Some in Washington’s organization were believed to have placed a third-round grade on the quarterback.
Gruden said during the interview Haskins “wasn’t quite ready” when a Case Keenum injury first summoned him into action in Week 4 of the ’19 season. The organization quickly soured on the quarterback, benching him early in the 2020 season and putting him on the trade block. The Rivera-led regime waived Haskins in December of last year.
Snyder overruled Washington football-side brass on other occasions, Gruden said. Washington now has Rivera, Martin Mayhew and Marty Hurney atop running football ops.
“For the most part, I’d say 85-90% of the time, we were making pretty much football decisions that were good for the football team, and they were (decisions) that everybody agreed on. … The majority,” Gruden said. “But there were a few picks (during my time) that we had nothing to do with it.”
The currently unattached coach also discussed Kirk Cousins‘ exit. The Allen-led Cousins negotiations led to animosity, two franchise tags and the quarterback’s departure in free agency in 2018. Rather than a trade haul, Washington only received a third-round compensatory pick for its four-year QB starter.
“For the most part, I was given every opportunity to succeed there. We just didn’t get it done,” Gruden said. “There are some decisions there that I wish we could have had back. Obviously, we should have gotten more for Kirk Cousins. That’s the biggest thing, that I think we should have got more for Kirk Cousins than a third-round pick.”
The Jaguars are set to sign Chris Thompson, as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. The deal will reunite the running back with his former head coach Jay Gruden, who now serves as the Jaguars’ offensive coordinator.
When he was healthy, Thompson was a strong pass-catching specialist out of the backfield for the Redskins. And, in an admittedly limited sample size, he was effective on the ground, too.
The former fifth-round pick enjoyed a breakout season in 2017, his fifth year as a pro. That year, he caught 39 passes for 510 yards, good for 13.1 yards per grab. Unfortunately, that campaign ended in November, thanks to a fractured fibula. For his career, Thompson’s averaged 4.8 yards per tote, though he’s never logged more than 68 carries in any single season.
The Redskins liked him enough to give him a two-year, $7MM extension under Gruden’s watch and he’ll get a chance to work for him in Jacksonville. For now, the Jaguars are forging ahead with Leonard Fournette as their primary back; Thompson could be an option to spell him and keep defenders on their toes.
Jay Gruden‘s interview with the Jaguars ended up leading to a job offer. The former Redskins head coach has been hired as Jacksonville’s new offensive coordinator, the team announced. Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reported yesterday (via Twitter) that this was the expected outcome.
Gruden joined ex-Giants HC Ben McAdoo and ex-Rams HC and Cowboys OC Scott Linehan in interviewing for this post. The Redskins set several passing records during Gruden’s years with Kirk Cousins and were in first place in the NFC East when Alex Smith went down with the severe leg injury that harpooned Washington’s 2018 season. The Redskins ranked 10th in scoring in their 2015 playoff season and were third in total offense a year later.
Despite Marrone entering his fourth season as the Jags’ full-time head coach, this has not been a stable position in recent years. The Jags fired Nathaniel Hackett late in the 2018 season and will make John DeFilippo a one-and-done in the OC role. With Marrone avoiding the ouster many expected, Gruden’s work with Nick Foles and Gardner Minshew will be critical to this regime staying in place. Gruden also figures to be auditioning for a future HC job.
The Redskins fired Gruden after an 0-5 start to his sixth season. He clashed with ownership and since-fired team president Bruce Allen on the drafting of Dwayne Haskins but has a history in helping young quarterbacks. Gruden was in his first year as Cincinnati’s OC when the team traded Carson Palmer and pivoted to rookie Andy Dalton. The Bengals made the playoffs from 2011-13 and were a top-10 scoring offense in the ’12 and ’13 campaigns. Minshew, who is set to compete with Foles this offseason, will be his next project.
The Jaguars are being thorough in their search for a new offensive coordinator. In addition to Ben McAdoo and Scott Linehan, Jacksonville will interview former Redskins head coach Jay Gruden for its OC vacancy, as Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network tweets.
Gruden, of course, was the first head coach fired this season, with Washington handing him his walking papers in early October. In 5+ seasons with the Redskins, Gruden compiled a 35-50-1 record and led the club to just one playoff appearance, but it was his prior work as the Bengals’ OC that got him the Washington gig in the first place.
Gruden, who was a successful quarterback at Louisville and in the Arena Football League, served as Cincinnati’s offensive coordinator from 2011-13. Although his offenses were in the middle of the pack in terms of overall efficiency during that time, the Bengals did improve in points-per-game over each of those three seasons, and in 2013, the team was in the top-10 in points scored and yards-per-game. Quarterback Andy Dalton also set career-highs in passing TDs and passing yards that season, which ended with an AFC North title.
The Jags recently fired John DeFilippo after one season as OC, and his replacement will be tasked with improving an offense that ranked 26th in points scored in 2019. The new OC will also be a major factor in developing quarterback Gardner Minshew.
There were rumors that Gruden may be headed to Las Vegas to join his brother Jon on the Raiders’ staff, and that may still be in play. But one away or another, he wants to be back in the NFL in 2020, as he told Garafolo’s NFL Network colleague, Ian Rapoport, that he is “itching to do something” and would “like to have an office to go to.”
October 13th, 2019 at 7:01pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
Jay Gruden became the first head coach fired in 2019 when the Redskins canned him last week, but he probably won’t have too difficult of a time finding a new job. Gruden is a highly regarded offensive mind despite Washington’s struggles, and is respected across the league.
It also doesn’t hurt that Gruden’s brother, Jon Gruden, is currently the head coach of the Raiders. To that end, “many expect” that Jay will “resurface next season” as a member of Oakland’s staff, writes Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. We heard recently that Gruden is expected to take the rest of this season off from coaching, so this lines up with that. The same report indicated Gruden will hunt for a head coaching job next offseason, but if he strikes out on that then the Raiders look like a likely destination.
Interestingly, Schefter points out that the Raiders never hired a quarterbacks coach this offseason, and that Gruden sliding into that role “could be the perfect move” as the team prepares to move to Las Vegas. Gruden still had another year left on his Redskins contract that he’ll presumably be getting paid for, so he won’t be in any rush to take an undesirable job.
The Gruden brothers have worked together before, as Jay served as an offensive assistant under his older brother in Tampa Bay for seven seasons. Gruden eventually landed the gig as the Bengals’ offensive coordinator, where he impressed with his ability to coax strong performances out of Andy Dalton. He got the Redskins job after that, and spent five-plus seasons in the nation’s capital before getting fired. Jon recently declined to comment on the possibility of reuniting with his brother.