LANDOVER – The Washington Redskins fired Head Coach Jay Gruden after the team’s 33-7 loss to the New England Patriots on Oct. 6.
Gruden was Redskins’ owner Daniel Snyder’s longest-tenured coach, going 35-49-1 in just over five seasons with Washington. Now, at 0-5, the Redskins have promoted Bill Callahan to interim head coach, as the team looks toward the future.
As head coach, Gruden has dealt with a long list of key players on injured reserve and with little consistency at the quarterback position.
This season, running back Derrius Guice, guard Brandon Scherff, quarterback Case Keenum and tight end Jordan Reed have all missed games with injuries. All-pro left tackle Trent Williams has also not played a snap this season for Washington as he continues his holdout.
For the team, the injuries that helped contribute to an 0-5 start doomed Gruden’s tenure.
“To make a decision like this is difficult, but it was necessary,” said Redskins President Bruce Allen. “Our 0-5 start is not just disappointing; we had much different expectations for this beginning of the season.”
During Gruden’s tenure, one thing remained constant — the losing. Gruden lead Washington to only one playoff appearance, an NFC East title, with no playoff victories. Instead, under Gruden’s time as head coach, Washington found itself outside the playoff picture for multiple seasons, finishing third in the division three times and fourth once. Gruden leaves Washington in fourth place as they prepare to play the 0-4 Miami Dolphins on Oct. 13.
Last season, the Redskins had a 6-3 record, and were in first place in the NFC East, heading into their Week 11 game against the Houston Texans. Then quarterback Alex Smith broke his leg, and the team would lose six of their last seven games, missing the playoffs yet again.
But despite all the losses, Allen said the Redskins have a “damn good” culture within the organization. During Allen’s time in Washington as general manager, the team has had a losing record with no playoff wins.
“Right now, we’re all 0-5. I don’t believe anybody is hiding from their record. Our goal is to obviously change that and beat the Dolphins,” Allen said. “When you’re around this building enough, you can feel the passion of these players.”
In his first move as the team’s interim coach, Callahan decided rookie quarterback and first-round pick Dwayne Haskins will not play — at least not yet. While Haskins will not start for the team at this point, Callahan said he will give the rookie quarterback more reps in practice.
“We’re going to continue to develop him and heighten his maturation process and try to get him on schedule so that he is prepared,” Callahan said of Haskins. “There’s always the possibility that he could be active or (inactive), so we’ll see as we move along.”
Washington drafted Haskins 15th overall in the 2019 NFL draft, and he has not started a game so far this season. Haskins made one appearance, in relief for an injured Case Keenum, against the New York Giants in Week four, going 9-17 for 107 yards and three interceptions.
While Callahan said Haskins will not start for the team, he refrained from saying which of the team’s other quarterbacks, Keenum or Colt McCoy, would start the game against Miami.
Before his time in Washington, Callahan was the head coach of the Oakland Raiders from 2002-2003; he came to the Redskins in 2017 as the team’s offensive line coach.
For a team ranked 27th in the NFL in rushing yards per game, Callahan said he would emphasize running the ball more as part of his new game plan.
“If you look back the last few weeks, I think we’re at the bottom of the league in rush attempts,” Callahan said. “The willingness to make the commitment and to run it more, I think benefits everybody.”
Callahan said offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell will take over for the play calling on offense, and Greg Manusky will continue to call plays on defense.