Former Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden is grateful for his time serving as the head coach of the team, but cites injuries as a major component to the team failing to find success.
Gruden was fired on Monday following an 0-5 start to the 2019 season, at 5:30 am, and Bill Callahan will take over the helm as interim coach.
“I thought it might happen last week after the Giants game,” Gruden said, according to ESPN’s John Keim. “Based on reports, and they never said, ‘You’re not getting fired,’ so I assumed I was. I had a good staff there, and hopefully they can make it work in the last 11 games and stick around. It’s a good group.”
Gruden aired out some of his frustrations, pointing to not having control of personnel decisions, such as draft picks and free agent signings.
“I have mixed emotions about it,” Gruden said. “At the end of the day, if you’re not the GM, you have to accept the fact that you don’t get everything you want. You accept the players given to you. I had input in some areas, but there are some major issues there. It’s that way with most coaches. You don’t have that total say. It’s something you have to overcome and work with the guys you have.”
Gruden also struggled to field a healthy team, with many of his key, star players missing significant time due to injuries.
“I can’t remember the last time all my guys played. It’s hard,” Gruden said. “The majority of our payroll, we paid a lot of money and never had guys on the field. I don’t know if many other teams can say that with so many. Some teams lose a quarterback or a tackle. We lost a quarterback, a tackle, guard, center, wide receiver or running back. That’s not easy to overcome. But we still should have been better on defense and perform better in certain areas. When you’re 0-5, 0-5 coaches don’t last very long.”
Still, despite the frustrations, Gruden looks back on his time at the helm of the Redskins fondly, and with appreciation.
“It was a great opportunity to be a head coach of the Redskins,” Gruden said. “I loved every minute of it. At the end of the day, we didn’t get the results we wanted. It was very frustrating with the amount of injuries we had the last three years, but you can’t use that as an excuse. You have to get ready to play, and I didn’t do a good job of that, and our record shows that in the last 11, 12 games. We weren’t able to overcome it.”
Gruden’s name will likely pop up, during the upcoming offseason, as new head coaching and offensive coordinator jobs open up, but he is most likely going to have to look into offensive coordinator positions before getting another crack at being a head coach.
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