The Washington Redskins Must Fire Head Coach Jay Gruden

Jay Gruden
LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 15: Head coach Jay Gruden of the Washington Redskins looks on against the Dallas Cowboys during the second half at FedExField on September 15, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

It’s time for the Washington Redskins to move on from Jay Gruden. The team hired the former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator back in 2014, seeking stability after a tumultuous tenure with Mike Shanahan running the team. This desire for continuity has negatively impacted the decision-making of the Redskins front office, as they have kept Gruden as head coach despite several disappointing seasons. The Redskins have a 35-46-1 record under Gruden, an 82-game stretch of inconsistency that includes a 12-20 record against division rivals. 

Why It’s Time for the Jay Gruden Era in Washington to Come to An End

Redskin Collapses

The defining feature of the Redskins under Gruden has been their inability to close out wins. During his tenure of five-plus seasons, the team has blown 14 games in which they led by more than six points at some point in the game:

Week One, 2014 – up 6-0 at Houston Texans, lost 17-6

Week Three, 2014 – up 17-7 at Philadelphia Eagles, lost 37-34

Week Nine, 2014 – up 10-0 at Minnesota Vikings, lost 29-26

Week One, 2015 – up 10-0 vs. Miami Dolphins, lost 17-10

Week Five, 2015 – up 7-0 at Atlanta Falcons, lost 25-19

Week Six, 2015 – up 7-0 at New York Jets, lost 34-20

Week One, 2016 – up 6-0 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, lost 38-16

Week Eight, 2016 – up 7-0 at Cincinnati Bengals, tied 27-27 

Week Four, 2017 – up 10-0 at Kansas City Chiefs, lost 29-20

Week Seven, 2017 – up 10-3 at Philadelphia Eagles, lost 34-24

Week Eight, 2017 – up 13-7 vs Dallas Cowboys, lost 33-19

Week 11, 2017 – up 31-16 at New Orleans Saints, lost 34-31

Week One, 2019 – up 17-0 at Philadelphia Eagles,, lost 32-27

Week Two, 2019 – up 7-0 vs Dallas Cowboys, lost 31-21

Let’s take an in-depth look at a few of the major collapses during Gruden’s tenure:

Week Three, 2014 at Eagles

The Redskins jumped out to a 17-7 lead after quarterback Kirk Cousins threw two early touchdown passes. The defense gave up two touchdowns in the last six minutes of the second quarter, including a Nick Foles touchdown right as time expired. This gave the Eagles a 21-20 advantage at halftime. Philly on to win the game 37-34.

Week Nine, 2014 at Vikings

Washington built a 10-0 lead as halftime approached, but once again they allowed the opposing team to score points right as time expired. Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater threw a 20-yard touchdown to tight end, Chase Ford, cutting the deficit to three points after one half of play. This momentum carried into the second half, as the Vikings went on to win 29-26.

Week One, 2015 vs. Dolphins

A year later, the Redskins once again had a 10-0 lead approaching halftime, but they allowed Ryan Tannehill to lead a touchdown drive with only 27 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Like the Vikings, the Dolphins would take the momentum from this late score and carry it over to the second half, ultimately winning the game, 17-10.

Week Four, 2017 at Chiefs

Another notable collapse was in Kansas City on Monday Night Football, where the Redskins had a 10-0 lead heading into halftime, but Alex Smith found Travis Kelce for a touchdown right at the two-minute warning. The Redskins led this entire game until late in the fourth quarter. They would go on to lose 29-20 in overtime.

Week 11, 2017 at Saints

This was the worst blown lead of Gruden’s tenure in Washington. The Redskins had a 31-16 with less than six minutes left in the game. Saints quarterback Drew Brees responded with two touchdown drives along with a successful two-point conversion to tie the game. New Orleans would go on to win 34-31 in overtime.

Week One, 2019 at Eagles

Washington jumped out to a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter but went on to give up a 51-yard touchdown to DeSean Jackson on a third-and-long play. This allowed the Eagles to gain momentum heading into the second half. The Eagles took the lead after another third-and-long, 53-yard touchdown to D-Jax. They went on to win the game, 32-27.

Week Two, 2019 vs. Cowboys

The Redskins took a 7-0 lead early in the game before allowing a 51-yard touchdown to Devin Smith. The Cowboys would take complete control of the game after this score, going on to win 31-21. This was another example of the Redskins giving the opposing team momentum by allowing a long touchdown.

Time to Cut Ties

During Gruden’s tenure, the Redskins have started six different quarterbacks, such as Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy, Josh Johnson, Mark Sanchez, and Case Keenum. The one constant in these collapses is the head coach. The team has blown leads with conservative play-calling and poor execution. The Redskins have kicked off the 2019 season with consecutive blown leads against division rivals. This type of performance is inexcusable. It’s now time for the team to change the culture of collapsing in close contests – Gruden must go.

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I'm a sports fan who decided to get into freelance writing this year. I've written about baseball and football, with a focus on fantasy sports. I have contributed for StatementGames.com, writing playoffs series previews. I also write for TheScoreCrow.com, where I focus on baseball and football. Recently, a friend and I have started our own social media account called TheFantasyJones, where we provided fantasy baseball and football information, along with cool graphics and videos. We are hoping to expand into creating a podcast, as well as YouTube content. I look forward to joining the Last Word on Sports team!

15 COMMENTS

  1. If Jay Gruden had ever been given complete control of the team without the interference of the GM and owner, you might have a point–especially when it comes to the QB situation. Kirk Cousins was pushed on Gruden by the GM. I think it’s safe to say that this management crew could make it difficult for any coach to succeed. Gruden isn’t responsible for Alex Smith & Colt McCoy’s broken legs, Trent Williams hold-out, the hiring of defensive coordinators, etc. If Gruden’s job depends on success this season he’s probably going to be fired barring a few miracles (like the return of McCoy & Williams) and the revival of the defense. I don’t think he’ll have a problem getting a job, and I doubt him leaving will fix this team.

    • I agree with your comments and further, if Gruden gets fired, then you really have to fire Bruce Allen and Manusky. Allen could have traded Trent williams weeks ago for Jadeveon Clowney and the edge rusher position would have been solved but standing his ground and adamantly professing that “Trent Williams will play for us this year”, was just stupid. Allen could have made other trades this year and prior years much in the mold of the Patriots, but he seems to be content signing guys off of the waiver wire and the street. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with those two options, just look at Herb Mul-Key from years past. He seems to want to stay entrenched in mediocrity and its working. Also, I truly question their offseason conditioning program as they seem to have one of the highest injury rates in the league annually. So many bad factors within this team that are just mind boggling. Each Gruden season has started the same exact way and this one is no different. Oh, they also could have tendered a nice offer to Preston Smith and still drafted Montez Sweat and let them battle it out, but no….back to square one.

  2. Has a comment awaiting moderation ever been printed? Unless there’s profanity or something inappropriate, why would you need to censor comments? Most people who visit sports websites like to comment. When you make that impossible, you de-incentivize people to visit your website. I’ve seen some of the most disgusting comments online you can imagine, but somehow they escaped the “awaiting moderation” thing. Don’t expect me back on your website if you continue this policy.

  3. Notice one thing in all this that was common The defense allowed all this not the offense. Heiden doesn’t call the defensive plays Greg Manusky does. So if anyone needs to go it’s Manusky and Bruce Allen

  4. Redskins at the end of the day is a team with heart and they will get through this rough start i am tired of coach and the owner bashing! players need to b held accountable also they nay need a team meeting personally i think it has helped in past years!

    • Yeah but the defensive scheme is horrendous they are never near the ball short medium and deep never always somebody open and if it is the players then they need better coaching know the plays but I believe it how the coaches want them to play

  5. Gruden has to go it’s about winning period. He didn’t want rg3, but he has not been to playoffs but once in 6 years. He supposed to be offenisve guru but we have not seen this not one year in washington. He calls the plays we are average every year on offense. No other coach with a 43% winning record after 5 years now starting out 0 and 3 this year would still be around. Cut ties he had 6 years not like you didn’t get a chance ot time to prove he can be a good head coach. 32 years a redskins fan and we are terrible!! Let’s be honest and stop making excuses he will be fine he has made 25 million i think as redskins coach. He doesn’t want to play the rookie says he not ready..No one looks ready on offense so why not play him and see what you have that way next off season you want have to wonder if haskins can play in the nfl. We will not be a playoff team again this year. Don’t be mad at me it’s the truth.

  6. I’ve been a redskins fan for over 40 years. Since Dan Snyder this team has done NOTHING but raise prices for an inferior product. Players leave the redskins and produce more on other teams. Leave everything in place so that we can get the first pick in the draft and then blow up the staff. The only problem is that nobody really wants to work for Dan Snyder. The redskins are a coach killer so it’s not like they have many options.

    Sad to be a redskins’ fan

    • Snyder thought he could by a Super Bowl championship and hasn’t even made an appearance. We need new ownership that doesn’t meddle in the day to day operation.

  7. Gruden has had control of the team, and no players were pushed on him. He chose to bench RG3 for Cousins.
    When Cousins didn’t pan out (because of his timely turnovers and the front offices unwillingness to sign him long term contract at superstars prices) he then had to settle for Alex Smith. Best signing but injuries derailed the move. His play style is too conservative. The Redskins need new life. An entire overhaul needs to be done with a coach that fits his young quarterback. No one will be good in a system that doesn’t fit. You must fit the system to the player, and so far I haven’t seen him do that. I wish him the best

  8. I don’t agree that Snyder is pulling the strings.I think the problem is (acting)GM Bruce Allen.
    He’s pulling the strings.Gruden may be the coach but he is in charge!if you lose Allen and allow the head coach to make his own decisions,then you”ll know whether he is good or not

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