- The Washington Times
Monday, October 7, 2019

Jay Gruden was the seventh full-time head coach during Dan Snyder’s ownership of the Washington Redskins. He was fired Monday after a nearly lifeless 0-5 start to the season and replaced by Bill Callahan on an interim basis. Add Gruden to this list of Snyder’s coaches who, to varying degrees, had unpleasant or downright embarrassing stints trying to right the franchise.

Norv Turner, 1994-2000 (49-59-1)

Turner was already entrenched when Snyder bought the team in 1999, but with the Redskins at 7-6 in 2000, the new owner fired him.

“I appreciate the opportunity that Dan Snyder gave me. I don’t think anyone can question his passion, how badly he wants to win,” Turner said at the time. Terry Robiskie finished out the final three games of 2000 in Turner’s place, the last time Washington had an in-season firing and an interim coach until Gruden and Callahan.

Marty Schottenheimer, 2001 (8-8)

His single year with the Redskins was the least illustrious stint in Schottenheimer’s famous coaching career. This was the last time Washington started a season 0-5 before this year, but to Schottenheimer’s credit, they followed the five straight losses with five straight wins. Still, Snyder fired him to make room for an even bigger name.

Steve Spurrier, 2002-2003 (12-20)

Spurrier signed what was the most expensive coaching contract in NFL history at the time — five years, $25 million. A Redskins coach lasting five years? Yes, it was too good to be true. Spurrier resigned after two. Earlier this year, Spurrier said in an interview that he “did a lousy job” in Washington — but also that “the GM did a lousy job. He happened to be the owner, so who needed to go?”

Joe Gibbs, 2004-2007 (30-34)

Gibbs should be remembered by fans for coaching the Redskins to three Super Bowl titles with three different starting quarterbacks. His second stint in Washington started off well enough — his team went 10-6 in his second year and even won a playoff game, a remarkable concept. But after a second playoff appearance in 2007, Gibbs re-retired.

Jim Zorn, 2008-2009 (12-20)

Yes, the man who leaped from Seattle quarterbacks coach to Washington head coach and called the Redskins’ colors “maroon, black and yellow” at his introductory press conference ended up with a record identical to the two-year stint of the Ol’ Ball Coach, a College Football Hall of Famer. After several years out of coaching, Zorn has taken over the XFL team in Seattle.

Mike Shanahan, 2010-2013 (24-40)

Remove 2012 from the equation, and Shanahan’s Redskins went a combined 14-34 and placed last in the NFC East every year. Robert Griffin III’s sensational rookie season gave fans hope and made Shanahan look great, but the quarterback hurt his ACL and LCL, made it worse in the wild card game and … well, Washington fans don’t need to be reminded of what happened next.

Jay Gruden, 2014-2019 (35-49-1)

Hired to “fix” Griffin’s game, that plan was quickly abandoned and Gruden’s Redskins found success with Kirk Cousins, including a playoff appearance in Gruden’s second season on the job. Things have fallen apart in the years since, and while the team was beset by an unusual amount of injuries, Gruden also received criticism for deactivating Adrian Peterson in Week 1 and how he has handled rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins.

Gruden’s .418 winning percentage is nothing to be proud of, but at five seasons plus five games, he was by far the longest-tenured coach under Snyder’s rule, and perhaps that says all that needs to be said.

• Adam Zielonka can be reached at azielonka@washingtontimes.com.

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