The Jacksonville Jaguars are reportedly making a high-upside addition to their coaching staff on the offensive side of the ball. On Tuesday night, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that the Jaguars are set to hire Jay Gruden as their new offensive coordinator. Gruden, the former Washington Redskins head coach, is “itching to do something” in 2020 and “would like an office to go to,” expressing a desire to get back into coaching.
Gruden had two winning seasons as Washington’s head coach, giving the Redskins back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since the 1996 and 1997 seasons. Gruden led the Redskins to first place in the NFC East two years after the Shanahan disaster with Kirk Cousins as his quarterback, falling in the NFC Wild-Card game.
Gruden ended his Redskins tenure with a 35-49-1 record, going 1-11 in his final 12 games. He was fired after an 0-5 start in 2019. Gruden is partly responsible for the emergence of Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay, who served as his offensive coordinator for three years before revolutionizing the league with the Rams.
Before his time in Washington, Gruden spent three seasons as the offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals. With his help, the Bengals made three straight playoff appearances — including an AFC North title in 2013.
Gruden is largely credited with a key role in the development of quarterbacks Andy Dalton (during his Bengals tenure) and Kirk Cousins (during his Redskins tenure). Both quarterbacks evolved from mid-round draft picks into starting quarterbacks (who also put up big numbers) under Gruden’s tenure.
With the Jaguars, Gruden will have a decision to make regarding quarterbacks Nick Foles and Gardner Minshew. Foles, who signed a four year, $88 million contract this past offseason, went 0-4 in four starts with the Jaguars, completing 65.8% of his passes for 736 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions for an 84.6 passer rating.
Foles missed 10 weeks with a broken collarbone, paving the way for Minshew to emerge in his rookie season. Minshew completed 60.6% of his passes for 3,271 yards with 21 touchdowns and six interceptions for a 91.2 passer rating, as the Jaguars went 6-6 in his starts. Minshew only played 12 games, but he finished the season strong throwing seven touchdowns to one interception in his last four games as the Jaguars finished 2-2 down the stretch.
The Jaguars offense was inconsistent at best in 2019, finishing 26th in points scored and 21st in yards per game. They also finished last in the NFL in rushing touchdowns. Under Gruden, the Redskins offense finished in the top-15 in points and yards twice in his five seasons.