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Coaching Rumors: Jay Gruden could be fired if the Redskins lose to the Giants on Sunday

It’s still September

The Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys Photo by John McDonnell / The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Redskins have lost the first 3 games of the year. The defense was supposed to be a strength this year, but it’s been getting torched every week. Case Keenum did okay the first two weeks, but melted down in a 5 turnover disaster on national television Monday night. Now the Redskins travel to New Jersey for their 3rd division game this month. 0-3 is almost the kiss of death for a season, but falling to 0-4 with 3 division losses puts them into evaluation mode for next September.

There have been (at least)two reports this week saying that Jay Gruden’s job is on the line this week. This is his 6th year as the Washington Redskins head coach, and his contract extension runs through the 2020 season. He has only taken this team to the playoffs once, and that ended in a home loss to the Green Bay Packers. The last two seasons have ended with a 7-9 record. The season before that had an 8-7-1 record, and they missed the playoffs after an excruciating Week 17 loss to a Giants team that had nothing to gain by winning.

JP Finlay reported this on Tuesday following the blowout loss to the Bears:

Team sources in Ashburn have described an incredibly explosive situation where Gruden and Manusky‘s jobs are on the line next week in New York.

While sources have said Snyder was “livid” after his Redskins got blasted by the Cowboys in Week 2 and that Snyder and Allen stayed at FedEx Field until well past 2 a.m. Tuesday morning after the embarrassing 31-15 loss to the Bears, it seems the staff will remain intact for Week 4.

Now today the Washington Post is reporting this:

“I’ve seen a guy walk on the moon, for God’s sakes,” he said in a quiet moment after a recent practice. “Surely an 0-3 team can come back from the depths of 0-3 and put on a nine, 10 game streak and win 10 of their last 13 games. It’s not that big of a deal, right?”

Gruden laughed, but he wasn’t really laughing.

His Redskins have allowed at least 31 points each week as they have lost their first three games. Two people with knowledge of the situation say Gruden could be fired if Washington doesn’t beat the New York Giants on Sunday. Earlier this week, the betting site updated its odds on the NFL coach likeliest to be fired first this year, making Gruden its top choice.

The general consensus is that Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky should have been fired after last season. Defensive coaches were interviewed last year, reportedly with Manusky in the room, as they searched for his replacement. They didn’t get the coaches they wanted so they settled for bringing in former Defensive Coordinators Rob Ryan and Ray Horton. If the Redskins lose this week, will Manusky be the sacrificial lamb, and Gruden survives until after the Patriots next week? Or does Dan Snyder swing the axe early in the season?

The big question will be what happens after Gruden(and presumably Manusky) get fired? Bill Callahan is the obvious choice to step into the interim Head Coach position. He has known Bruce Allen for a long time, and has replaced a Gruden as Head Coach before while in Oakland. People have called for new Offensive Coordinator Kevin O’Connell to be given a shot for a job they feel he is destined to fill. He would likely be one of, if not the most inexperienced Head Coaches in NFL history. This is a direct result of the “Sean McVay effect” and would likely not work here.

The Redskins go into New Jersey as 3 point underdogs, but Jay Gruden remains the most likely head coach in the NFL to be fired first.