Redskins coaches under Daniel Snyder: A brief, sad history

October 9, 2019 Off By Oha

The Redskins fired Jay Gruden on Monday, five games into his sixth season, which is longer than any head coach has lasted in Washington since owner Daniel Snyder bought the team in 1999. For that, Gruden deserves some credit, even if his final record — 35-49-1 — was, in the words of Steve Spurrier, one of the seven head coaches of the Snyder era who preceded him, “not very good.”

As interim coach Bill Callahan takes over an 0-5 team that appears destined to miss the playoffs for a fifth straight year, here’s a look back at how Gruden’s tenure compares to the other Redskins coaches who combined for two postseason wins over the past 20 years. Trigger warning: Bad memories ahead.

[A visual guide to Daniel Snyder’s 20 years of Redskins ownership]Norv Turner (1999-2000)

Record: 17-12 | vs. NFC East: 7-7 | Division titles: 1

Point differential: 105

Starting QBs: Brad Johnson, Jeff George

Playoff appearances: 1 | Playoff record: 1-1

Best regular season win: Johnson’s 33-yard touchdown pass to fullback Larry Centers in overtime gave Washington a 26-20 win over the 49ers at 3Com Park and clinched the Redskins’ first NFC East title since 1991.

Worst regular season loss: The Redskins outgained the Cardinals, 422-178, on Nov. 5, 2000, but lost anyway, 16-15.

The inevitable end: After a 9-7 loss to the Giants dropped the Redskins’ record to 7-6, Turner, who had been on the hot seat since Snyder assumed control of the team, waited nearly two hours for a meeting with the owner that never occurred. Snyder ultimately offered the job to passing game coordinator Terry Robiskie the following morning and called Turner, who was 49-59-1 during his seven seasons in Washington, into his office at Redskins Park at 11 a.m. to deliver the news.

“As far as Coach Turner being fired, we’ve been hearing that since Mr. Snyder got here,” Redskins wide receiver Albert Connell said at the time. “You’ve got to think about it. It’s in the back of your mind.”

[Who will be the Redskins’ next head coach? Here are a few names that might get consideration.]Terry Robiskie (2000)

Record: 1-2 | vs. NFC East: 1-1 | Division titles: 0

Point differential: -27

Starting QBs: George, Johnson

Playoff appearances: 0

Best regular season win: The Redskins beat the woeful Cardinals, 20-3, on Christmas Eve to finish 8-8 and give Robiskie his only win.

Worst regular season loss: Robiskie’s debut was a 32-13 defeat at Dallas that effectively ended Washington’s playoff hopes.

The inevitable end: Snyder wanted a high profile name to replace Turner, and Robiskie, an assistant for his entire coaching career, wasn’t it.

“Marty Schottenheimer knows how to win, and that’s what Redskins fans demand in a coach,” Snyder said in a statement after hiring the former Chiefs and Browns coach, who spent the previous two seasons as an ESPN analyst, in January 2001. “I believe we have a solid player foundation at the Redskins. We’re now pairing that with a coach who understands what it takes to be successful in the NFL.”Marty Schottenheimer (2001)

Record: 8-8 | vs. NFC East: 4-4 | Division titles: 0

Point differential: -47

Starting QBs: George, Tony Banks

Playoff appearances: 0

Best regular season win: Washington limited the Eagles to 186 total yards in an ugly 13-3 triumph that evened the Redskins’ record after an 0-5 start.

Worst regular season loss: In a game that was postponed one week by the Sept. 11 attacks, the Redskins lost, 37-0, on “Monday Night Football” at Lambeau Field to fall to 0-2.

The inevitable end: “I think Marty is a fine coach,” Snyder said after Schottenheimer’s team rallied to finish 8-8, but still miss in the playoffs, in his only year at the helm. “I wish we could have worked it out. But it became clear that the Redskins and Marty had irreconcilable differences.”

“It was a philosophical dispute over whether Marty should continue with the final say over all personnel matters as well as coaching,” Schottenheimer’s agent, Tom Condon, said.

By the time Snyder fired Schottenheimer in January 2002, he had a tentative agreement in place with Steve Spurrier, who had abruptly resigned as the head coach at Florida 10 days earlier, to become the next coach of the Redskins.

[ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt says Daniel Snyder’s Redskins are on ‘a treadmill to nowhere’]Steve Spurrier (2002-2003)

Record: 12-20 | vs. NFC East: 2-10 | Division titles: 0

Point differential: -143

Starting QBs: Shane Matthews, Danny Wuerffel, Patrick Ramsey, Tim Hasselbeck

Playoff appearances: 0

Best regular season win: The Redskins’ 20-17 win over Tom Brady and the Patriots in Week 4 of the 2003 season improved Washington to 3-1 and was one of two losses the eventual Super Bowl champions suffered all year.

Worst regular season loss: Tim Hasselbeck was 6 for 26 with four interceptions in a 27-0 home loss to the Cowboys on Dec. 14, 2003.

The inevitable end: Spurrier, whose plan to build his offense around a bunch of former Gators was a colossal failure, resigned after two seasons.

“The whole thing wasn’t working,” Spurrier told The Washington Post after the Redskins went 5-11 in his second year.

Snyder replaced Spurrier with Joe Gibbs, 11 years after the three-time Super Bowl champions retired for the first time.

“Joe Gibbs helped define what the Washington Redskins stand for — integrity, hard work, determination, winning and championships,” Snyder said. “Who better to set our strategy and lead the Redskins back to championship glory?”Joe Gibbs (2004-2007)

Record: 30-34 | vs. NFC East: 10-14 | Division titles: 0

Point differential: -4

Starting QBs: Mark Brunell, Patrick Ramsey, Jason Campbell, Todd Collins

Playoff appearances: 2 | Playoff record: 1-2

Best regular season win: There are plenty of candidates, but the “Monday Night Miracle” at Dallas in Week 2 of Gibbs’s second season takes the cake.

Worst regular season loss: In their first game after the death of Sean Taylor, the Redskins lost to the Bills, 17-16. In an effort to freeze Buffalo kicker Rian Lindell before his game-winning field goal attempt, Gibbs called consecutive timeouts, which resulted in a 15-yard penalty.

The inevitable end: Citing a desire to spend more time with his family, Gibbs retired for a second time after a playoff loss to the Seahawks in January 2008.

“You can never replace Joe Gibbs,” Snyder said of his most successful hire, who led Washington to a pair of postseason berths in his four seasons.

Snyder replaced Gibbs with Jim Zorn after fans reacted with outrage to a report that former Giants Coach Jim Fassel was the leading candidate for the job.Jim Zorn (2008-2009)

Record: 12-20 | vs. NFC East: 3-9 | Division titles: 0

Point differential: -101

Starting QB: Campbell

Playoff appearances: 0

Best regular season win: Zorn led chants of “Hip Hip Hooray” after the Redskins’ 23-17 win at Philadelphia improved Washington to 4-1 in his first season.

Worst regular season loss: The “Swinging Gate” game, a 45-12 defeat to the Giants on “Monday Night Football” in Week 15 of his second year.

The inevitable end: Zorn was in over his head from the start, when he referred to the Redskins as the “maroon and black” in his introductory news conference. Snyder fired Zorn after the final game of the 2009 season.

“This has been an extremely difficult season for our organization and for the fans,” Snyder said in a statement after the Redskins finished 4-12, their worst record since 1994. “Bruce Allen spent many hours examining the football operations, and we are both determined to do whatever it takes to build a championship team. That process begins today. … I certainly accept responsibility for mistakes that I have made. I am hopeful that our fans will accept my commitment and pledge to deliver a franchise that can compete in the NFC East every season.”

Snyder, who hired Allen as the Redskins’ GM a couple of weeks before Zorn was fired, announced Mike Shanahan as the team’s new coach in January 2010.Mike Shanahan (2010-2013)

Record: 24-40 | vs. NFC East: 9-15 | Division titles: 1

Point differential: -250

Starting QBs: Donovan McNabb, Rex Grossman, John Beck, Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins

Playoff appearances: 1 | Playoff record: 0-1

Best regular season win: Behind rookies Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris, the Redskins beat the Cowboys, 28-18, on “Sunday Night Football” in the 2012 regular season finale to clinch their first NFC East title since 1999.

Worst regular season loss: The Eagles’ 59-28 bludgeoning of the Redskins on “Monday Night Football” in Shanahan’s first season, which came on the same day that Washington announced a five-year contract extension for McNabb, remains the worst defeat of Snyder’s tenure.

The inevitable end: Washington fired Shanahan after a 3-13 season in 2013.

“Redskins fans deserve a better result,” Snyder said in a written statement. “We thank Mike for his efforts on behalf of the Redskins. We will focus on what it takes to build a winning team, and my pledge to this organization and to this community is to continue to commit the resources and talent necessary to put this team back in the playoffs.”

Less than two weeks later, the Redskins hired Gruden, who spent the previous three years as the offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals.Jay Gruden (2014-2019)

Record: 35-49-1 | vs. NFC East: 12-21 | Division titles: 1

Point differential: -317

Starting QBs: Griffin, Cousins, Colt McCoy, Alex Smith, Mark Sanchez, Josh Johnson, Case Keenum

Playoff appearances: 1 | Playoff record: 0-1

Best regular season win: Washington clinched the NFC East title with a 38-24 win over the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on Dec. 26, 2015.

Worst regular season loss: The Redskins needed to beat the Giants, who had nothing left to play for, in the 2016 regular season finale to clinch a second consecutive playoff berth for the first time since 1992. Washington lost, 19-10, after Kirk Cousins threw a crucial late-game interception.

The inevitable end: Allen said the decision to fire Gruden after Sunday’s 33-7 loss to the Patriots was “difficult, but necessary.” Only the first part of that phrase applies to being a Redskins fan these days.Redskins Coaches Under Daniel Snyder (Since 1999) Coach Record (vs. NFC East) Playoff Record Point Differential Norv Turner 17-12 (7-7) 1-1 105 Terry Robiskie 1-2 (1-1) 0-0 -27 Marty Schottenheimer 8-8 (4-4) 0-0 -47 Steve Spurrier 12-20 (2-10) 0-0 -143 Joe Gibbs 30-34 (10-14) 1-2 -4 Jim Zorn 12-20 (3-9) 0-0 -101 Mike Shanahan 24-40 (9-15) 0-1 -250 Jay Gruden 35-49-1 (12-21) 0-1 -317 Total 139-185-1 (48-81) 2-5 -784

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The Redskins are starting over after firing Jay Gruden, but in what direction are they headed?

Redskins players react to Jay Gruden’s firing: ‘Sorry we couldn’t get the job done for you’

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