The Washington Redskins wanted a methodical search, hoping to interview numerous candidates. Until they found the guy they knew they had to have. And late in the day Wednesday, near the end of their interviews with Jay Gruden, they knew it was time to act.
It wasn't anything Gruden, the Cincinnati Bengals' offensive coordinator, said in particular. But it was about everything they knew and had heard. They liked his enthusiasm. They liked his vision. They liked his people skills.
"We're sorry for the Bengals' [playoff] loss," Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen said. "But it worked out great for us. … Once Jay's interview was about three-quarters through, we knew he was the right guy. It was a unanimous decision."
The Bengals found a quick replacement for Gruden, promoting running backs coach Hue Jackson to offensive coordinator.
The Redskins gave Gruden a five-year deal, a longer one than the typical first-time NFL head coach. But they wanted to provide him with as much confidence as possible to do the job right. Washington also made sure he didn't make it out of town for a scheduled interview with the Minnesota Vikings. Gruden had interviewed with the Tennessee Titans earlier in the week.