Jay Gruden signed a five-year deal to become the eighth head coach of the Washington Redskins since Daniel Snyder bought the franchise in 1999.
"We've got to forget about the past and look toward the future every day," Gruden said Thursday at his introductory press conference.
Gruden replaces Mike Shanahan, who was fired four years into a five-year deal at the end of the 2013 season, which ended with a franchise-worst eight consecutive losses while questions about quarterback Robert Griffin III's health and leadership poisoned the locker room.
"We were looking for a new leader, somebody who can inspire our football team," general manager Bruce Allen said. "We knew it was more than just X's and O's. It was about finding the right person to build the team chemistry that we needed. We kept looking for that leader and teacher ... someone who had the fire in his belly to come and lead the Washington Redskins."
Washington was 3-13 last season after making the playoffs in 2012.
"Robert's a great quarterback," Gruden said. "Any time you want to move forward as a franchise, that's a very important position as we well know. I see a ton of talent. I see a guy that can run, a guy that can maneuver in the pocket. I see accuracy. I see long ball accuracy. I see toughness. I see a guy that wants to win. And I see a strong leader.
"I see every trait a quarterback has to have to be successful. Why wouldn't you want to coach a guy like that? I'm excited to coach him and hopefully he's excited to play here."
Gruden, who has yet to speak to his vacationing quarterback, will call his own plays and have some input in personnel, but does not have final say on player moves. The most important player on the roster is Griffin, who is entering his third season. Gruden said he will build a genuine trust with him.
"He's got to understand that I expect a lot from the starting quarterback," said Gruden.
Part of Shanahan's undoing was an ineffective offense directed by unproven coordinator Kyle Shanahan, Mike's son.
The new coordinator could be Sean McVay, a 27-year-old who held the title of tight ends coach with the Redskins last season. McVay worked with Gruden with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but Gruden said no coaching hires were official. When told of the report that McVay was named offensive coordinator, Gruden said "Nice, good for Sean."
Gruden is a 12-year veteran of the NFL coaching ranks and recently wrapped up his third season leading the Cincinnati Bengals' offense. The Bengals made three straight playoff appearances, but lost in the opening round each year.
He has never been a head coach in the NFL but did hold that title in the United Football League and Arena Football League.
Gruden worked with Allen with the Buccaneers, when Gruden worked under his brother Jon Gruden. On that same staff was current Redskins secondary coach Raheem Morris, who is expected to be retained along with defensive coordinator Jim Haslett.
Gruden informed the Bengals he would not return on Thursday morning, according to multiple reports. Former Oakland Raiders head coach Hue Jackson is expected to replace Gruden as offensive coordinator after serving as assistant head coach for Marvin Lewis last season.
"I'm ecstatic for Jay. From the first time we met I've been a Jay Gruden fan, and I'm grateful for what he did for us," Lewis said Thursday.
Gruden was the sixth confirmed candidate to interview with the Redskins, following Dallas Cowboys special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott and New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. Scheduled to interview were Vanderbilt coach James Franklin, who was offered the coaching job at Penn State late Wednesday, and San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman.
Gruden, who interviewed for the Tennessee Titans' opening on Tuesday, was scheduled to speak with the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday.