Coming into the 2013 season, expectations were high for the Washington Redskins. Many picked them to win the division going at least 10-6. Hopes were high and a possible Super Bowl run was in mind. The season however was a complete failure finishing with a record of 3-13. Drama and controversy surrounded the team, many stories leaked out to the media casting a negative light on the team. Rumors about Shanahan wanting to be fired was the biggest storyline surrounding the team late in the season. After a loss to the Giants, Shanahan and some of his assistants were fired by Washington. Now the search for a new head coach begins. Bruce Allen has made it known that Washington will look at a wide variety of coaches whether it be former head coaches, coordinators, or even college coaches. It is already known that Washington will be interviewing Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, and Rich Bisaccia, the special teams coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys. We will first take a look at the ones listed above.
1.) Darrell Bevell: He is the offensive coordinator for Seattle and is the main reason why quarterback Russell Wilson was drafted by the Seahawks. When Wilson was selected in the third round, it came as a shock to many. Coach Pete Carroll simply said it was Bevell's project. Wilson has led Seattle to back to back playoff births and under Bevell and Wilson, Seattle has been a top-ten offense in points per game. He focuses on the run game which would be a good fit in Washington. Marshawn Lynch has been one of the league leading rushers the past couple seasons under Bevell and Seattle has done well incorporating a mobile Wilson into the run game as well. Bevell would appear to be a good fit in Washington with a power back in Alfred Morris and a mobile quarterback in RG3. Bevell has transformed Wilson into the superstar that he is and the hope would be that he could help Griffin in his development. The only knock on Bevell though is that he isn't as vocal as some would like him to be. He takes chances and is very gutsy but his personality may not be a match for a large market team like Washington. Making Bevell the head coach in the mess that is surrounding Washington would be a very interesting choice,
2.) Sean McDermott: He is the defensive coordinator for Carolina and has helped transform the Panthers defensive unit into a top 10 defense. This past season his defense finished second in total points and total yards. In a matter of 3 seasons his defense went from 28th to 10th to 2nd. He has been described by coaches around the league as smart, honest, hard working, and disciplined. He is a no nonsense kind of guy which is something that Washington needs. Someone who is not willing to take any nonsense and won't stand for dumb decisions on and off the football field. McDermott would be a good hire for Washington as he could help a very porous Washington defense. However he would need a good plan for Washington's offense. He would have to bring in someone who would have full control of the offense. If he could bring in the right guy as his offensive coordinator, McDermott would make for a very interesting hire by Washington.
3.) Jim Caldwell: He is the offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens. He previously was the quarterbacks coach in Indianapolis under Tony Dungy as Caldwell worked with Peyton Manning. Caldwell took over as head coach when Dungy retired but was fired after going 2-14 in the year without Peyton Manning. After being fired from Indianapolis, Caldwell was hired as the quarterbacks coach in Baltimore where he worked with Joe Flacco for a season before taking over as the offensive coordinator. Although Caldwell has had success as a coordinator and quarterbacks coach, I don't think Caldwell is a good fit as a head coach, especially in Washington. Caldwell has primarily worked with true pocket passers like Manning and Flacco and not a mobile quarterback like Griffin. Caldwell emphasizes the passing game and likes to throw screen passes out of the backfield. Griffin needs a strong run game to open up his passing game and Morris is not a great receiver out of the backfield like Ray Rice is in Baltimore. Caldwell does not appear to be a good fit as Washington's head coach.
4.) Perry Fewell: He is the defensive coordinator of the New York Giants. He took over as defensive coordinator the year the Giants made their last Super Bowl run in 2012. His defense turned things around in the playoffs and were able to clamp down on the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl. Despite his team having a 7-9 record this season, Fewell still managed to have his defense ranked in the top 10 in total defense. Both times they played Washington, his defensive line was able to harass Washington's quarterbacks, even without the services of Jason Pierre Paul. Fewell would bring a strong defensive presence to Washington which could be what Washington needs.
5.) Rich Bisaccia: He is the special teams coordinator and the assistant head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. He took over as special teams coordinator this year after leaving Auburn having only been there for 22 days. He previously worked with Bruce Allen for years in Tampa Bay. He coached one of the best special teams units in the league this year due in large part to Dwayne Harris as their returner and Dan Bailey having another good year at kicker. With his close ties to Bruce Allen, this makes his interview all the more intriguing. In the end though with Washington in desperate need of a special teams coordinator, the only way I see Bisaccia coming to Washington is if he's the special teams coordinator.
These coaches have been publicly stated by Washington's front office as possible candidates for the head coaching job. However there are more potential candidates that could wind up interviewing for the coaching vacancy. Those names include Hue Jackson, Jay Gruden, Mike Zimmer, David Shaw, Russ Grimm, Ken Whisenhunt, Greg Roman, Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden, and Raheem Morris.
6.) Hue Jackson: He is the running backs coach of the Cincinnati Bengals. He was previously the head coach of the Oakland Raiders before being forced out after a personnel change. Before that he was the receivers coach of the Bengals, and even the offensive coordinator of the Redskins for one season. Jackson does carry some head coaching experience with him and has close ties to Bruce Allen. I however do not see Jackson as a great selection for head coach of Washington.
7.) Jay Gruden: He is the offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals. He took the job in Cincy in 2011 where he helped transform quarterback Andy Dalton. The Bengals offense has a good passing attack and now a solid ground game with Gio Bernard and Benjarvis Green Ellis as the two man rushing attack. Gruden served as the offensive assistant in Tampa under his brother Jon. He has had huge success coaching in the Arena football league and has coached with Jim Haslett. He played quarterback collegiately at Louisville and in the arena football league and would be a good one to help with the development of RG3. It would be surprising if Washington did not heavily pursue after Gruden for the head coaching job.
8.) Mike Zimmer: He is the defensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals. In 2003 he helped coach the Dallas defense where they gave up the fewest yards in the league while running a 4-3 defense. He made the switch to a 3-4 under Parcells and still had success. He left Dallas to join Bobby Petrino in Atlanta. After Petrino was fired after 13 games, Zimmer left to join the Bengals as the defensive coordinator. He was the assistant coach of the year in 2009 after leading the Bengals defense to finish 4th in the league. His defense has always been one of the best in the league. His worst finish was only 15th. His defense is almost always in the top 10. While he is one of the older candidates, Zimmer would bring a strong defensive presence to Washington, something that the Redskins could surely use. With him he could potentially bring Hue Jackson to coach Washington's offense. Zimmer would make for another solid candidate for Washington to consider.
9.) David Shaw: He is the head coach at Stanford University where his specialty is offense. While Shaw has remained firm on staying at Stanford, the possibility always remains and he is one of the hottest names in college football who could coach at the next level. He does have some experience in the NFL as a quarterback and receivers coach before going back to Stanford to serve as the offensive coordinator under Jim Harbaugh. He has been the head coach since Harbaugh left Stanford. Shaw not only is known for his offense, but he emphasizes defense as well. In his last two seasons as head coach of Stanford, their defense has been one of the best in the nation. He worked with Andrew Luck and is conservative in his play calling. He is very organized and shows great discipline. Shaw would make for a good hire if he can be convinced to leave Stanford.
10.) Russ Grimm: He is currently unemployed. Grimm was an offensive lineman for Washington and was one of the best to ever put on a Skins uniform. After retiring from playing, he served as the tight ends coach and then the offensive line coach for Washington. He was responsible for the development of Chris Samuels and Jon Jansen who were both great tackles for the Redskins. He left to join Pittsburgh as the offensive line coach where he helped lead Pittsburgh's rushing attack with Willie Parker and his o-line to 5th best in the league. He has been considered as a head coaching candidate multiple times but has never been given that chance. He left Pittsburgh to join Ken Whisenhunt and coach the offensive line there. Grimm has had major success coaching offensive lines, something Washington desperately needs help with. Grimm should be considered for some sort of position in Washington as he has proven his success throughout the league. Although I don't see him being the head coach, I can see him returning as the offensive line coach in Washington.
11.) Ken Whisenhunt: He is the offensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers. He is responsible for reviving the career of Phillip Rivers. He had a brief stint playing tight end for the Redskins. He was the tight end coach in Pittsburgh where he helped develop Heath Miller. He then took over as offensive coordinator for Pittsburgh where he helped lead the Steelers to the Super Bowl. He was conservative in his plays before throwing out the occasional trick plays. One of his most famous calls was the wide receiver reverse pass where Antwaan Randle El threw a touchdown pass to Hines Ward. He took over as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals in 2007 and led them to their first non losing season in years. He made the bold decision to go with quarterback Kurt Warner over Matt Leinart. He won back to back division titles and led the Cardinals to a Superbowl appearance where he lost to the Steelers. Whisenhunt would be another good candidate to coach the Redskins and to help with the development of RG3 and Jordan Reed.
12.) Greg Roman: He is the offensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers. He has incorporated the zone read offense with Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore leading the rushing attack. He stresses the play of the offensive line and is only 40 years old. He would be a good fit in Washington where he could continue developing the zone read with RG3 and Alfred Morris. He would have to reshape the offensive line which shouldn't be a problem with the available cap space Washington has this year. Roman would make for an interesting selection as head coach and could keep the offense moving forward with its key pieces in place.
13.) Bill Cowher: He is currently an analyst for CBS and was the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers where he won a super bowl. Cowher's strength has always been defense. Cowher is a no nonsense kind of guy and looks for high character guys who are motivated to play. On defense he focuses on hard hitting and aggressiveness. Cowher could change the defense in Washington and because of his success, could potentially bring in a good offensive coordinator to help develop RG3. Cowher has made it clear that he does not plan on returning to coaching however things can change. Although it is unlikely Cowher comes to DC, Washington should still at least reach out to the legendary coach.
14.) Jon Gruden: He is currently an analyst for Monday Night Football and was the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He won a Super Bowl over the Oakland Raiders and has helped develop his assistants to become head coaches like Raheem Morris and Mike Tomlin. Gruden has also helped his brother Jay in the NFL where he leads the high powered Bengals offense. Gruden has made it known he doesn't plan on returning to coaching... not yet at least. Gruden although has won a Super Bowl, would not be a great signing by Washington, mainly because of his terrible draft history which is something Washington can not afford, especially with their lack of draft picks. I don't see Gruden coming back to coaching, especially in Washington despite his relationship with Bruce Allen.
15.) Raheem Morris: He is currently the defensive backs coach in Washington. He has a strong relationship with Bruce Allen and has head coaching experience as the coach of the Tampa Buccaneers. He helped lead the Buccaneers defense to a Super Bowl title where their defense was ranked best in the league. Morris left to go to Kansas State only to return to Tampa as the defensive backs coach where his pass defense ranked 1st in the league. Morris's secondary has struggled this year in Washington. Deangelo Hall was the lone bright spot however having four interceptions and two touchdowns. Although Morris is highly regarded by Bruce Allen, I don't see him becoming the head coach.
My Preferred Head Coaching List:
1. Greg Roman
2. Darrell Bevell
3. Jay Gruden
4. David Shaw
5. Mike Zimmerman
6. Ken Whisenhunt
7. Bill Cowher
8. Hue Jackson
9. Sean McDermott
10. Jon Gruden
11. Russ Grimm
12. Rich Bisaccia
13. Perry Fewell
14. Jim Caldwell
15. Raheem Morris
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