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Coaches, coaches everywhere and not a contract to ink

First, consider stopping by The Curly R and reading the latest of his multipiece epics in blogging. Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 are predictably solid and well researched posts that Ben should be proud of and you should have read by now.

Gregg Williams was supposed to have an interview two days ago but per RI it was moved to a 12 hour monster set for today. The Post said Saturday. I can't find a source that has him being interviewed today but RI did say this:

The Redskins hope to move swiftly in the process, according to multiple league sources. And numerous league sources and agents have said that they believe Williams will get the job.
That is welcomed news to those of us, many of us, who have lobbied for a Gregg Williams coached Redskins. I've made the point on numerous occasions and will do so again.

First, Gregg Williams represents continuity. Why? As (hat tip: Curly R) the Times points out, the success we experienced under Gibbs was unique to the Snyder era and just so happened to represent the most continuity of that same era. Was Dan paying attention? He says he was, emphasis mine:

Snyder said he has learned a thing or two from Gibbs, who is just as competitive but not nearly as hard charging.

"Incredible patience," Snyder said when asked what Gibbs taught him.

Patience never has been a word associated with Snyder, who rose from college dropout to billionaire in less than two decades.

"I don't think things have changed in what I'm looking for. Continuity, absolutely, is very important," Snyder said. "I like where we are. I'm very, very pleased with the players and coaching staff. We're in good shape."

I should explain where I stand on continuity, because it isn't some unqualified or absolute good in the coaching world; rather it is more of a "all things equal you'd want continuity." And as far as continuity is concerned, not all years are created equal. For instance, I don't think continuity was what any of us were asking for when Steve Spurrier's train was arriving at the station circa 2003. That experiment was over, dead, done for, and we were better off for it. I felt that continuity might have been the way to go in 2001 prior to Spurrier's hiring, as Marty had somehow managed to turn a dismal 0-5 Redskins into a respectable winning not losing team. 8-3 in the last 11 weeks of the season tends to signal that something has gone right with the coaching staff, and the team would be better off not messing with such a good thing. We didn't, we were wrong, etc.

2007 was the kind of season I can get behind supporting continuity. We made the playoffs which has happened rarely under Dan Snyder. We did so in spite of a number of injuries, the 4th most difficult schedule in the league per FO, and of course the death of Sean Taylor. The former two are easy to identify because they are simply crunched numbers or gathered data. There is no way to objectively quantify the effect the death of your team's best player can have, but observers the league over overwhelmingly recognized it as a tramatic experience for a team to deal with. We did so, and respectably. One day they will make a Disney movie out of it, because Dan Snyder will buy Disney and make them.

Second, although continuity is great, it doesn't matter if you don't have a qualified person available to carry over the continuity. For example, if there were a member of Spurrier's staff I'd have considered for the HC job, it would've been Marvin Lewis (at the time -- I've been convinced otherwise since then) and he belted for the Bengals in 2003 anyways. Gregg Williams joined the staff in 2004 and has been with the team, coaches, and players every moment since then. That is four complete seasons of picking and meddling and communicating with all the moving parts of an NFL franchise and thus represents the kind of continuity we're talking about above.

Is he qualified? Defensively there can be no doubt, here are his figures as defensive coordinator by traditional metrics, first yards, then points. Years immediately prior and immediately after his tenure are covered paranthetically:

(1998 Titans, someone else, although Gregg was the LB coach, 16th yards, 12th points)
1999 Titans 17th yards, 15th points
2000 Titans 1st yards, 2nd points -- to only the 2000 Baltimore Ravens who, incidentally, would win the SB with that defense and allow, I think, the fewest points of damn near any team in league history.
(Spurrier's 2003 Redskins 25th yards, 24th points)
2004 Redskins 3rd yards, 5th points
2005 Redskins 9th and 9th
2006 Redskins 31st and 27th
2007 8th yards, 11th points

FO ranks comparably. In 1998 prior to Gregg Williams taking over the defense in Tennessee, they were 28th in the league. In 1999 they jumped up to 18th, by 2000 they were 2nd to just that dominating Ravens defense of legend. In 2003, prior to Williams, Redskins were 27th defensively. They were 4th in '04, 4th in '05, a bad 32nd last year, but rebounded to 6th this year.

When all is said and done, it appears, as a Defensive Coordinator at least, that Gregg Williams is overwhelmingly good with one anomalous year in 2006. We were around to understand the severity of the horror that was our defense that year, but there were also some extenuating circumstances discussed at length elsewhere on this site. I'm not going to rehash that discussion but encourage you to do so; suffice to say, I am personally convinced that Gregg Williams understands defenses and that he makes a fine defensive coach. If you are yet convinced, consider reading his cheerleader bio at the Official Site which is well researched even if it would say good things.

Does that mean he'd make a Head Coach? Probably not, as I'm sure that there have been plenty of competent defensive coordinators who couldn't make the transition. Furthermore his record as HC was spotty at best, going 17-31 in his short three year tenure in Buffalo. What I will say in response to that, perhaps accepting the role of apologist, is that Gregg Williams would not be the first coach in history to succeed (if he were to do so) after a less than stellar first stint as head coach. Furthermore, it's not easy to win games with the likes of Alex Van Pelt, Rob Johnson, and an aging Drew Bledsoe. And that 2001-2003 stint isn't entirely without merit because those damned 2003 Bills were a fine defensive team, ranking 2nd in the league. (Remember, too, that his tenure happened to occur right in the midst of the historic run of the division rival Patriots, who won 34 games and 2 Super Bowls in those three years -- the AFC East produced three playoff teams in Gregg Williams first year: New England, Miami, and NY).

Murmur murmur murmur I'm of the opinion Gregg Williams has earned a 2nd shot at a head coaching job and that might as well be here. I'm rarely correct about anything, so maybe it's best we don't get Gregg, but don't let me be wrong without you going on record as having called me out. Post in the comments if you want somebody else.

Because you could get somebody else. Per Fanhouse:

New day, new names added to the coaching carousel. The Redskins, who have been uncharacteristically deliberate in their search to replace Joe Gibbs, could interview Jim Fassel and Denny Green, two coaches brought in four years ago before the team hired Gibbs 2.0.
Other names from Redskins Insider:
The Washington Redskins will interview Indianapolis Colts assistant coaches Jim Caldwell and Ron Meeks for their head coaching vacancy, possibly as early as Tuesday. Colts president Bill Polian confirmed today that the Redskins have asked for and were granted permission to interview both of Coach Tony Dungy's top assistants.
Jason also points out:
Meeks and Caldwell are considered future head coaches and interviewing them would satisfy the NFL's Rooney Rule, which mandates that teams conducting head coaching searches must interview minority candidates.
I guess I should have a position on the Rooney Rule. I think it's fine and bothers me not one bit. It simply requires interviews, so I don't know how consequential it has actually been in practice and I still think the sample size and timeline is too short to measure with any great certainty whether it has had its intended effect, but because of that it's also too soon to judge it negatively. All that said, and I am not suggesting the team has done otherwise, you should never interview a candidate merely to satisfy some stupid rule. Every person that walks through the doors of Redskins Park should be a serious candidate for the job, winnable through an outstanding interview. Anything less is a waste of that coach's time, the fans' time, and the team's time, and certainly would not be consistent with the goal of the Rooney Rule, which I always took to be to increase the access minority coaches had to head coaching job. If someone is brought in just to satisfy the rule with no serious intent to hire them, it doesn't necessarily do that. So now we're talking about the Rooney Rule, too, so feel free to post your own thoughts on that in the comments. Although I've never actually heard a discussion on it, I've been told it's a controversial rule. Again, it doesn't bother me, but what the fudge do I know?