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Youth Movement on the Sidelines for Redskins

Are the Redskins building a coaching staff that will produce future top coaches in the league?

Patrick McDermott

I am going to try to keep this under 1,000 words today! I just wanted to try and get a discussion going on how people feel about the "general" direction of things as we ramp up our offseason. Today's topic: Developing young coaches.

  • As much as we need to continue to develop young players, I have been pressing for quite some time to "develop" young coaches as well. Remember when we kicked our own players to the curb year in and year out, in favor of shiny new free agents from other teams? In the process of ushering in well-paid athletes with insanely hot wives (do yourselves a favor and Google "adam archuleta wife"), we would usher out guys with the institutional knowledge that comes with cutting their teeth on our roster. In the process of changing coaches as often as we have, the churning on our sidelines has come at a cost. Although there has been some consistency at the position coach level for the Redskins through the turmoil, too many young promising coaches have left the building. On some level, that is a real hidden cost of sustained losing in this league--necessary head coaching changes can cause churning of the ranks you might not otherwise wish to churn.
  • To be fair, there is a certain amount of room you have to give a new coach to build his own staff. It has become very customary to give him that right. The Redskins tried to build the support staff ahead of hiring a head coach a few years back. It didn't quite work out for them, as they had to turn to one of their "support staff" hires for head coaching duties (Jim Zorn). The way Bruce Allen is doing it this year is a bit smarter. He brought in a guy who he knew had experience with some of the coaches on our roster already. Further, Jay Gruden has an inherent trust in Bruce Allen (my own speculation based on what we have heard and read) that would likely cause him to lean toward keeping or bringing in the kind of coach Bruce wants this organization to have.
  • Jay Gruden is the de facto offensive coordinator for this team, so having a 27-year old coach with that title is not as big of a deal as it would be if the head coach was Mike Zimmer, or some other defensive-minded coach. Still, on the face of it, this is exactly what I have been hoping for: promoting young coaches from within in the hopes that it provides both philosophical stability on the sidelines as well as cultivation of future head coaching prospects.
  • Developing coaches is probably further down most people's lists when your team has skyscraper-sized holes in the secondary and along the offensive line. A long-term vision for this franchise has to go hand-in-hand with a stable of position coaches and coordinators that are "Redskin" guys though. These are the guys that ensure that when you lose free agents and even when you change head coaches, the vision stays as undiluted as possible. These are the guys the players learn to trust and rely on, making them the perfect candidates for promotion when guys above them move on. After all, it is not unheard of for organizations to consider trading for coaches. That might not be something we would want to do, but the Redskins should be giving themselves every opportunity available to them buy creating as much value in their organization as they can.
  • We will see how the rest of the staff gets filled out, but I think we have the makings of a crew that will be more than just beholden to the head coach. This is the benefit of having a strong and powerful GM--which I am NOT ready to call Bruce Allen just quite yet. When the GM is the one calling the shots, there tends to be a bit more priority placed on the 5-year, 10-year and even 20-year views, though there will never be anything more important than the next three years for any NFL team anymore. The true test will be some point in the future, when either a franchise comes knocking on our door to hire away our coordinator in exchange for a juicy draft pick, or when Jay Gruden retires after winning ten Super Bowls and we promote from within to fill the vacancy.
  • Maybe the truest test will be if we start winning. Ha! Crazy, I know.