Speaking with ESPN's John Keim, Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen answered a few pertinent questions related to the hunt for Washington's next head coach.
As far as the qualities he's looking for, he said, "There's a passion that isn't vocal sometimes. It's the dedication to the job. You can see it in different ways. Mike Ditka has it and so does Tony Dungy. You've seen it in different coaches and it's not just the fiery ones."
Right, so we should look for guys who are fiery on the outside OR not fiery on the outside. Really narrows it down...
Allen told Keim that he has experience being in charge of personnel decisions, but when asked if that responsibility would be a new one in Washington, Allen answered, "It's going to be new because we have new people and we have a new head coach and some new position coaches, but we're going to dig a little deeper into the talent pool based on what we're running, based on the characteristics necessary for the schemes we choose."
It sounds like Allen realizes that the Redskins will be hampered in the draft without a first-round pick, and know they'll need to look for value in terms of fit rather than stand-out talent. But who knows, the team could get lucky with another Morris-like steal. It's also worth noting that, while the Redskins will be rid of onerous salary-cap penalties, there are so many areas of need that they'll have to spread around the cash they do have.
This brings me to the most interesting part of the discussion, when John Keim asks how many coaches the Redskins plan to interview. "I don't know," said Allen. "The reason I say that is right now it's 10 to 12, but if we fall in love this week or the week after, it might get cut off."
The team seems to think that one of the coaches it meets this week could run away with the job; conversely, Allen's statement suggests that none of the candidates interviewed so far have swept decision-makers off their feet. It's also possible that the search won't turn up a run-away winner, but rather a number of equally attractive options.
Let's take a look at the list of candidates (up-to-date as of posting):
1. Darrell Bevell, OC Seahawks: Interviewed on Tuesday, December 31.
2. Rich Bisaccia, ST Cowboys: Interviewed on Friday, January 3.
3. Sean McDermott, DC Panthers: Interviewed on Saturday, January 4.
4. Jim Caldwell, OC Ravens: Interviewed on Sunday, January 5.
5. Perry Fewell, DC Giants: Interviewed on Monday, January 6.
6. Jay Gruden, OC Bengals: Interview requested as of Monday, January 6.
7. Mike Zimmer, DC Bengals: Interview requested as of Monday, January 6.
8. Ken Whisenhunt, OC Chargers: Interview requested as of Monday, January 6. Whisenhunt is considered a favorite for the Detroit Lions job.
9. Greg Roman, OC 49ers: Interview requested as of Monday, January 6.
10. Vic Fangio, DC 49ers: Interview requested as of Monday, January 6.
11. James Franklin, HC Vanderbilt: Interview requested as of Monday, January 6. He's reportedly the frontrunner for the Penn State vacancy.
Off the list:
Bill Cowher, Former HC Steelers: Bruce Allen confirmed that the team had not contacted Cowher. Sources close to Cowher told reporters that he plans to stay out of coaching for a few more years.
Art Briles, HC Baylor: Briles announced his intent to remain with the Bears on Friday, January 3.
Hue Jackson, Assistant Bengals: When requesting permission to interview Bengals coordinators Jay Gruden and Mike Zimmer, the Redskins did not include a request for Jackson.
Jon Gruden, Former HC Raiders, Buccaneers: While the Redskins are pursuing his brother Jay Gruden, Jon confirmed that he has not heard from the team about its coaching vacancy as of Monday, January 6.