The RedskinsGab Staff is pleased to welcome another contribution from guest writer Dash Kannan:
I’ve been on record saying I believe Mike Shanahan returns to the Redskins for the 2014-2015 NFL season. But it seems like I might be one of five people in the DMV or across the country who believes that.
Many believe the Redskins have already started looking at prospective head coaches. As bad as they have been, they still have several key pieces on the team that would make any head coach giddy. They potentially have a franchise quarterback in Robert Griffin III, a star running back in Alfred Morris, a franchise bookend left tackle in Trent Williams, a true #1 receiver in Pierre Garcon, and a dynamic tight end in Jordan Reed on offense. Defensively, the Redskins have what many teams don’t have – two good pass rushers in Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan. Other than that, nearly every defensive starter is replaceable, but a case could be made for keeping second year CB David Amerson, veteran CB Deangelo Hall, inside linebacker Perry Riley, and defensive tackle Barry Cofield in the starting lineup. What the next head coach needs to decide is whether to stick with a 3-4 defense or a 4-3 which might fit the talents of the players better.
But more important than fixing the defense is the fact that the next head coach should be able to coexist with and adapt to RGIII. That should be the first question that Dan Snyder asks any head coaching candidates.
But as far as who the next head coach actually will be, the Redskins have a broad range of candidates. As big of a mess it is in Ashburn, along with the perceived notion that owner Daniel Snyder will continually interject himself into the football operations of the team, the Redskins are still a premier franchise in the NFL. They have won three Super Bowls, and the DMV, for the most part, is a bandwagon fan base. The city loves winners – one of the main reasons the Capitals have been a great draw for the last 6-7 years.
Here’s my preliminary look at potential head coach candidates for the Redskins.
The College Guys
Art Briles, Head Coach, Baylor University – The Redskins have already gone down the route of a hot college coach – who can forget the catastrophic Steve Spurrier experiment? – but that’s not the reason for hesitation. I don’t think there’s any way Briles leaves Baylor for Washington unless he’s offered more than $8 million per year. Briles has a potential National Championship team coming back next year with Quarterback Bryce Petty returning. The BCS is finally gone so four teams have a shot at the National Championship. The Big 12 is down (depending on if Nick Saban leaves to replace Mack Brown at Texas) and Briles should have at the least a top 10 team next year.
David Shaw, Head Coach, Stanford University – Shaw is the new hot college coach who, like his predecessor Jim Harbaugh, seems destined for a NFL Head Coaching job. Shaw would, no doubt, be a great fit in Washington. He’s a defensive minded coach who can fix the Redskins’ defense with his schemes. In addition, Shaw has been the only head coach who has stopped Oregon’s high flying offense over the last two years, which is more intriguing since Chip Kelly is leading the division right now in Philadelphia. But Shaw is a Texas guy, and if the University of Texas were to woo him alongside the Redskins, the job in Austin may be of more interest to him.
Bill O’Brien, Head Coach, Penn State University – There is an underbelly of Social Media clamor for Bill O’Brien to take over in Ashburn. He has offensive coordinating experience under Bill Belichick, coaching some guy named Tom Brady, and has done a remarkable job at Penn State following the Joe Paterno scandal. Brien would be a very good fit and there is no doubt in my mind that he would model his offense to fit RGIII perfectly.
The Pro Guys
Darrell Bevell, Offensive Coordinator, Seattle Seahawks – Bevell has been in Seattle for the last two seasons and worked with Russell Wilson, who has had a much better sophomore campaign than RGIII. Wilson and RGIII play similar styles and as I stated previously, yet Wilson is far more developed than RGIII as a passer outside the pocket.
Jay Gruden, Offensive Coordinator, Cincinnati Bengals – Gruden, the younger brother of ESPN analyst Jon Gruden (who, in my opinion, is NOT coming to Washington D.C.) is the offensive coordinator for the Bengals offense that has seen Andy Dalton have great games with AJ Green and his stable of otherwise unsung receivers. Gruden also has the coaching pedigree in his family, which is something that seems to run through.
Lovie Smith, former Head Coach, Chicago Bears – Kevin Sheehan of ESPN 980 previously stated, on the Sports Fix, that he had heard from “someone in the know” that it was a possibility that Lovie Smith could be named head coach of the Redskins, and be flanked by AJ Smith as the Redskins General Manager (Smith currently serves as an advisor to the team) and Terry Shea, RGIII’s former quarterback coach, as offensive coordinator. If Smith could pull that off, he is sure to be in agreement with RGIII on the direction of the offense.
Rex Ryan, Head Coach, New York Jets – Ryan seemed to have saved his job in New York when the Jets were 6-5, but with Geno Smith’s erratic play in his rookie season, and the obvious disconnect between Ryan and the Jets new front office leadership, his days in New York could still be numbered. But Ryan is probably one of the best defensive minds in the league. He can definitely fix the defense, and he has never had a quarterback with the ability of Griffin (no, Mark Sanchez doesn’t count).
Hue Jackson, Assistant Coach, Cincinnati Bengals – A late addition to the list. Former Redskins executive Vinny Cerrato, who also used to be the most hated man in the DMV (looks like Mike Shanahan has replaced him now), suggested that Hue Jackson would be a very solid head coach for the Redskins. I am a fan of Hue Jackson, especially for his work in Oakland when he overachieved with a 8-8 record and promptly got canned. It’s a good idea on paper, but it’s likely not going to happen as the backlash for picking Cerrato’s candidate would be panned across the board by nearly everyone.
The Dark Horse
Mack Brown, former Head Coach, University of Texas – No one is going to agree with me on this, but hear me out. Brown has been a very successful college coach. He has a great eye for talent, although that could be attributed to his wide recruiting base in the great state of Texas. He has had problems finding a quarterback for his program since he had Vince Young and Colt McCoy, but in Washington, he would certainly have a franchise quarterback in RGIII. His talent evaluation skills, along with the ability to “schmooze” and “rub elbows” with anyone and everyone, could be an interesting fit for a team in the nation’s capita.