If Briles would come, should the Redskins call?

If Briles would come, should the Redskins call?
December 24, 2013, 9:30 am

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The names of possible replacements for Mike Shanahan are already starting to be discussed and one that seems to be near the top of many observers’ lists is Baylor coach Art Briles.

Although opinion is split on whether or not that would be a good idea (more on that is a moment), bringing Briles to Washington may be feasible, according to a media report.

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports said recently that league sources have told him that “Briles would be open to an approach from owner Daniel Snyder” about joining the Redskins. The coach of the Big 12 champions, who went 11-1 and led the nation in scoring with over 53 points per game, would be open to coming to Washington “under certain circumstances”.

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Briles coached Robert Griffin III to the Heisman Trophy in 2011 and the debate over Briles as the potential Redskins coach starts there. Some think that Briles has proven that he can get the most out of Griffin, far and away the team’s most important player. Others say that bringing in Briles would make it appear that Griffin is calling the shots at Redskins Park. Even if that was not the case the perception could easily become the reality.

The pro-Briles crowd is lured by his innovative style of offense. One observer described it as “the state of Texas' answer to the Oregon Ducks: fast players, fast tempo, and even faster scoring, all infused with a long drawl and a gunslinger's mind-set.”

The comparison to Oregon is quite relevant in Washington. Just up the road in Philadelphia the Eagles brought in Ducks coach Chip Kelly after firing Andy Reid following a dismal 4-12 performance in 2012. Now they are second in the NFL in scoring and a win over the Romo-less Cowboys away from the NFC East title. They have made the transformation without a major overhaul of personnel.

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As was the case with Kelly when he took the Eagles job, Briles has no NFL coaching experience. However, Kelly was joining a much stronger organization in Philly than the one in place in Washington. In fact, Shanahan is the power structure in most significant ways so support for Briles would have to be built from the ground up. But that will be the case no matter who comes in as head coach.

The elephant in the room is the presence of Griffin and everybody sees it. Again, some see hiring Briles as the best way to get the most out of the team’s franchise quarterback. Others say that the move would put a tremendous amount of pressure on Griffin to produce.

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Shanahan said that his fate should be determined fairly quickly after Sunday’s season finale so the search list will begin to emerge soon after that. We will soon see if Briles is a significant name in that search.

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