Florio: "Need a coach who truly wants RG3"
Hours after firing Mike Shanahan on Monday, Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen said he would be in charge of the search for the team’s next head coach and that the process would begin immediately. Allen also said he would cast a wide net and that the list of candidates would include former NFL head coaches, current college head coaches and current NFL coordinators.
Allen, of course, did not specify which coaches he would be targeting. But if you take a close look at who's available and who's considered an up-and-comer, it’s not too difficult to figure out which names might end up on Allen’s list.
Here are seven possibilities (in alphabetical order):
- Darrell Bevell, offensive coordinator of the Seahawks
Comment: The 43-year-old has spent the past three seasons in Seattle, the last two molding Russell Wilson into one of the game’s best/most versatile quarterbacks. The Seahawks have the fourth best ground attack in the league (136 yards per game) and are ninth in points per (26.1).
- Art Briles, head coach at Baylor
Comment: The 58-year-old is 44-31 in five seasons at Baylor, including two double-digit win seasons. But, of course, the real reason for hiring Briles would be his tight relationship with Robert Griffin III. The downside, on the other hand, would be the perception that Griffin was allowed to hire his own head coach. That might not sit well with other players.
- Jay Gruden, offensive coordinator of the Bengals
Comment: The 46-year-old brother of Jon Gruden has spent past two seasons as the Bengal’s OC, with both years resulting in a playoff berth. The Bengals rank sixth in points per game (26.9) and 10th in yards per game (368). A record-setting quarterback at Louisville, Gruden is also considered to be a big reason for the development of Cincinnati signal caller Andy Dalton.
- Raheem Morris, secondary coach of the Redskins
Comment: He survived the first round of firings at Redskins Park this week and will likely be a candidate for promotion—if not in Washington then somewhere else. The 37-year-old was the head coach in Tampa Bay from 2009-11, winning 10 games in his second season. Morris is popular within the locker room and worked for Allen when the two men were with the Buccaneers.
- David Shaw, head coach at Stanford
Comment: The 41-year-old has repeatedly said he intends to stay at Stanford. Still, the Redskins have already reached out to him through a third party, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Just because Shaw says publicly that he has no interest in the leaving the Cardinal doesn’t mean he won’t do it for the right opportunity. Shaw is 34-6 in three seasons at Stanford.
- Lovie Smith, former coach of the Bears
Comment: Probably the best coach not currently employed. The Washington Post reported on Monday that Smith is indeed on the Redskins’ list of targets. Smith, meantime, has already interviewed for the vacant job in Houston and is also up for the job in Tampa Bay. The 55-year-old went 81-63 in nine season with the Bears, including four double-digit win seasons.
- Mike Zimmer, defensive coordinator of the Bengals
Comment: The 57-year-old is expected to be one of the more sought after coordinators available, having spent the past 11 seasons as a D.C. with the Cowboys, Falcons and Bengals. This season, the Bengals are third in both points allowed per game (19.1) and yards (305.5). Hiring a defensive coordinator with no head coaching experience, though, would likely require hiring an experienced (perhaps former head coach) to lead the offense.
Some other names that could garner interest: Former Steelers coach Bill Cowher, San Francisco offensive coordinator Greg Roman, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, Titans senior assistant Gregg Williams, Chargers’ offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt.