Five reasons why the Redskins should pursue Bill O’Brien

December 16, 2013

Penn State Coach Bill O’ Brien might be ready to return to the NFL. (Gene J. Puskar / AP)

The Washington Redskins may or may not have need of a new head coach in two weeks’ time, but that hasn’t stopped the talk from swirling about a possible replacement if Mike Shanahan leaves/is fired/implodes.

Redskins fans, who frequently get ahead of the curve on these matters, are already compiling their wish lists and, on Sunday, a new name emerged for their consideration: Bill O’Brien, the Penn State head coach who previously was offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots. He reportedly is ready to return to the NFL after two seasons as the Nittany Lions’ coach and, already, he has drawn interest from the Houston Texans, who have a vacancy, and the Minnesota Vikings, who do not.

O’Brien interviewed with the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles last year before choosing to return for a second season, so maybe this time he’ll be ready to make the jump back to the NFL. If he does, there are at least five good reasons why Washington might be a good landing spot.

5. He’s a hard-nosed guy. The Redskins could use a hard-nosed guy, if only just to reduce penalties and clock-management issues.

4. He has experience stepping into a difficult situation. Does he ever. In his first season succeeding Joe Paterno in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, he coached the Nittany Lions to an 8-4 record and won multiple coach of the year awards.

3. He knows how to develop a quarterback (see: McGloin, Matt). The Redskins could use a quarterback whisperer.

2. There’s “My Way or the Highway” Mike Shanahan and then there’s O’Brien, who isn’t reluctant to be a quarterback yeller — even when that quarterback has three Super Bowl rings.

(Note: video contains what lip readers may determine to be strong language.)

1. And he runs the kind of ship upon which, after a spectacular sideline blowup with the star quarterback, that star quarterback, named Tom Brady, says: “I threw a pretty bad interception so he wasn’t happy about it. A long line of coaches and players are pretty [angry] at me after that, but Billy got to me first so I deserved it. … We’re both pretty emotional guys so that’s what I deserve, you know? If you make bad plays, you are supposed to get yelled at by your coaches.”

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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Cindy Boren | December 16, 2013