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Mora Joins List Of Interviewees

By Jason La Canfora and Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, January 17, 2008

Seattle Seahawks assistant coach Jim Mora became the fourth person to interview for Washington's vacant head coaching job, league sources said, meeting with owner Daniel Snyder at his home yesterday.

Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Ron Meeks is expected to meet with Snyder today in what could be the final interview. Gregg Williams, the Redskins' assistant head coach-defense, is seen by many around the league as the leading candidate to succeed Joe Gibbs.

Some NFL executives and agents said they anticipate Williams could be named head coach by early next week. He has met four times with Snyder and has strong support among coaches and players. The Redskins have told candidates they would like a swift but thorough hiring process in order to move on to offseason preparations.

Mora is the most experienced of the outside candidates. He has previous head coaching experience and has worked on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball and called plays as well. He took Atlanta to the NFC championship game in 2004 and posted a 26-22 record during his three years as Falcons head coach, before being fired after the 2006 season.

Mora began his NFL coaching career in 1984 and later spent five years as a defensive coordinator with San Francisco. He completed his first season as Seattle's assistant head coach-defensive backs, and is seen by many around the league as a front-runner to land the Seahawks' head coaching job should Mike Holmgren retire.

Another assistant coach on Washington's wish list, Indianapolis assistant head coach-quarterbacks Jim Caldwell, is a strong candidate to replace Tony Dungy, should he retire as the Colts' head coach. The Redskins requested permission to interview both Meeks and Caldwell for their vacancy, but Meeks may be the only one of the two to actually interview.

Meeks began his NFL coaching career with Dallas in 1991, worked in Washington in 2000 (defensive backs coach) and has been with the Colts since 2002. The Redskins have yet to fulfill the Rooney Rule stipulation that they interview a minority candidate for the position, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. Meeks would fulfill that requirement.

The Redskins originally planned to interview five candidates for the position, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, and Meeks would be the fifth. Williams is the only one to interview on multiple occasions thus far. Snyder emphasized the need for continuity during the news conference announcing Gibbs's retirement, and promoting Williams would best ensure cohesion among the staff and roster.

Gibbs, who works as a consultant for Snyder, has stressed the importance of maintaining the momentum the team built during its push to the playoffs. According to sources close to some of the outside candidates who have interviewed for the job, Gibbs's longtime assistants are likely to remain given the tenor of the discussions with Snyder and vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato.

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