The Redskins catch a lot of flak for being a difficult organization in which a coach could thrive, but there are reasons to like the situation as it stands. Could one make a case that it’s the best remaining opening, as compared to the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings? Is it the worst? Is it all about fit?
With the Lions, the new coach gets a good quarterback in QB Matthew Stafford and one of the game’s best WRs in Calvin Johnson. The Browns have an emerging playmaker in WR Josh Gordon (NFL-best 1,646 receiving yards in 14 games this season) plus the Nos. 4 and 26 picks in the first round, and a high second-rounder. The Vikings have the best running back in football in Adrian Peterson, plus the No. 8 pick, and could have a quarterback if they hire a coach who can salvage Josh Freeman.
The Redskins’ highest draft pick is in the hands of the Rams, but otherwise, there’s a lot to work with. QB Robert Griffin III, RB Alfred Morris, WR Pierre Garcon, LT Trent Williams and TE Jordan Reed give the new coach five key pieces to what could be a dynamic unit. A coach with an offensive background could be a smart hire to get the most out of Griffin, but a defensive specialist could work his magic with that unit and still not be bad with these pieces in place on offense.
According to Overthecap.com, the Redskins have $29,098,022 in available cap space heading into the offseason, which ranks them eighth in the league, and second behind the Browns among teams searching for coaches. Former agent Joel Corry also wrote for CBS Sports that the Redskins have the eighth-best cap situation. (Overthecap.com also has a scenario generator that you can waste hours playing GM with, pretending to cut certain Redskins while the site shows you the cap ramifications of such decisions.)
With that kind of money to spend, a coach can quickly reshape the team how he wants. Bruce Allen talked of emulating the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs, teams that went from 4-12 and 2-14 last year to double-digit wins and the playoffs this year. A turnaround like that is not entirely improbable to expect that if the folks spending the money make savvy moves that fit right away with what the new coach is trying to do.
Success right away would probably nullify many of the other concerns a coach might have about coming to work for the organization. Everybody’s happy when a team is winning.
What appeared at first to be a weak coaching-candidate market has actually produced some intriguing names linked to the Redskins. Guys who have had success as NFL head coaches and coordinators, offensive gurus, those with defensive expertise and college hotshots are all in the mix. And lest one fret about the number of names popping up or the length of time it takes to cast a wide net, the Eagles interviewed at least 11 candidates before landing Chip Kelly on Jan. 16 last year. SBNation ranked the eight hires last Jan. 19, and with the benefit of a year of hindsight, some of the names that didn’t impress then, like No. 5 Mike McCoy and No. 8 Bruce Arians, ended up being good hires.
Bovada also has a prop bet on the next Redskins coach (h/t Zac Boyer). Ken Whisenhunt is the leader at 3-to-1, and six other names are on the list.
Whether or not the Redskins are moving as quickly or as deliberately as you’d like, is there a case for their opening to be the best remaining one? Does it even matter?
Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesdays.
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