The Washington Redskins have asked the Cincinnati Bengals for permission to interview offensive coordinator Jay Gruden and defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer for their vacant head coaching job, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The Bengals were eliminated from the playoffs by losing Sunday to the San Diego Chargers.
Gruden and Zimmer are available to interview for head coaching jobs and can potentially be hired immediately.
The Redskins did not seek permission, at least at this point, to interview fellow Bengals assistant Hue Jackson, according to the person with knowledge of the deliberations, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because neither team confirmed the requests publicly.
It is not clear if Gruden and Zimmer have agreed to interview with the Redskins and, if so, when the interviews will occur.
Update, 11:12 a.m.:
The Redskins are scheduled to interview New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell for the job Monday at their headquarters in Ashburn. The Redskins’ previous known interviews came with Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, Dallas Cowboys special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott and Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell.
The Redskins are seeking a replacement for Mike Shanahan, who was fired last Monday on the day after the team completed a 3-13 season.
Two potential candidates, offensive coordinators Ken Whisenhunt of San Diego and Greg Roman of San Francisco, are on teams that won playoff games Sunday. Under NFL rules, they are eligible to be interviewed this week but cannot be hired before their teams are eliminated from the playoffs. There has been speculation that Whisenhunt, a former Redskins player and the former head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, is the front-runner for the Detroit Lions’ coaching vacancy.
Gruden, the brother of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden, is regarded as a candidate for several teams with coaching vacancies, including the Lions, Minnesota Vikings and Tennessee Titans. He oversaw the league’s 10th-ranked offense this season and it’s unlikely that the Bengals’ struggles on offense in Sunday’s 27-10 to the Chargers in a first-round AFC playoff game will significantly harm his chances of landing a head coaching job.
He spent seven seasons on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ coaching staff, working for his brother and with Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen in that team’s front office. He has been a head coach in the Arena Football League and the United Football League.
Zimmer, likewise, is highly regarded within league circles. He is the former defensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons. He’s been with the Bengals since 2008. Cincinnati ranked third in the league in total defense this season and also was in the top five in rushing, passing and scoring defense.
Jackson is a former Redskins assistant who once served as the team’s offensive coordinator under Steve Spurrier. He is the former head coach of the Oakland Raiders. The Fritz Pollard Alliance, the group that works closely with the NFL to promote diversity in hiring, recommended to the Redskins that they consider Jackson and Caldwell. The Redskins accepted that recommendation on Caldwell, who was interviewed Sunday at Redskins Park, but so far apparently have chosen not to do so with Jackson.
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