Marty Schottenheimer was an established NFL coach. Steve Spurrier was a coaching star when Snyder lured him from the college ranks. Joe Gibbs, the greatest coach in franchise history, was convinced by Snyder to come back for a second go-round with the team. Mike Shanahan was a two-time Super Bowl winner with the Denver Broncos. Gruden was a respected assistant with the Cincinnati Bengals.
“The hiring part has not been the problem with him,” a veteran front-office executive with another team said. “The problem has been making it work once the guy gets there.”
“We’re all involved in this,” Allen said. “I don’t ever want to hide from our record. I don’t want to hide from things that didn’t go the way we wanted them to go.”
Allen called the culture around the team “damn good” and said “the pieces are here for a winning team.” But one agent who represents coaches said Allen’s presence in the front office could cause top coaching candidates to steer clear.
“No coach worth his salt will take the job with Bruce overseeing personnel,” said the agent, who like others in this story spoke on the condition of anonymity to provide a frank assessment.
That feeling is not universal. Another agent said while candidates should be wary of the Redskins’ situation, coaches will consider the job based on their own career circumstances.
The Redskins’ early-season decision on Gruden allows them to launch their search for his full-time replacement immediately, if they choose to do so, even while Callahan coaches the team. Callahan, who formerly coached the Oakland Raiders to a Super Bowl appearance, could be a candidate for the full-time job if he does well.
Several people in the league said they expect the Redskins to give strong consideration to Kevin O’Connell, their 34-year-old offensive coordinator. Current NFL head coaches Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams, Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers and Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers are former Redskins assistants. Team officials could want to prevent another young and promising offensive-minded coach from leaving the organization, only to flourish elsewhere.
A pair of former Redskins defensive coordinators could be among the contenders. New York Jets coordinator Gregg Williams was passed over for the team’s head coaching job after Gibbs retired for the second time, and Marvin Lewis is serving as a coaching adviser at Arizona State after his long stint as head coach of the Bengals ended after last season. Former Packers coach Mike McCarthy is out of the league this year but is expected to be a candidate for jobs next season.
Current offensive coordinators Eric Bieniemy of Kansas City, Josh McDaniels of New England, Ken Whisenhunt of the Los Angeles Chargers, Byron Leftwich of Tampa Bay, Brian Schottenheimer of Seattle and Kellen Moore of Dallas could be popular head coaching candidates in the next hiring cycle. Whisenhunt is a former Redskins player. So, too, is Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, the former head coach of the New York Jets.
If Snyder looks to the college ranks, Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley is coveted by many NFL teams but so far has not been willing to make the jump to the pro game. There is annual NFL speculation about Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh and Stanford’s David Shaw. Former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer coached Redskins rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins in college but retired after last season.
Whichever coach the Redskins hire will be placed in charge of the development of Haskins, taken with the 15th pick in this year’s draft.
“They’ll have to make this hire with Haskins in mind,” the veteran NFL front-office executive said.