The Washington Redskins made the first coaching move of the NFL season Monday, firing Jay Gruden and promoting Bill Callahan to replace him on an interim basis. But that’s only a stopgap measure to get through the remainder of a seemingly lost season.
For the Redskins, the more important task will be sorting through a list of candidates to succeed Gruden on a permanent basis. As that process commences, the debate in and around the league resumes over whether any coaches who are in demand and have viable options elsewhere would consider working for Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and Bruce Allen, his top front-office executive.
It is a question that has been asked regularly, as Snyder has hired and fired coaches throughout a two-decade ownership tenure in which he has failed to recapture the franchise’s past glory. Yet Snyder has been successful at convincing prominent coaches to work for him, often paying big money to secure them.
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.”
Still, those doubts persist, with the franchise at a particularly low ebb. New England Patriots fans were abundant and vocal Sunday at FedEx Field as their team won, 33-7, to drop the Redskins to 0-5. Allen faced pointed questions at a news conference Monday about his role in the team’s woes.