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Fassel in the lead?

Fassel in the lead?

According to multiple reports, former Giants coach Jim Fassel has emerged as "a leading candidate" for the Redskins' head coaching job. In fact, as I type this, Adam Schefter of the NFL Network is saying that the Redskins are "zeroing in" on Fassel as "the leading candidate" for the job.

This development has the message board community and talk show callers and other vocal Redskins fans in an uproar. Actually, that's an understatement; they're in a state of meltdown comparable to that after any Dallas loss. The objections to Fassel are many, but here is a summary of the main ones:

  • The hiring of Fassel would mean that any modicum of continuity would be out the window. Since Fassel is an offensive guy, Al Saunders would be out and Jason Campbell would be learning his seventh offensive system in eight years. And since it's doubtful that Gregg Williams would want to stick around after being passed over for the job, there would be a new defensive guru as well (Schefter reported that the Skins are interested in Rex Ryan, ex of the Ravens, for that job).
  • Fassel was fired as the Ravens' offensive coordinator by his best friend, Brian Billick, during the 2006 season. Billick didn't just take the play calling away from his buddy, he canned him in the middle of October.
  • It's been four years since anyone has expressed any serious interest in hiring Fassel as a head coach. That interest four years ago came from Dan Snyder, who reportedly was on the verge of having Fassel replace Steve Spurrier before he gave Joe Gibbs one more call just for the heck of it. Since then there have been over two dozen NFL head coach openings and the words "Jim Fassel is a leading candidate" has been used in conjunction with none of them.
  • In his final year in New York, the inmates were running the asylum. Fassel lost the locker room at some point and he was unable to find it.

These certainly are valid concerns and, in sum, the negatives may prove to be fatal to a potential Jim Fassel coaching stint. However, it's not all bad news when it comes to Fassel. Here are some pro's to go with the con's:

  • In 1997, his first year as head coach of the Giants, he took a team that the year before had gone 6-10 under Dan Reeves to the playoffs. As NFC East champs with a 10-5-1. With Danny Kannell and Dave Brown at quarterback. Let that sink in for a minute and tell me that the guy isn't capable of a pretty good coaching job.
  • In November of 2000 with his team's season hanging in the balance, he "guaranteed" that his team would make the playoffs. None of this "well, if we compete real hard and fight out there we might be able to get in" stuff. Nope he said they would make it. His players reacted very well to what was both a challenge and a statement of confidence. Not only did they make the playoffs the won the division, earning a first-round bye and home field throughout the playoffs. That is something that the Redskins have not accomplished in 16 years. And they got to the Super Bowl, something that the Redskins also haven't done since 1991.
  • He had a very good record, 54-41-1, until a 4-12 collapse in 2003, his final season in New York. Injuries played a pretty big role in that last ugly season—he had to start Jesse Palmer at QB for three games. Still, the season is on his record so it's a respectable 58-53-1.
  • This is a bit more abstract, but both of the coaches who took their teams to the Super Bowl this year were run out of previous NFL jobs in the same manner as was Fassel. Browns fans were offering to pack the moving van to get Bill Belichick gone and there were parties all over Jacksonville when Tom Coughlin left. That doesn't mean that Fassel will get the Skins to the Super Bowl, but it does mean that other coaches in similar circumstances have done so.

If anyone has any more pros or cons, please feel free to chime in with them.

What's my opinion? I'm not bothering to form one until things begin to firm up here (which means that I could be forming an opinion tomorrow morning, at the rate things are going). I will say that I'm not 100% aboard the continuity bandwagon. I have all the respect in the world for Joe Gibbs, but he's not leaving a juggernaut behind. It's a team that in four years had to put on odds-defying winning streaks to pull out two six seeds. Maybe they need a shake up to push them over to top so that words like "home field throughout" don't seem to have been spoken in a foreign language.

I also think that what the players want is of little relevance. Whenever the boss leaves, the workers in the office want his top aide to take over. It's only natural to want to know what you're getting into, to want to minimize the change. But if someone from the outside gets brought in, people don't quit their jobs or anything like that. They go along, adjust to the new way of doing things and get on with their lives.

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Need to Know: If Kirk Cousins leaves, with the Redskins rebuild or retool?

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Need to Know: If Kirk Cousins leaves, with the Redskins rebuild or retool?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 16, 57 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 49
—NFL Draft (4/26) 100
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 236

Nickel coverage—Five Redskins questions

Taking a look at some of the key questions surrounding the Redskins, sometimes coming up with more questions in the process. Yes, it's going to be that kind of offseason. 

What will the Redskins do at left guard? It would be better for the Redskins to find their left guard in the draft, but assuming that the successor is picked after the second round, they will want someone to start until the rookie is ready. That could be Arie Kouandjio or maybe a veteran free agent.

Can the Redskins make do with what they have at running back? The short answer is no. The running back situation needs attention. It’s hard to picture Samaje Perine and Rob Kelley forming a formidable tandem, or even a very good one. I’m wary of spending a high draft pick on an RB, but the success of the likes of Todd Gurley and Leonard Fournette have to be factored into the thinking.

Are the Redskins OK with Zach Brown and Mason Foster at inside linebacker? For the time being they are, assuming that they are able to sign both of the unrestricted free agents, however the Redskins need to continue to build that position. That means continuing to develop Josh Harvey-Clemons to use in nickel situations and spending draft resources there. Even if Brown and Foster are back, the Redskins might be smart to grab Roquan Smith out of Georgia if he’s there in the first round.

If they are without Kirk Cousins, will the Redskins rebuild or retool? This is a key question for the organization. If Cousins leaves, do they just try to plug in the best available/affordable quarterback they can find and roll on with the same basic personnel with which they have hovered around .500 the last three years? Or will the make other changes, perhaps moving on from Josh Norman and Jordan Reed to save cap money for future seasons and give their younger players a chance to establish themselves? The latter might be the better way to go but this organization rarely considers short-term pain for long-term gain.

If Junior Galette leaves, who replaces him? While Galette did not light it up in the sack department, he put plenty of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. He is likely to leave since he would remain behind Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan on the depth chart if he re-signed in Washington. Can they rely on 2017 second-round pick Ryan Anderson to take a giant leap in his sophomore season? Will they try to lock up free agent Trent Murphy and hope that he can bounce back from an ACL injury he suffered last August and regain his nine-sack form of 2016? I don’t see how they can rely on Anderson to suddenly provide pressure after recording zero sacks this past year. Whether it’s Murphy or another free agent, someone with a better track record has to be in the picture. If Anderson improves enough to move ahead of that player on the depth chart, so much the better.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Where does Stefon Diggs' remarkable catch rank among some of the best NFL playoff walk-offs?

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Where does Stefon Diggs' remarkable catch rank among some of the best NFL playoff walk-offs?

There is nothing quite like January playoff football and Sunday night's Vikings vs. Saints game further proved this point.

In case you have been off the grid the past 12 hours, the Minnesota Vikings literally got a last second win against the New Orleans Saints.

With 10 seconds left in the fourth and facing a 3rd and 10, quarterback Case Keenum heaved the football near the sideline to wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who dodged two defenders while managing to stay inbounds for a 61-yard touchdown as the clock expired. 

It was one of the most remarkable playoff walk-off wins, if not the most remarkable one, in football.

So, where does it stand among the others?

RELATED: FORMER TERP PLAYS HERO IN VIKINGS' MIRACLE PLAYOFF WIN

Broncos vs. Steelers 2011 AFC Wild Card game: Remember Tim Tebow's 80-yard overtime touchdown to Demaryius Thomas during the 2011 Broncos vs. Steelers AFC Wild Card game? It was the first and last snap of overtime and it was wild.

Mile High Miracle: On third and three with 43 seconds left in the game, Ravens' Joe Flacco launched one towards wide receiver Jacoby Jones, who got in front of the Broncos receiver and ran the ball in for a 70-yard game-tying touchdown. The Ravens would eventually go on to win the game in double overtime. Some could argue it was the defining moment in the Ravens' Super Bowl run. 

Cardinals vs. Steelers Super Bowl XLIII: Under the brightest lights of all, Ben Roethlisberger found Santonio Holmes with 43 seconds in the fourth in the back of the end zone for a toe-dragging, Super Bowl-winning catch. 

RELATED: WHAT REDSKINS CAN LEARN FROM THIS WEEKEND'S PLAYOFF GAMES

Saints vs. 49ers 2012 NFC Divisional game: Sunday's loss wasn't the first time the Saints have experienced a fourth quarter letdown. Back in 2012, Alex Smith threw one to the endzone on 3rd-and-three with 14 seconds left that sealed a win.

While these are only a few, we can't wait to add more to the list in years to come.