Redskins

Colts give Bears permission to interview Arians

201212301610582105923-p2.jpeg

Colts give Bears permission to interview Arians

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The Indianapolis Colts want offensive coordinator Bruce Arians to stick around a little longer.

They also understand he wants to become an NFL head coach.

On Thursday, the Colts said Arians had been granted permission to speak with the Chicago Bears about their head coaching vacancy, though it's unclear when the interview will take place because Indy (11-5) will face AFC North champion Baltimore (10-6) in a wild-card round game Sunday. The winner will go to either Denver or New England in the divisional round.

Chicago might not be the only team interested. There has been speculation that the San Diego Chargers want Arians, too, though the Colts haven't confirmed whether they received an interview request from the Chargers. And with five other jobs also open, Arians could be mentioned in those cities, too.

``We do not want to lose Bruce Arians. He's just, we know what he is and we know what he means to this organization and to this football team. So let me just say that first and foremost,'' Colts coach Chuck Pagano said Monday. ``But you guys have seen him work over the last 12 weeks and you know him as a person and as a coach and I would just tell him that you're getting, or if you're interested in a guy you're getting a guy that's a great leader, a great football coach, a great man, and if that happened you'd be getting a great football coach.''

The Colts' coordinators usually speak with reporters on Thursday, but Arians was not available because he was ill, a team spokesman said.

Arians has been an NFL assistant for 20 years. His only head coaching experience came during a six-year stint at Temple where he was 27-39 in the 1980s.

But this year, he moved to the top of the head coaching carousel after leading the Colts to a 9-3 record as the interim coach while Pagano battled leukemia. Arians, a prostate cancer survivor, tied the NFL record for most wins after a midseason coaching change and clinched a playoff spot with a 20-13 win at Kansas City. Pagano returned to his job the next day and later said Arians had his vote as the 2012 NFL Coach of the Year.

For the 60-year-old Arians, this promises to be a different kind of offseason than last year when he was forced out as Pittsburgh's offensive coordinator and appeared headed into retirement.

Pagano, an old friend, then called and offered Arians the Colts job.

Arians has a reputation for mentoring young quarterbacks. His list includes Peyton Manning, Tim Couch and Ben Roethlisberger.

This year, under Arians' guidance, Andrew Luck set NFL rookie records for yards passing (4,374) and attempts (627), broke Manning's franchise record for completions (339), finished third on the NFL's rookie list for TD passes (23) and set the franchise record for TDs rushing by a quarterback (five). Luck's quarterback rating, 76.5, also was a franchise rookie record, breaking John Unitas' previous mark (74.0).

When Luck was asked Wednesday what he would say if a team asked about Arians, Luck laughed and jokingly said: ``Terrible things. Terrible, terrible things.''

The Bears and other teams know better.

Chicago general manager Phil Emery is looking to replace Lovie Smith who was fired Monday. Emery appears to be seeking an offensive-minded coach who can help Jay Cutler and the Bears offense become more consistent after missing the playoffs five of the past six years.

San Diego also fired its coach, Norv Turner, and general manager A.J. Smith on Monday and reportedly is interested in Tom Telesco, the Colts vice president of football operations.

Arians repeatedly told reporters this season that it had always been his dream to be an NFL head coach and that he would still be interested in the right opportunity. Arians did not specify what that meant, though he did say he would like to continue calling plays.

``That's something I always wondered about and how feasible that would be if I ever got an opportunity (to be a head coach) because calling plays is what I love to do,'' he said in December. ``I think that part of it I found out is possible. I've never questioned the rest of it. I can deal with the media better than I thought I could.''

Quick Links

Kurt Warner believes Dwayne Haskins has the skill set to be a franchise QB

Kurt Warner believes Dwayne Haskins has the skill set to be a franchise QB

When the Redskins selected Dwayne Haskins with the No. 15 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the organization hoped their investment in the passer would result in Washington finding its franchise quarterback of the future.

Whether Haskins becomes that franchise quarterback is still up for debate, as the signal-caller had an up-and-down rookie season. But the Ohio State product seemed to improve by the week and ended the season playing his best football, giving fans hope for the future.

Kurt Warner, a Super Bowl-champion quarterback who had to wait several years before getting his first NFL shot, believes Haskins can eventually develop into that franchise QB for the Burgundy and Gold.

The Super Bowl-winning quarterback joined the Redskins Talk podcast on Tuesday, and spoke highly of the 22-year-old's ability.

"The skillset, without question, is there," Warner said. "We saw that in college, we saw that in moments last year."

Warner explained that one of the things he looks for in young passers is their week-to-week improvement. That's something Haskins did very well towards the end of the 2019 season.

"To me, that's what greatness is all about," Warner said. "It's not about coming into the league and being a finished product. It's about working and getting better all the time."

In his final two games, Haskins threw for 394 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions on 72 percent completion rate. He was on his way to the best game of his brief career in Week 16 against the Giants before an ankle injury ended his afternoon in the third quarter.

"What I saw with Dwayne this year, he did improve game by game," Warner said. "As he got more comfortable with the NFL, as he got more comfortable with the system, he played better and better and made them more competitive each and every time out."

The 2020 offseason is crucial for Haskins. It's his first full offseason in the NFL, and seems poised to make a jump in Year 2. 

Haskins dealt with a lot in 2019, rookie or not. Five weeks into the season, his head coach was fired. He wasn't named the starter until Week 9, only due to injury to Case Keenum. Entering his second season, Haskins has a new head coach, new offensive coordinator, and new position coach.

There's little carryover from a season ago. Very few organizations that constantly change in the NFL are successful. 

"For young quarterbacks or players in general, you want to be able to find something you’re comfortable with and grow in," Warner said. "Hopefully this is the only move they make during Dwayne's career and he can get comfortable in that offense and hopefully one day be playing in the Super Bowl as well."

Warner knows plenty about waiting to get his opportunity; he didn't get his first shot in the NFL until he was 28. But he was put into an offense nicknamed 'The Greatest Show on Turf" that featured plenty of weapons -- Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce, and Torry Holt -- which allowed the inexperienced Warner to thrive.

In his first season as the Rams starter, Warner threw for a league-high 41 touchdown passes on an 8.2 percent touchdown rate, with just 13 interceptions. His 109.2 quarterback rating was the NFL's best that season. The Rams went on to win the Super Bowl, defeating Tennessee.

"I think the other component is finding the right situation, the right system for you," Warner said. When I got back into the NFL with the Rams, I was 28 years old when I got my first start. I was able to have a lot of success early because I found myself in the right system. The offense did what I did well. It played to my strengths."

Washington doesn't have the weapons that Warner's Rams did, but the Redskins have several young assets -- Terry McLaurin, Derrius Guice and Steven Sims -- that have shown promise. Getting Haskins in the right system, one that caters to his strengths, will be crucial in the development of the young passer.

"I believe that is key for players, especially at the quarterback position. You've got to find a system," Warner said. "In this case in Washington, they need to build a system around what Dwayne Haskins does well. That's how you thrive. That's how you get to and win Super Bowls."

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS

Quick Links

'Still unbelievable': Ex-Redskins Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller reflect on Super Bowl journey

'Still unbelievable': Ex-Redskins Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller reflect on Super Bowl journey

Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller spent a combined six seasons with the Redskins, yet neither corner won a playoff game during their tenures there.

Therefore, you can excuse them if they're having a hard time expressing what it's like now being in the Super Bowl together with the Chiefs.

"It's still unbelievable," Breeland told JP Finlay at SB LIV's Media Night on Monday. "I can't even find the words to fathom how I feel about this opportunity."

In fact, the last time Breeland and Finlay chatted, the former was literally asking the latter where to purchase tickets for the NFL's biggest spectacle. He shouldn't have much trouble getting inside of the stadium this time around, though.

"I ended up not even going to that game," he said. "I told myself I wasn't going to the Super Bowl until I got a chance to play in it. Couple of years later, it came true."

Breeland's path to the Chiefs was quite bumpy. After playing for the Redskins for four years and departing after 2017, he inked a well-earned three-year deal with the Panthers. However, he cut his foot during a trip to the Dominican Republic, causing him to fail his physical with Carolina and voiding his contract.

Breeland eventually joined the Packers halfway through 2018, and then he signed with the Chiefs this past offseason. His compensation with Kansas City doesn't come close to what he could've had with Carolina, but a Super Bowl appearance plus his two interceptions and two fumble recoveries in 2019 could help him cash in when free agency begins in a few months.

Fuller, meanwhile, took a much more direct route to the now-AFC champions. The Burgundy and Gold's 2016 draft selection was a part of the shocking Alex Smith trade and he's now concluding his second campaign with his second pro team.

The fact that the pair is reunited again and one win away from reaching the top of the sport isn't lost on Fuller, especially after some of the struggles they experienced with the Redskins. 

"It's been fun," he said. "After we won the AFC Championship game, me and [Breeland] were just kind of sitting on the bench looking at each other, knowing how far we came."

The key to K.C.'s rise, according to Breeland, has been their unity. The almost 28-year-old didn't directly call out Washington for lacking a similar closeness, but his comments don't exactly require much parsing to realize the comparison he's making.

So, while he and Fuller are obviously looking ahead to the 49ers, the following comment from Breeland's brief reflection on his past is telling about what the Redskins need to fix on their end.

"Throughout crunch time, everybody pulls together," Breeland explained. "I've been on different sidelines when things go bad, a lot of people start bickering and pull apart from each other. Those were the times that [this team] got closer and pulled together the most."

MORE REDSKINS NEWS