Things are changing in Redskins Park.
Washington relieved head coach Jay Gruden of his coaching duties early Monday, stating that "the team has clearly not performed up to expectations." Offensive line coach Bill Callahan will assume head coaching duties in the interim.
While Callahan will be the interim head coach for likely the rest of the season, the Redskins will make a full-time hire during the offseason. So who will the Burgundy and Gold be targeting?
Here is a way too early look at the potential head coaches for the Redskins in 2020.
The first name that comes to mind is Kevin O'Connell, the current Redskins offensive coordinator. At just 34 years old, many around the league consider O'Connell to be one of the bright, young football minds in the game. Washington has had multiple young coaches on their staff in the recent past that have gone on to be successful head coaches elsewhere: Kyle Shanahan, Sean McVay, and Matt LaFleur to name a few.
O'Connell could be the next to follow down that path if the Redskins choose to go a different direction.
Another name that will be considered is Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. He's in his seventh year with the Chiefs and his second as the offensive coordinator. In his first year as the offensive coordinator, Bieniemy's group ranked first in the NFL in points and yards per game. Of course, that helps when Patrick Mahomes is playing quarterback, but Bieniemy still deserves a lot of credit. The Redskins likely won't be the only team seeking his services in the offseason.
Former Jaguars quarterback and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich is another name that will be considered. Leftwich is only 39 years old but has plenty of experience as both a player and coach in the NFL. Under Leftwich and head coach Bruce Arians, the Buccaneers offense has thrived averaging 29.4 points-per-game, the fifth-best in the NFL.
If the Redskins value head coaching experience when deciding on their next man in charge, Mike McCarthy could be in the mix. McCarthy spent 13 seasons as the Green Bay Packers head coach before he was fired in the late portion of the 2018 season. McCarthy will likely have more NFL experience than any other candidate the Redskins consider and has a Super Bowl victory under his belt as well.
Another experienced head coach Washington may consider is Ken Whisenhunt. Between the Cardinals and Titans, Whisenhunt has eight years on NFL head coaching experience. He is also familiar with the Redskins organization as he played for the Burgundy and Gold for two seasons. He currently is the Chargers offensive coordinator, leading the charge for one of the league's most balanced and dynamic offenses.
The son of former Redskins head coach Marty Schottenheimer, Brian, is also a potential candidate for the job.
The younger Schottenheimer is only 45 years old and has close to two decades of NFL coaching experience as an assistant and coordinator. He's currently the Seahawks offensive coordinator, where their QB Russell Wilson is off to the best start in his NFL career. He was the Redskins QB coach in 2001 when his father was the head coach, but moved on to the Chargers once the Redskins fired his father after one season.
Any time there is a head coaching opening, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is thrown into the conversation. But McDaniels has had several opportunities over the past few years to leave New England for another head coaching job, but he's stayed put in the Northeast. He famously accepted the Colts head coaching job in 2018 before reneging.
The Redskins have never shied away from the flashy hire, and hiring the University of Oklahoma's Lincoln Riley would be just that. In his first two seasons as the Sooners head coach, Riley lead Oklahoma to two College Football Playoff berths. The past two No. 1 overall picks -- quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray -- both won the Heisman Trophy with Riley at the helm. If developing Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins is priority No. 1 when hiring a new coach, expect Washington to inquire about Riley.
Riley isn't the only coach from the college football world that the Redskins might consider. Enter Jim Harbaugh, current Michigan and former 49ers head coach. Harbaugh made the transition from college to the NFL in 2011, and then went on to lead the 49ers to three NFC championship appearances and one Super Bowl appearance in four years at the team's head coach. He's been the head coach at Michigan, his alma mater, since 2014, but has not done the two things the Wolverines brought him in to do: beat Ohio State and win the Big Ten.
Another experienced head coach the Redskins could inquire about is Mike Tomlin, should the Steelers move on from him this offseason. Tomlin has been Pittsburgh's head coach since 2007, leading them to a Super Bowl in 2009. He is under contract through 2021, so the Steelers would face a two-year buyout if they choose to make a change following the season. According to one report, he's on Dan Snyder's radar.
Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is another name worth keeping an eye on. He was the Jets head coach from 2015 through 2018, but failed to win more than five games in each of his final three seasons in New York. He's one of the smarter defensive minds in the game, so if Washington wants to hire a defensive-minded head coach, Bowles should be in consideration.
Young or old, college or pro, there are several different directions the Redskins can head when hiring their next head coach. All possibilities are on the table. Now, it's time to just wait and see which way they go.
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