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Redskins interest in Mike Tomlin is real, per sources, but availability a major question

Redskins interest in Mike Tomlin is real, per sources, but availability a major question

MIAMI -- The Redskins want to hire Mike Tomlin. That much is real, according to numerous sources with knowledge of the situation. Whether or not the organization can get Tomlin away from Pittsburgh is a very different question. 

While Tomlin has been the Steelers head coach since 2007, Washington finds itself in the market for a new head coach after firing Jay Gruden last week. The team named Bill Callahan as interim head coach but he's been very clear that he is not auditioning for the job long-term. Internally there is some thought offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell could vie for the top job next season, but he would need to show a lot in the remaining 11 games this year. 

Besides, in previous situations where the Redskins need to make a big hire, team owner Dan Snyder usually swings for the fences. When the team bottomed out with Steve Spurrier in 2003, Snyder went and brought Joe Gibbs back as head coach in 2004. When the team again bottomed out with Jim Zorn in 2009, Snyder went and brought two-time Super Bowl winner Mike Shanahan in 2010.

The team is again bottoming out, firing Gruden and starting the year 0-5. Now is the time for a big hire. 

So the team wants Tomlin, a Super Bowl winner in Pittsburgh, and CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reports that Washington would be willing to trade draft picks to acquire the Steelers head coach. The team could also trade players as compensation for Tomlin, something to consider as standout left tackle Trent Williams has not reported to the Redskins all year and wants off the team. 

Washington doesn't have a second-round pick in 2020, but beyond that, the team has all their picks in the near future. Trading picks for a coach might not be prudent, but Tomlin would give the organization real credibility. 

There are lots of ties in the potential situation. Tomlin coached defensive backs in Tampa from 2001 to 2005. Doug Williams and Bruce Allen were with the Bucs then, and ironically, so was Jay Gruden. Tomlin's son plays football at the University of Maryland, and the coach grew up in Virginia and played college football at William & Mary. 

One other thing that might go unnoticed: Don't sleep on Danny Smith's role in all of this. Smith coached the Redskins special teams from 2004 to 2012 and has strong relationships with many people inside the team's Ashburn offices. Should Tomlin really consider Washington, Smith can give him an honest assessment of the challenges that come with coaching the Redskins. And there are definitely challenges. 

Whatever coach takes over in Washington will inherit a roster at a crossroads.

There is some young talent, especially on the defensive line, as well as wide receiver Terry McLaurin. Elsewhere on the roster, however, there are aging veterans with big contracts. The offensive line likely needs a reboot, especially with the Williams situation. Donald Penn has been fairly good but he's 36. They need new linebackers and probably tight ends too. Jordan Reed might never play again and Vernon Davis is 35. 

Big picture though it's all about Dwayne Haskins. The team drafted the quarterback with the 15th overall pick this year, but in limited action so far, he's looked rough. There are lots of reports that he's not ready for game action, but there are other rookie quarterbacks starting across the NFL. 

Developing Haskins is priority number one for the organization. Tomlin is a defensive guy, but he's a leader above it all. Could those two work together? Maybe. 

One thing seems certain: Tomlin could handle the drama that follows the Redskins.

In Pittsburgh, Tomlin had to handle many years of Antonio Brown's antics as well as the contract holdout of LeVeon Bell. Working with Ben Roethlisberger doesn't seem like a picnic either. 

The biggest hurdle in all of this is the incredible stability of the Steelers organization. Tomlin has been there over a decade and won a Super Bowl. Before that, Bill Cowher coached for more than a decade and won a Super Bowl. Before that, Chuck Noll was there for two decades and won four Super Bowls. In the past 50 years, the Steelers have had just three coaches. They don't fire guys, they don't make rash decisions, and plenty think there is no way they would trade their head coach. 

Tomlin would be leaving the most stable organization in the NFL and coming to one of the most volatile. The hope would be Tomlin brings that stability with him, but not everything travels. 

There will be other candidates for the Redskins coaching vacancy. The team brought in Todd Bowles last offseason and he will be a fan favorite. Bowles played for the organization and won a Super Bowl with the team in 1987. He will also have the support of former coach and team icon Joe Gibbs. 

Mike McCarthy's name has been mentioned. He's another coach with a Super Bowl ring, but he won't bring the same gushing attention that Tomlin would. There will be other names that emerge too. 

Tomlin is at the top of the list though. It makes sense why, as he's won 65 percent of his games a head coach. He's won in the playoffs and he's won at the highest levels. 

Can Tomlin bring sustainable winning to Washington? That's been elusive, or some might even say impossible. Will he even get to Washington? Nobody knows that either, and the Steelers track record suggest he won't. 


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Week 11 results that would help the Redskins in their race for the 2020 first overall pick

Week 11 results that would help the Redskins in their race for the 2020 first overall pick

The Redskins didn't play in Week 10 but find themselves in a better position to snatch the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft entering Week 11. That is thanks in large part to a shocking Sunday that saw bottom-dwellers like the Dolphins, Jets and Falcons all pick up victories.

As of now, Washington holds the second pick in the draft and sits just a game back of the winless Bengals. However, wins by the other teams give the Redskins at least a one-game advantage on those behind them.

So, with six weeks remaining in the 2019 regular season, that first overall pick is still very much in play. 

The Redskins matchup this week can go a long way in determining how the draft order eventually plays out. Going up against the Jets, Sunday's game could be one of the last games this season in which a win by Washington wouldn't be all that surprising. After an abysmal showing two weeks ago against the Dolphins, the Jets looked much better in a win over the Giants. Still, New York's inconsistency over the season puts them on the same level of the Redskins.

When looking at the matchup from a draft perspective, it would actually be better for the Redskins to lose. A loss would keep them close to the Bengals, and even allow them to jump if the Bengals were to pick up a win. Additionally, beating the Jets would then give New York the advantage over Washington if the two finished the season with the same amount of wins.

However, it is understandably difficult to root for your team to lose a football game, no matter how poorly the season is going. A win for Washington has its benefits as well, particularly because it would potentially mean rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins showed signs of improvement and development as he prepares to start the rest of the year. Win or lose, there will be something good to come out of Sunday's game.

As for the rest of the action around the league, here's what could help the Redskins get closer to the first pick.

Bengals beat Raiders

Switching to rookie quarterback Ryan Finley didn't seem to help the Bengals at all as a 49-13 loss to the Ravens dropped them to 0-9. On both sides of the football, the Bengals just don't look like they have enough to match or compete with anyone.

Week 11 won't be any easier, as the Raiders are a team that is finding its footing as the season continues. At this point, the Bengals winning seems far-fetched even after all the upsets that just took place, but Redskins fans should be pulling for that far fetched results to happen anyway.

Dolphins stay hot and defeat the Bills

Miami, somehow, is on a two-game winning streak. That seems like a sentence that doesn't belong in 2019. Yes, the latest victory was against a Brian Hoyer-led Colts team, but Ryan Fitzpatrick and company are playing decently and have some confidence heading into a battle with Buffalo. 

Though the Bills are the superior team, Buffalo's offense has not clicked much in recent weeks. In the Miami heat, crazier things have happened.

Falcons build off shocking upset to take down Panthers

No game may have been more surprising than the one in which the 1-7 Falcons went into New Orleans and totally outmatched the 7-1 Saints. If that same team somehow shows up against the Panthers this weekend, there's no reason to think Atlanta won't extend its winning streak to two.

Other things to monitor

The Giants jumped from sixth to third in the draft order after losing to the Jets and are now in serious consideration for the first pick. However, a bye this week means New York can't really do much to benefit anyone else.

As for three-win teams like the Browns, Buccaneers, Broncos, Cardinals and Lions, the Redskins still hold two-game leads over all of them. So wins or losses by those squads won't immediately impact Washington's standing, though wins would make things easier for the Redskins down the stretch.


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Here are three things to look for from Derrius Guice in his return from injured reserve

Here are three things to look for from Derrius Guice in his return from injured reserve

Dwayne Haskins isn't the only young and important Redskin making his FedExField debut this Sunday against the Jets.

Derrius Guice, who was activated off of injured reserve last week, will be appearing in front of Washington's fans for the first time as well. His three previous times on an NFL field came in New England, Atlanta and Philadelphia. 

Now, it's difficult to come up with expectations for Guice versus New York, considering it's unknown how he'll split time with Adrian Peterson and how much responsibility the coaching staff wants to give him in his first action since Week 1.

However, while setting specific numbers is a bit foolish, it's definitely worth asking: What kinds of things should the Redskins and their fans want to see from Guice on Sunday?

This list of three things feels like a fair place to start.

1) Finishing the afternoon healthy

This is the most simple and also the most critical thing Guice can do in Week 11.

The second-year pro has suited up for two preseason contests and one regular season affair. In the first of those three, he tore his ACL. In the third of those three, he tore his meniscus.

At this point, there are questions as to whether Guice can be relied upon in the Burgundy and Gold's future, or whether he's too injury-prone. Those questions aren't going to be completely answered by one healthy showing, but they will fade away with each performance he starts and finishes.

2) Delivering blows to defenders

Haskins and Guice haven't been around each other a ton, but the quarterback already has a feel for what the running back can offer the offense.

"Very tough runner," Haskins said of Guice on Wednesday. "He's hard to bring down with the first tackle."

In Guice's albeit limited reps carrying the ball for the Redskins, he has displayed a willingness to take on defenders and initiate contact. There may only be a few chances to look for that in the Jets matchup because of Peterson's presence and a potential light workload, but still, there will be chances.

If Guice is willing to dish out punishment, even coming off his second knee surgery in the league, that means he's feeling like himself. And if he's feeling like himself, his opponents will be feeling like not tackling him.

3) Contributing in the passing game

One area where Guice might be able to operate without losing time to Peterson is in the passing attack. Jay Gruden was always high on what No. 29 can do there, and while Gruden and Bill Callahan have coached the Redskins quite differently, they intersect on that point.

"Prior to his injury, he was doing really well in the passing game," Callahan said Wednesday. "Being able to flex him out, move him, motion him, shift him into those various alignments where we can create a matchup with it. He's been productive as a screen back, a check-down back."

Pay attention to whether Guice is moved around in the ways Callahan mentioned, which would be a nice, creative addition to the offense. Also see if he's able to generate a chunk play or two off of a screen or check-down. 

Peterson is a legend, obviously, but if he's not getting handoffs, he's not doing much. Guice, meanwhile, per his coaches, can be effective as a receiver as well as a runner, a skillset that'll hopefully reveal itself soon.