The Washington Redskins have fired head coach Jay Gruden after their 0-5 start. This seemed like a “matter-of-time” type of decision, but a midseason change could be argued against, considering the team’s current state and the need for stability for their rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins.
Regardless, offensive line coach Bill Callahan has been hired in the interim. Barring an incredible turnaround, Callahan is not the long term option at head coach for Washington.
With that in mind, TGH gives you a list of three of the most sensible and likely candidates to replace Gruden and get the Skins back on track.
(Spoiler alert: Lincoln Riley will not be listed here, as Benjamin Allbright reported through a source that he is not interested.)
A very popular and sensible choice to pair with rookie Dwayne Haskins could be Chiefs offensive coordinator, Eric Bieniemy.
Since taking over the OC role in 2018, the Chiefs are 16-5. In 2018, Patrick Mahomes become only the second quarterback ever to throw for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns. He and Andy Reid also led Mahomes to a league MVP in just his first full season.
Under his tenure, the Chiefs have been one overtime loss away from the Super Bowl. All signs point to another AFC Championship appearance, due to their offensive firepower and the weakness of the rest of the AFC. Kansas City also scored the third most points for a team in NFL history in 2018, with 565.
Bieniemy clearly has the talent and coaching ability to get the most out of Dwayne Haskins when Washington is ready to make the switch. Prying him away from a seemingly perennial Super Bowl contender to coach the rebuilding Redskins, though, may be a tough sell.
Their young quarterback should be the main building block during Washington’s rebuild. As long as the front office does this job well, Bieniemy can make a winner out of Haskins and the Skins quickly.
Another interesting candidate is former journeyman QB, turned coordinator Byron Leftwich.
After bouncing around the league as a backup quarterback (and winning Super Bowl 43 with the Steelers), Leftwich has become a trusted disciple of QB guru Bruce Arians.
Arians hired Leftwich as the quarterbacks coach in 2017, after impressing as a coaching intern. Arians would retire after the season, but Leftwich remained with the team. He won the OC position after the Arizona Cardinals fired Mike McCoy in 2018. With the wholesale changes on the coaching staff after the Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury after 2018, Leftwich was let go so Kingsbury could fill the role with his own choice.
When Arians came out of retirement in 2019 to coach the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he brought along Leftwich as his offensive coordinator. This is the second time he has filled the OC role, but the first under Arians.
In 2019, the Bucs are averaging 29.4 points per game, which is good for fifth-best in the NFL. Tampa Bay also put up 55 points on the 2019 Super Bowl runner-up Los Angeles Rams in Week 4. While the Rams’ defense is more flashy than consistent, this is still an impressive feat considering their talent and the fact that the Bucs were on the road.
In addition to his obvious offensive prowess and league experience, he has also learned at the feet of an all-time quarterback whisperer in Arians. This could be a huge win for the Redskins, as they need someone to help shape Haskins.
Leftwich, as a former QB and QB coach, could be a great answer for the struggling franchise that needs to build around young talent.
A very safe, veteran approach could see the Skins bring Mike McCarthy back to the NFL.
McCarthy became the very first Super Bowl-winning coach to be fired midseason when the Packers canned him last year. Following a 20-17 loss to the 3-9 Arizona Cardinals in 2018, Green Bay had enough of McCarthy’s conservative approach to the game. This loss pushed the Pack to 4-7-1, which essentially ended their playoff hopes.
Speaking of playoffs, despite five 10-win seasons and two NFC Championship appearances, McCarthy failed to get the Packers back to the Super Bowl since 2010. McCarthy got to the playoffs with the Packers nine times (one with Brett Favre, the rest with Aaron Rodgers).
So, it is safe to say McCarthy is probably ready for a hard reset of his NFL career. He worked with two of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the league. He knows how to shape and gel with quarterbacks, the last three or so years in Green Bay not withstanding.
McCarthy could provide some much-needed guidance and boundaries for Haskins and the Redskins. He is a stalwart, usually dependable coach that can call an easy offense for the rookie to understand. He also knows the NFC inside and out.
With Super Bowl experience and a reputation with a smudge that he is eager to wipe away, McCarthy could be a very good fit in Washington.
Featured Image courtesy of Scott Taetsch/Getty Images
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