NFC East: Bob Stoops

Shanahan likes Williams' versatility

April, 23, 2010
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan kept bringing up Broncos offensive tackle Ryan Clady's name while discussing his new left tackle, Trent Williams. Shanahan took Clady early in the first round and he's emerged as one of the best offensive linemen in the league.

The Redskins believed that Williams was a better fit for their zone-blocking scheme than Oklahoma State's Russell Okung. And the fact that Williams can play pretty much any position on the line didn't hurt, either. His former Oklahoma teammate Sam Bradford talked about Williams' willingness to move to center for a game last season. Shanahan is obviously hoping Williams can start at left tackle immediately, but if he's not quite ready, it sounds like there will be an opening for him at right tackle. The Redskins' new coach said that Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops influenced his decision.

"I wanted to get a little reinforcement from him," said Shanahan of Stoops. "He’s been around a lot of good football players throughout his career. There are not many athletes that are 315 pounds and can run in that 4.8 range and show the type of athleticism that we look for. We do run that zone-blocking scheme. A very agile offensive tackle is something we look for. Sometimes it is hard to find unless you do pick in the first round or early in the first round and we think we found a guy that can really help us."

Here's what Shanahan said when asked where Williams would line up in 201o:

"Well I think the left tackle is the hardest position to play. So we would like him to come in and compete at the left tackle position. But he has a lot of experience at the right tackle position. He has played the center position. I think he’s got the ability to play the guard position as well, very effectively. We will pencil him in at left tackle and hopefully he will help us there."

I know the Redskins were intrigued by the playmaking skills of Eric Berry, but Williams was the right pick. You can't send Donovan McNabb into a season without a decent left tackle. I've actually heard arguments lately about how left tackles are overrated. Well, try telling that to Jason Campbell. By the way, I'll visit with Campbell on Friday and see if he's heard anything on the trade front.

We'll also keep our ear to the ground on a potential Albert Haynesworth trade. That could certainly happen during the second round.

A negative recruiting story involving Dallas?

February, 2, 2010
With national signing day for college football coming Wednesday, I wanted to pass along an interesting tale involving a high school recruit from Georgia, Urban Meyer and the Dallas Cowboys. A running back from Lithonia, Ga., named Mack Brown (no relation to the Texas coach) who plans to sign with Florida on Wednesday told the Orlando Sentinel that rival college recruiters used some rather interesting (dirty) tactics in trying to persuade him to switch his commitment in recent weeks.

"They would say, he’s tricking ya’ll -- he’s going to the NFL to coach the Dallas Cowboys,” said Brown. “I was like ‘What?’ There’s no way.”

Sounds like a pretty far-fetched idea to me. After all, Meyer's retirement only lasted that one evening, so it's not like he had much time to visit with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Honestly, coaches will say just about anything in order to land a recruit. Brown refused to divulge the names of the coaches or schools who allegedly made those statements, but the Sentinel notes that Tennessee and Florida State were in hot pursuit of the running back over the past month.

Jones is one of the only NFL owners who can point to a success story when it comes to hiring a head coach directly from the college ranks. But I think he realizes that Jimmy Johnson is one of those once-in-a-lifetime personalities. That's why I'd be shocked if the Cowboys ever hired (Bob Stoops, Urban Meyer, etc.) as a head coach.

Jones has explained to me before that the time and resources you have to commit to bringing a college coach up to speed aren't worth the risk.