NFC East: Martin Mayhew

Quick Takes: Coaching search

January, 3, 2014
1/03/14
9:20
AM ET
  • I’ve been told several times that Bill Cowher is not returning to coaching. But to think that Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder hasn’t at least reached out to him is insane. Snyder has lured Marty Schottenheimer, Joe Gibbs and Mike Shanahan to his organization. You don’t think he’s at attempted to get Cowher -- one of two big names still on the sidelines (Jon Gruden being the other)? Don’t forget, Snyder heard “no” from Gibbs a couple times over several years before snagging him. Of course, Snyder has hired three of the all-time winningest coaches -- and in their nine combined seasons they produced three winning records and one NFC East title in Washington. Not a great track record. Cowher is smart and would have to know the issues involved, and past obstacles, in coaching here.
  • Cowher
    The CBSThisMorning twitter feed sent this out this morning: Bill Cowher (@CowherCBS) says there is “nothing to” the rumor he’ll return to coaching, but the “door is never closed."
  • That’s why, when I hear that they haven’t talked, I laugh. Any team that doesn’t reach out to Cowher to gauge his interest is not doing its job. And no owner is more attracted to star power than Snyder. Cowher exudes the power and confidence any owner would love, especially Snyder. If he thinks that door is "never closed" of course he'd pursue him.
  • Having said that, even if that door is closed here, if I’m Snyder and Bruce Allen I’m tapping into all my resources to find the right coach. Snyder has a relationship with Cowher, so there’s just as strong a chance that if they have talked, it’s also to run names by him and pick the brain of a Super Bowl coach. Just like Allen would be doing with Gruden. They might not be interested in coming to Washington -- at all -- but they can still help in the search. It’s what I’d do as well. It’s smart. My guess is they'll pick the brain of many others about the job.
  • I also remember when Gibbs was hired, there was a spotting of Snyder’s plane in Charlotte several days earlier. A reporter, Len Pasquarelli, asked Snyder about it -- and about Gibbs -- and was pretty much told nothing was going on. He was hired a few days later. Snyder’s plane was in Denver early in the 2009 season, and again we were told it had nothing to do with a meeting between the owner and Mike Shanahan; instead the plane was there for someone else's use on business. That was the line. Later we found out differently. Point is, believe nothing and consider everything until it’s over.
  • Gruden
    And I’m not saying I think Cowher is coming. At this point I have zero evidence to the contrary, and people I respect and trust say it's not happening, so that’s what I stick with. But I’ve learned not to fully believe certain denials by the organization.
  • The Redskins face an uphill battle in some ways with their search. Yes, there are attractive parts to the job -- young offensive nucleus, cap space -- but the reality is a 15-year record of mostly losing and chaos every few years. That will scare some candidates off and make others leery. So find out from experts such as Gruden and Cowher what they need to do -- and who they need to interview.
  • And just because they interview someone, it does not mean they have a strong interest in them. It’s good to interview coaches with various backgrounds to see how they assess your team and organization. If you limited your search to just, say, offensive-minded coaches, you would not learn all you need to know. It would be quite dumb to operate that way.
  • From what I’ve been told, they have not yet reached out to Arizona defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.
  • San Diego offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, an intriguing candidate for any opening, was teammates with Detroit general manager Martin Mayhew from 1989-90 in Washington. I heard that they’ve maintained a friendship, which could help lure him to the Lions. But if the Chargers win this weekend, would the Lions wait just for him? Not sure about that. One potential drawback to the Lions job: I’ve heard they want to maintain the defensive staff. If another coach wants to hire all of his coaches, that could be an issue.
Daniel Jeremiah, a former NFL scout who operates the well-respected Move the Sticks Web site, offered this analysis of the Brandon Marshall trade via Twitter:
Big winner in the Marshall trade is the Lions...further evidence that the Cowboys gave up WAY too much for Roy Williams

You'll get no argument from me. Denver is being congratulated for extracting a pair of second-round draft choices from Miami for Marshall, and deservedly so. (Just three days ago, Pittsburgh settled for a fifth-round pick from the New York Jets for receiver Santonio Holmes.)

Using one version of the trade value chart, NFC West colleague Mike Sando computed the Broncos' bounty into the rough equivalent of the No. 28 overall pick in a draft. In other words, the Broncos got the value of a low first-round pick for Marshall.

As you might recall, Detroit got better than franchise-player value for Williams in the 2008 trade that sent him to Dallas. The Lions wound up with a first-round pick (No. 20 overall), along with additional selections in the third, sixth and seventh rounds.

You would be hard pressed to find an objective reason why Williams was worth more than Marshall. The only thing I can think of is Marshall's precious status under the NFL's personal conduct policy; one more mistake and he could face an indefinite suspension. On the field, Marshall clearly has outdistanced Williams' pre-trade production.

Williams played in 60 games for the Lions before the trade. Coincidentally, Marshall played in 61 for Denver. Over those near-identical time periods, Marshall had 327 receptions to Williams' 262. That's a difference of nearly one full catch per game.

I don't think it was any secret before Wednesday, but now it's more clear than ever: Lions general manager Martin Mayhew absolutely fleeced the Cowboys on this deal.

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