Allen keeps open mind for next coach

December, 31, 2013
12/31/13
9:45
AM ET
ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen called the coaching list an open one, saying there’s a spot for all sorts of backgrounds. Allen said they will talk to people who have no head coaching experience, who are currently college coaches and some whom he’s never met.

“I want to hear what their dreams are, what they can do, the fire in their belly to coach the Washington Redskins, to inspire the kids on this football team,” Allen said.

Among the names that likely will be on their list, as well as other teams: ex-Chicago coach Lovie Smith, Cincinnati offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, and Cincinnati defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. Former Green Bay coach Mike Sherman, currently the offensive coordinator in Miami, was a possibility, but a bad finish with the Dolphins might have changed that as his job is reportedly in jeopardy. The Redskins would be interested in Jon Gruden, too, though it does not sound as if he shares that interest. Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is another name who will surface for most vacancies.

One note: Being on a list and being a strong candidate are two different things. They likely will have 10 to 12 names on the list before it gets pared down.

Other names that could surface: Baylor’s Art Briles, for the obvious connection to quarterback Robert Griffin III – which could keep him off the list as well --and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin. They’ve also talked to Bill Cowher, but, that too does not appear to be of mutual interest.

Allen said he has no blueprint for what systems he wants the coach to run. Defensively that could mean a return to the 4-3. Offensively it could mean going to a different blocking scheme.

“It’s the person who has the understanding and the knowledge of what he wants to teach the players,” Allen said. “As I said at the beginning, we’re going to look for someone who is a leader first and it could be on the offensive side of the ball, defense or special teams. There have been a couple special teams coaches who have made great head coaches. We’re going to keep an open mind.”

This will be the sixth head coach hired under owner Dan Snyder. None have lasted more than four years and none have finished better than .500. Allen tried to play down the lack of success in Snyder’s ownership.

“I can’t speak for the prior years. I can speak for Mike’s years, and Dan was very supportive of all of Mike’s wishes and ideas,” Allen said. “This is the Washington Redskins. This is a very high-profile team. When the Dallas Cowboys or the Washington Redskins are in first place it’s a lot of news, and when they’re in last place it’s a lot of news. I think coming into this environment, knowing that there is a nucleus, I think it will be a very attractive position to coaches.”

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter

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