Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Quick Takes: Bruce Allen and more
By John Keim
Bruce Allen wanted to be in charge and now he is, which means his Redskins tenure is now officially on the clock. That’s what the Washington Post’s Jason Reid wrote and it’s hard to disagree with the column.
Allen did handle things this way with Tampa Bay, but when he was there Jon Gruden had all sorts of power. In Oakland, it was Al Davis. There’s no doubting who’s in control of football matters in Washington. Is that a good or bad thing? I remember when he was hired and how people around the league described him as being a good politician. Those skills will come in handy when trying to build a consensus. I also think Jay Gruden’s personality will help in this effort. As a first-time head coach he’s not in position to demand more power.
That doesn’t mean it will work. But the personalities, when it comes to those in the front office and on the staff, at least seem like they will co-exist well. They just have to make sure it’s the football people making the football decisions.
Former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is still awaiting word on whether or not he’ll get the Miami Dolphins’ job. What would help him: more defensive-minded head coaches getting hired. They would then need someone to run the offense and call plays. But, thus far, every opening has gone to an offensive-minded head coach. I don’t know if he’d have a shot in Minnesota if Mike Zimmer is hired. UPDATE: Miami hired another former Redskins assistant, Bill Lazor, as its offensive coordinator Wednesday afternoon.
Count me among those who would love to see Zimmer get a shot as a head coach. I’ve always liked his intensity and I know his brashness has turned off some teams in the past. But I’d love to see what he could do when given the opportunity. His defenses have been good for a while.
Yes, Earnest Byner will interview with Washington for the vacant running backs position. Coaches and front office people who worked with him in the past consider him an excellent coach. He can be a tough coach, but the word is that he’s fair.
Byner has been caught in some bad timing in his coaching career since leaving Washington. He was fired by Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher after two seasons, but quickly took the same position in Jacksonville. But he lasted only two years because there was another regime change. And he lasted in two years with Tampa Bay for the same reason.
The New York Daily News reported that Washington interviewed Jets special teams coach Ben Kotwica on Tuesday. Kotwica reportedly has been offered a contract to stay in New York, but was told he could interview with other teams. It does not sound as if the Jets were wowed by the job he did, but he also wasn’t a disaster. But he also was replacing a legend there in the retired Mike Westhoff.
Kotwica’s situation could depend on the length of the contract offer with New York. I can’t imagine he’d turn it down if it was a multi-year deal considering how long he’s been with the Jets (seven years). But maybe sometimes you feel a change is necessary. Or it could be dependent on whether or not Rex Ryan receives a contract extension, which would provide his staff more job security. If you land with a team that has a new coach, you’ll have that security.
Kotwica was Westhoff’s assistant for six years before taking over the top job last season after the longtime coach retired. Kotwica wasn’t afraid to try different things, like using three gunners in a game against Carolina rather than the traditional two. Alas, while it worked two times it failed on the third as Carolina adjusted and blocked a punt.
The Washington Post’s Dave Sheinin took a look at Gruden’s quarterback journey and why that could be good for Robert Griffin III. After he was hired I wrote that this could be good for Griffin because Gruden played quarterback at a high level in college and because of his personality. Griffin already has met with Gruden and came away excited about what he heard. He’s also met with new offensive coordinator Sean McVay, whom he obviously already knew.