WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Ringing in the New Year means reverting back to that old familiar feeling of uncertainty for the Redskins’ future in 2014.
With the Redskins now devoid of a mentor to groom franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III, the team’s coaching search will undoubtedly be focused on finding the candidate who can best set him, and the team, back on the path to success.
The name Art Briles, Griffin’s college coach at Baylor and a guy believed to be an offensive guru comparable to the Eagles’ Chip Kelly, has been floated about since the Redskins first appeared to be moving away from Mike Shanahan.
The connections are obvious.
Briles was Griffin’s coach at Baylor, the offensive guru responsible for catapulting him to the Heisman trophy, and ultimately, being worthy of a team mortgaging three first-round draft picks to trade up and attain (as the Redskins did with Griffin).
Briles himself has said he has not been contacted by anyone from the Redskins, or even the NFL for that matter, and is simultaneously being considered a candidate for the University of Texas coaching vacancy.
Alternatively (and on the very large assumption that the Redskins may actually have interest in Briles), the case could be made that he’s the worst possible candidate for the position in Washington. 106.7 The Fan’s own Grant Paulsen has validated such an assessment on numerous occasions, stating hiring Briles would cement the belief that Griffin played a direct role Shanahan being fired, and has been empowered by Dan Snyder to make organizational decisions.
That out of the way, Jason Bishop of the Junkies argued with Jamie Dukes of the NFL Network, over the legitimacy of Briles’ candidacy, on 106.7 The Fan on Thursday; a spat which yielded valid points from either side, and essentially exposed the crux of the debate for and against the Redskins going after Briles.
Asked for his thoughts on current NFL coordinators who could be interviewed by the Redskins in the coming days – Darrell Bevell (offensive coordinator – Seattle), Sean McDermott (defensive coordinator – Carolina), Jim Caldwell (offensive coordinator – Baltimore), Perry Fewell (defensive coordinator – NYG), and Greg Roman (offensive coordinator – San Francisco) – Dukes, on his own, brought forward Briles’ name.
“Are any of those guys from Baylor?” Dukes returned with a question.
“They are not,” Cakes said.
“So are you saying that’s the guy you would hire, Art Briles?” Lurch asked.
“Yea, sure,” Dukes replied. “Yea, I would hire him and I would hire the rest of his staff, with the exception of what he does on offense. Because what you need, and Philly set the model; you bring a college guy in who’s got an offense. That guy, he’s got an offense. So now, what you want to do is make sure you have an NFL-caliber defense. So is that why they’re gonna interview with Sean McDermott? Because I can’t see how he could be a head coaching candidate under any circumstances. Forgive me for that.
“Number one, to me, your first priority is, you’ve got to find a guy who can make your quarterback what your quarterback can be. Period. End of story. And if you can find a coordinator who can do that, chances are very slim that you’re gonna do that. I would proceed with offensive head coach, a guru-type guy, Marc Trestman-type skill set, Chip Kelly-type skill set, and go from there.
“It just looks bad for the team if they go out and hire Art Briles,” Lurch said. “Not that Art Briles isn’t a great offensive mind, not that he couldn’t be a successful head coach, but it just looks like Robert’s running the show, and I think that’s bad.”
“Well here’s the thing, how many draft choices did you give up for Robert,” Dukes asked.
“Well it doesn’t mean he can name his own head coach,” Lurch said.
“It’s not about him naming his own head coach,” Dukes insisted. “It’s about putting the player in the position to be most effective. So you would rather, ‘I’m gonna show that S.O.B. Let me give him Perry Fewell.’ Great. And you’re gonna be looking for a coach in about three years. So you can pick the truth however you want to roll with it; you want the guy to pay the penance? Fine. But if you want to win, you gotta find somebody who understands how to best utilize that kid’s skill set.”
The two would continue to bicker over the legitimacy of Briles, and how much the idea of Griffin having a say in the Redskins’ coaching decision actually matters. If you’re still undecided on the matter yourself, listened to the impassioned debate below. If nothing else, you’ll likely come away with new perspective on the debate.
Briles’ Bears lost in a shootout, 52-42, to the UCF Knights in the Fiesta Bowl Wednesday evening, freeing him up to focus on his future, and maybe entertain the idea of departing Baylor for a position elsewhere. Expect speculation, substantiated or not, of Briles-to-Redskins to ramp up accordingly.