Clayton: Top candidates to replace Shanahan


Originally Published: December 16, 2013

John Clayton |

The end for Mike Shanahan came quickly after the season was over.

Now, Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is searching for his eighth head coach in his 14-year tenure in D.C. Snyder wants a coach to appease quarterback Robert Griffin III. He knows RG III can successfully run a college-style offense, so a college coach wouldn’t scare him off. Clearly, the Redskins will be looking for an offensive-minded coach. Here are the main candidates for the job:

1. Baylor head coach Art Briles: Briles coached Griffin in college so he will naturally be near the top of the list of candidates. Briles agreed on a new 10-year contract in November that will keep him at Baylor through 2023 and, according to the Dallas Morning News, he will make upward of $4 million next season. Money isn’t a problem for Snyder. He could double that annual number if Briles is the coach he wants.

2. Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin: Like Briles, Sumlin might be hard to lure away from the college game after recently inking a six-year extension with the Aggies. Sumlin’s fast-paced style of offense would mesh perfectly with Griffin’s skill set, making the coach attractive to Washington. Having just signed the extension, though, this too might be a tough sell.

3. Stanford head coach David Shaw: Shaw is likely going to stay at Stanford. He has been in the BCS championship series the past two years and is considered one of the hottest coaching prospects in the country. The question is whether he would entertain NFL overtures.

4. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly: If Snyder can’t convince Briles to come to the NFL, Kelly could be one of the next-best options. Kelly had Notre Dame battling Alabama for a national championship last season, but a chance to join the NFL may intrigue him.

5. San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman: Roman’s work with Colin Kaepernick makes him one of the best NFL candidates for the Redskins’ job. His style of offense would fit the team’s personnel. Much like his head coach, Jim Harbaugh, Roman believes in a power running attack. Though he would have to make adjustment along the offensive line, Roman would be able to work well with Griffin and halfback Alfred Morris.

6. Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell: Bevell has a nice résumé to sell Snyder on. He has worked with Brett Favre, knows the West Coast offense and has spent the past year and a half developing Russell Wilson in Seattle. Like Roman, Bevell can put together a power running attack featuring Morris.

7. San Diego Chargers assistant coach Ken Whisenhunt: The fact he once played for the Redskins certainly doesn’t hurt his case of the former tight end and Cardinals head coach. Another plus is he could bring along another ex-Redskin in Russ Grimm to coach the offensive line.

8. Cincinnati Bengals assistant coach Hue Jackson: Jackson has a history of working well with quarterbacks. He mentored former Redskins QB Jason Campbell in Oakland.

9. Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden: If Washington can’t get Jon Gruden, his brother is an attractive alternative. Jay has helped coach QB Andy Dalton and the Bengals to their third straight playoff appearance, and RG III might like what Gruden can offer him.

10. Former Arizona Cardinals assistant head coach Russ Grimm: Grimm has interviewed for several vacant positions throughout the years, and Snyder’s loyalty to former Redskins could lead him to contact Grimm.

  • Senior NFL writer and commentator
  • Joined ESPN in 1995
  • Member of the writers’ wing of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio

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