Bill Callahan

Redskins To Consider Bill Callahan For Full-Time Job

The Redskins will consider interim head coach Bill Callahan for the so-called “permanent” post (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). That makes two known internal candidates – offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell is also getting real consideration for the job. Rapoport expects the Redskins to evaluate Callahan and O’Connell before opening things up to external candidates in December. 

[RELATED: Redskins Considering OC Kevin O’Connell For HC Job]

If Callahan wants the gig, he’ll have to find a way to turn things around in Washington. Heading into tonight’s game against the Vikings, the Redskins are 1-6 with their only win coming against the lowly Dolphins a couple of weeks back.

O’Connell hasn’t gotten tremendous results, either, but he is highly respected around the league and in the Redskins’ front office. The Redskins, for all their woes, have a history of developing young offensive coaches that have skyrocketed through the ranks. After Sean McVay, Matt LaFleur, and Kyle Shanahan found success elsewhere, the Redskins may be inclined to keep O’Connell in their yard.

In other Redskins news – running back Adrian Peterson and cornerback Josh Norman are active for tonight’s game against the Vikings. The Redskins may also see Trent Williams again sometime soon, though there’s no guarantee that he’ll play even if he does report.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kevin O’Connell Serious Candidate For Redskins’ HC Job

Redskins offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell is expected to receive serious consideration for the team’s head coaching post, as Mark Maske of the Washington Post writes. O’Connell, 34, has been with Washington since 2017, and this season is his first as the Redskins’ OC.

Before Washington elevated him from passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach in January, O’Connell garnered interest from multiple other teams. For all of the Redskins’ problems, they have had a number of young and talented coaches rise through their ranks — Sean McVay, Matt LaFleur, and Kyle Shanahan, to name a few — and apparently there is a belief that O’Connell can follow in their footsteps.

Washington is near the bottom of the league in points per game and yards per game this year, but the offense is largely bereft of talent at the skill positions and along the O-line, so it would be difficult to hold the performance of O’Connell’s unit against him. As Maske notes, the real question will be whether O’Connell, interim HC Bill Callahan, or an outside candidate will be best-suited to maximize Dwayne Haskins‘ potential.

Owner Dan Snyder has not had much problem luring big-name head coaches to the nation’s capital; the problem has been making it work once those coaches arrive. Plus, team president Bruce Allen could be an obstacle. One of Maske’s sources, an agent who represents coaches, said that no coach worth his salt will accept an HC job with the Redskins as long as Allen is in charge of personnel.

In addition to O’Connell, Maske names Gregg Williams, Marvin Lewis, and Mike McCarthy as big names who could attract Snyder’s interest.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins Notes: Gruden, Haskins, Williams

This morning, the Redskins did what everyone expected and fired head coach Jay Gruden. The move follows a 33-7 loss to the Patriots, dropping Washington to 0-5 on the season. Besides his disappointing record, there also seemed to be a disconnect between the front office and the sixth-year coach; Gruden reportedly wasn’t a fan of the team’s decision to select quarterback Dwayne Haskins with the No. 15 overall pick.

Needless to say, it’s been a busy day in Washington, and there have a been a number of additional Redskins notes since this afternoon:

  • Nobody likes to lose their job, but it sounds like Gruden isn’t beating himself up over the firing. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that the now-former head coach was expecting the move and is doing fine. Rapoport also notes that the firing allows the organization to be completely transparent about their head coaching search (as opposed to be covert if Gruden was still on the sideline).
  • During his presser earlier today, team president Bruce Allen deferred to interim head coach Bill Callahan when asked if Haskins would now start under center. The coach later told reporters that the first-rounder is not a candidate to start right now (via NFL Network’s Mike Garafalo on Twitter). The coach did say that they’re currently evaluating the health of Case Keenum and Colt McCoy, but it sounds like one of the veterans will start against the Dolphins on Sunday.
  • Allen was also asked about the status of offensive lineman Trent Williams, who continues to sit out. The executive told reporters that “there’s been no dialogue with any other team” regarding a trade, and Allen also said the team isn’t actively shopping the veteran. Today’s head coaching move also didn’t move the needle when it comes to a potential return for Williams; a source told ESPN’s Dianna Russini (Twitter link) that the 31-year-old “doesn’t have any plans of returning to the Redskins anytime soon.”
  • We hate to rub dirt in the wound, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter points out (on Twitter) that the Redskins’ coaching staff once consisted of Kyle Shanahan, Sean McVay, and Matt LaFleuer. The three current head coaches (with the 49ers, Rams, and Packers, respectively) currently have a combined 2019 record of 10-3.

Redskins Fire Jay Gruden

The Redskins have officially fired head coach Jay Gruden. In the interim, offensive line/assistant head coach Bill Callahan will take over the operation, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). 

Through the first five games of the 2019 season, the team has clearly not performed up to expectations, and we all share in that responsibility,” the team said, via press release. “Moving forward we are committed to doing all that we can collectively as an organization to turn things around and give our Redskins fans and alumni a team they can be proud of in 2019 and beyond.”

Last week, we heard another round of reports indicating a rift between Gruden and the organization, specifically as it pertains to first-round pick Dwayne Haskins. Reportedly, owner Dan Snyder & Co. drove the selection of the Ohio State quarterback – Gruden did not want him. This year, Gruden refused to start Haskins, citing his lack of NFL readiness.

Of course, Gruden’s recent off-the-field controversy didn’t help matters either. Days ago, a video surfaced in which Gruden appears to be smoking marijuana with a young woman. The Redskins declined to comment on the viral video, but it has been speculated that the Redskins leaked these year-old videos, so they could fire Gruden “with cause”, helping to ease potential financial ramifications of a firing. It’s reminiscent of circumstances leading up to the firing of GM Scot McCloughan.

Gruden also addressed recent comments by ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, where Smith stated that Gruden had quit on his team.

I heard about that one. That one is far from the truth. Those are fighting words for me,” Gruden said. “That’s one thing I will never do or have done in my life. I work extremely hard, getting up early as hell and working late and doing the best I can to get ourselves a victory this week. I have a lot of respect for everyone in this locker room and the last thing I would do to these players is quit on them because I know they’re not going to quit on me.

The Redskins are 0-5, but it’s fair to wonder whether this is truly the fault of Gruden. The Redskins were not necessarily built to win in 2019 and the club’s constant discord is clearly holding the franchise back.

Callahan, 63, is a highly-respected figure in the NFL. Sometime during or after the Redskins’ press conference at 1pm ET, we’ll learn whether Callahan will garner consideration for the permanent post.

Callahan took over for Jon Gruden as the Raiders head coach in 2002 and held the post through 2003, before he was fired. After going 4-12 as Oakland’s head coach in ’03, he served as Nebraska’s HC for four years.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest on Dwayne Haskins, Redskins’ Coaching Staff

There was some chatter Saturday suggesting that Redskins head coach Jay Gruden could be coaching for his job against the Giants this afternoon, but Dianna Russini of ESPN.com reports that no Washington coaches were informed by team execs or ownership that they will be fired if they lose against New York today (Twitter link). That may or may not mean anything, but since Gruden’s seat gets hotter by the day, these types of reports are worth monitoring.

However, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports confirms that the relationship between the coaching staff and the front office, headed by team president Bruce Allen, has become untenable. And differences in opinion over roster construction are just the beginning. Per La Canfora, the organization wants Gruden to part ways with defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, but Gruden refuses to consider any changes to his staff.

But it seems inevitable that Gruden, at least, will be looking for a new job in 2020. Manusky will likely be gone too, but La Canfora says team brass is high on first-year OC Kevin O’Connell, so he may stick around. If Gruden were to fired be mid-season, offensive line coach Bill Callahan may serve as the team’s interim HC. Gruden, meanwhile, may join his brother Jon’s staff with the Raiders.

As we have been hearing, another source of contention between the Redskins’ coaching staff and front office/ownership is rookie QB Dwayne Haskins. La Canfora writes in a separate piece that many members of the coaching staff — including Gruden — and people close to Haskins believe that it would be best for the Ohio State product to redshirt his entire rookie year, especially given the state of Washington’s O-line and the club’s general dearth of offensive talent. But owner Dan Snyder may be inclined to throw Haskins into the fire sooner rather than later, while Gruden views playing Haskins as a last resort. Although Gruden’s fate with the Redskins is likely sealed, the disagreement between him and Snyder over Haskins may hasten his departure.

As for today, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that Case Keenum will get the start, and Haskins will be his backup. Colt McCoy, who recently returned to practice, will be inactive, though the Redskins did consider dressing all three signal-callers. Despite Gruden’s reservations about playing Haskins, Rapoport hears that if Keenum should struggle against the Giants’ defense, Gruden may feel compelled to send in his rookie signal-caller (video link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Staff Notes: Fins, Falcons, Pats, Redskins

Brian FloresDolphins staff continues to fill out. The Miami-bound Patriots assistant plans to hire Jaguars defensive line coach Marion Hobby and Giants outside linebackers coach Rob Leonard, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Hobby’s past two NFL seasons in Jacksonville came after a decade at the college level, with the 52-year-old assistant’s previous coaching work coming at the college level. He was Clemson’s co-defensive coordinator and defensive ends coach for six seasons, coaching Vic Beasley, Shaq Lawson and Andre Branch in that time. Hobby was also the Saints’ defensive ends coach during Sean Payton‘s first two seasons. Leonard spent the past six seasons with the Giants, working with three head coaches. This was his lone coaching post at the NFL or college level. He worked with new Miami DC Patrick Graham for two of those years.

Here is the latest from the coaching ranks:

  • Dante Scarnecchia retired from the NFL after the 2013 season, but when the Patriots‘ 2015 campaign ended with the Broncos hitting Tom Brady more than 20 times, New England lured its longtime offensive line coach back to the sideline. Scarnecchia has now been back for three seasons and intends to make that at least four, with ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss noting he plans to coach in 2019. Aided by the 70-year-old assistant’s guidance, the Patriots’ offensive front nullified the Chiefs’ formidable pass rush for most of the AFC championship game.
  • The Redskins may be looking for a new defensive line coach. Jim Tomsula‘s contract has expired, Bruce Allen said (via NBC Sports Washington’s J.P. Finlay, on Twitter). The former 49ers head coach landed in Washington in 2017. It’s possible the sides could work out another contract, with Tomsula having aided the development of Jonathan Allen and Matt Ioannidis (combined 15 sacks).
  • Washington, though, is expected bring back offensive line coach Bill Callahan next season, Allen said. He is under contract for 2019. Bill’s son, Brian Callahan, recently landed the Bengals’ OC gig, and the Bengals were interested in pairing up the father-son tandem. Bill Callahan has coached Washington’s offensive linemen since 2015, the last two years overseeing a position group ransacked by injuries.
  • After two seasons on Dan Quinn‘s Falcons staff, Charlie Jackson will move to the college ranks to become a head coach. Jackson will take over at Division II Kentucky State, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes. Jackson served as Atlanta’s defensive backs coach but had previously coached with the Broncos and Packers and worked as a Seahawks scout. He was not fired when the Falcons made sweeping staff changes, but the team now has a staff vacancy.

North Notes: Bears, Steelers, Browns

The Bears intend to bring in competition for much-maligned kicker Cody Parkey, according to general manager Ryan Pace (Twitter link via Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune). “We need more production out of that position,” said Pace. “It will be an emphasis of focus for us.” Parkey, of course, had a game-winning kick blocked in the final seconds of Chicago’s Wild Card round loss to the Eagles, but his results during the regular season were also unspectacular. Signed to a four-year, $15MM contract last March, Parkey proceeded to finish third-to-last in the NFL with a 76.7% field goal conversion rate. Football Outsiders‘ special teams metrics, meanwhile, ranked the Bears 29th in field goals and extra points. Chicago, which handed Parkey $9MM in full guarantees, would incur more than $5MM in dead money by cutting the 26-year-old.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two North divisions:

  • Bengals head coach-to-be Zac Taylor is “very interested” in having Redskins offensive line coach Bill Callahan join his new staff in Cincinnati, reports Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). The only problem? Callahan is still under contract in Washington, so the Redskins would need to permit the move. The Bengals parted ways with OL coach Frank Pollack earlier this week, so they’re looking for a new coach to lead their front five. Taylor played quarterback under Callahan at Nebraska, so the two certainly have a familiarity.
  • The Steelers have hired North Carolina State tight ends/fullbacks/special teams coach Eddie Faulkner as their new running backs coach, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Faulkner coached current Steelers running back Jaylen Samuels as recently as 2017, and he’ll now have the opportunity to lead both Samuels and James Conner next season. He’ll replace James Saxon, who left to take the same position with the Cardinals.
  • After losing former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to the Broncos, the Bears are overhauling their defensive staff under new play-caller Chuck Pagano. Safeties coach Roy Anderson and linebackers coach Glenn Pires will not be retained, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune and Adam Caplan of SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter links). Pagano surely wants to formulate his own staff, but Anderson had worked with Pagano in both Baltimore and Indianapolis, so his departure is relatively surprising.
  • Broncos’ offensive tackles coach Chris Strausser is generating interest from the Browns, tweets Mike Klis of 9News. Strausser, who handled Denver’s tackles while Sean Kugler (who recently left for the Cardinals) managed the club’s interior offensive line, is likely being allowed to pursue other opportunities now that Fangio is in place. Cleveland recently hired ex-Packers offensive line coach James Campen for the same role.

Latest On Redskins’ Offensive Staff

Redskins offensive line coach Bill Callahan has come up as a possibility to fill the vacant O-coordinator positions with both Washington and the Rams, but he’s uninterested in leaving his current role.

Bill Callahan

“It’s not that he’s dismissive of an opportunity to, at some point in time, become a coordinator,” agent Bob LaMonte told Liz Clarke of the Washington Post. “But at this time, he’s not interested because he’s enjoying the players he works with and enjoying working for Jay (Gruden).”

Callahan, 60, has already been a coordinator with the Raiders (1998-2001) and the Cowboys (2012-14). After leaving Dallas, he took over the Redskins’ offensive line and is now coming off a season in which the unit allow the fourth-fewest sacks in the NFL (23) and sent two players – left tackle Trent Williams and right guard Brandon Scherff – to the Pro Bowl. Callahan’s line also finished the season as Football Outsiders’ sixth-ranked front five and Pro Football Focus’ seventh-best group.

With Callahan not open to taking the place of ex-Redskins O-coordinator and now-Rams head coach Sean McVay, it’s now even likelier than before that quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh will become Gruden’s top offensive assistant, according to Clarke. Tight ends coach Wes Phillips is also in the mix, but he could join his father, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, on McVay’s staff in Los Angeles.

Cavanaugh has been in charge of the Redskins’ signal-callers since 2015, Kirk Cousins‘ breakout year. He was formerly a coordinator with the Bears and Ravens.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Staff Notes: Tomsula, Callahan, Bills, Broncos

Jim Tomsula was out of football this season after a 5-11 campaign as San Francisco’s head coach in 2015, but it appears he’s about to resurface. The Redskins are targeting Tomsula, tweets Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, though he doesn’t specify which position the 48-year-old would take in Washington. It seems likely Tomsula would coach the Redskins’ D-line, though, considering he held that role with the Niners from 2007-14. The Redskins have an opening there thanks to the firing of Robb Akey earlier this month.

More on several coaching staffs:

  • Newly minted Rams head coach Sean McVay has already reeled in one experienced coordinator in defensive chief Wade Phillips, and he could next add one on offense in Bill Callahan, reports Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson (Twitter link). Callahan is currently the Redskins’ offensive line coach – McVay, of course, was their offensive coordinator – and has been a coordinator in both Oakland and Dallas.
  • Along with officially hiring Leslie Frazier as their new defensive coordinator, the Bills announced the additions of Juan Castillo (offensive line coach/run game coordinator) and Bob Babich (linebackers) to their coaching staff Friday. They’ll also retain special teams coach Danny Crossman for a fifth season. Castillo, who spent the past four years with the Ravens, was previously a longtime staff member in Philadelphia – where he became familiar with new Bills head coach Sean McDermott. Babich coached the Chargers’ linebackers this past season, which came after a three-year run as the Jaguars’ defensive coordinator.
  • The Broncos have a couple candidates for their special teams coach job in Marwan Maalouf and Derius Swinton II, per Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter links). The Dolphins granted the Broncos permission to interview Maalouf, who’s Miami’s assistant special teams coach. Heading to Denver would mean once again working on the same staff as rookie head coach Vance Joseph, who was the Dolphins’ defensive coordinator in 2016. Swinton is currently the 49ers’ special teams coach, but his future there is in doubt with a new head coach on the way. He worked as the Broncos’ assistant special teams coach from 2013-14.
  • The Browns have hired DeWayne Walker to coach their defensive backs, according to Nate Ulrich of Ohio.com. Walker was in Jacksonville as its DBs coach over the past four years. In going to Cleveland, he’ll reunite with Browns head coach Hue Jackson and new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Walker worked with each of them in previous stops.
  • Chargers defensive line coach Giff Smith, defensive backs coach Ron Milus and assistant DBs coach Chris Harris will remain in place under Anthony Lynn, relays Sporting News’ Alex Marvez (Twitter link). They could end up on the defensive staff of Gus Bradley, who will interview for the Bolts’ D-coordinator job.

East Notes: Cowboys, Callahan, Tannehill

Speaking to the media in Indianapolis on Wednesday, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett referred to Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray as “cornerstone players,” and said he loves them and wants both players back in Dallas. Addressing Murray specifically, Garrett added that “both sides are talking.” However, he also cautioned that “the business of the NFL is real” (three Twitter links via Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News, Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun, and ESPN’s Josina Anderson).

Here’s more from out of the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • New Washington offensive line coach Bill Callahan tells Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com (Twitter link) that there were offensive coordinator opportunities available for him last month, but he opted for the job in D.C. instead. I would guess that either Callahan didn’t think he’d be a frontrunner for those offensive coordinator positions, or Washington just made it very much worth his while not to explore those opportunities.
  • Restructuring Tony Romo’s contract will backfire at some point, but it’s a worthwhile gamble for Cowboys, Bob Sturm of The Dallas Morning News opines. There’s “no doubt” in Sturm’s mind that they will push a lot of the quarterback’s 2015 money into 2016.
  • Quarterback salaries are what they are, Dolphins GM Dennis Hickey acknowledged on Wednesday while speaking to reporters, including Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, adding that his team feels comfortable investing in Ryan Tannehill as its QB of the future.

Zach Links contributed to this post.