Bruce Allen

Redskins’ Prez: “We’ve Heard From Every Agent”

The Redskins’ internal drama has been well-documented, but team president Bruce Allen claims that he’s heard from “every agent” for head coaching candidates regarding the vacancy (Twitter link via NFL Network’s Andrea Kremer). 

[RELATED: Trent Williams To Report By Week 10?]

Let’s just say we’ve heard from every agent,” Allen said. “They found our phone number.”

The Redskins have seen the postseason since their 2015 playoff exit against the Packers in the Wild Card round. This year, they canned Jay Gruden after an 0-5 start that dropped his career record to 35-49. When Gruden was fired, he was reportedly happy to be moving on from the team and an apparently toxic relationship with club management.

When asked about the Gruden divorce, Allen was terse, to say the least.

We HAD to fire Jay,” he said (via Kremer, emphasis hers). “The team wasn’t responding.”

There are, at least, two candidates currently in the mix for the Redskins job: interim head coach Bill Callahan and offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell. The Redskins are expected to consider both men for the post before potentially casting a wider net in December.

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’ Bruce Allen On Firing Jay Gruden

Jay Gruden is out as the Redskins’ head coach. On Monday afternoon, president Bruce Allen discussed Gruden’s firing with the press and said that Gruden’s firing is “not for cause” – in other words, the team will not try to escape it’s financial obligations with Gruden by citing the recently circulated video of him allegedly smoking marijuana or anything else pertaining to off-the-field matters.

Here’s a look at more highlights from Allen’s presser.

Allen on why Gruden was fired

It was necessary. Our 0-5 start is not just disappointing. We had much different expectations for the beginning of the season.

Allen on why the team selected Bill Callahan as its interim head coach

Under Bill’s leadership, the programs he’s going to put in, the discipline and execution, we believe we’re giving him the best opportunity to beat the Miami Dolphins, and the rest of the year.”

Allen on whether first-round pick Dwayne Haskins will take over as the team’s starting quarterback

It’ll be up to Coach Callahan who plays at any position, the same way it was up to Coach Gruden who’s going to play. We’re thrilled to have Dwayne here. We think his future is really bright. Whatever gives Coach Callahan the formula for success [is], I’m sure he’s going to do.

Allen on the team’s much-maligned culture

The culture is actually pretty damn good.”

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.

Redskins Notes: Gruden, Snyder, Allen

Entering their third NFC East game this season, the Redskins are 0-3 and may be close to a regime change. Jay Gruden entered this season atop Las Vegas “first coach fired” lists, raising the stakes of Washington’s game against the Giants. Case Keenum is in line to start again, but Mike Jones of USA Today notes Dan Snyder would “love” to see Dwayne Haskins make his debut. Gruden and his staff do not yet view the rookie quarterback as ready to play. This marks the latest disagreement between the staff and ownership on Haskins.

Snyder pushed for the Redskins to draft Haskins at No. 15 overall, while Gruden wanted the team to address one of its other key needs with the pick, Jones adds. A report circulated in April that Snyder and team president Bruce Allen preferred Haskins while others in the building backed a Daniel Jones pick — though, that turned out to be moot since the Giants stunned most draft observers by nabbing Jones at No. 6 — but it appears the sixth-year Redskins coach would have been fine not taking a quarterback at all.

Here is the latest from Washington:

  • This was not the first disagreement Gruden had with Redskins higher-ups regarding signal-callers. Gruden wanted Kirk Cousins to be retained, but Allen was not on board, Jones notes. Allen and Cousins had a notable falling out, from his “Kurt” references to the ongoing contract negotiations not meeting the former Washington passer’s expectations. These issues have prompted some around the league to question whether the Redskins will ever build a perennial contender while Snyder and Allen are running things, per Jones.
  • Gruden is the NFL’s lone active coach with at least five seasons’ experience to not post a 10-win season with his franchise. He’s also the only one to fail to guide his team to a playoff win. With the again-injury-stricken Redskins coming off a double-digit loss on national television, Les Carpenter of the Washington Post notes Gruden may be coaching for his job against the Giants. Washington has gone 35-47 under Gruden. Since Alex Smith‘s gruesome 2018 injury, which occurred while the team was in first place in the NFC East, the Redskins are 1-8. Washington has former 49ers HC Jim Tomsula on staff, as defensive line coach, in the event an in-season promotion becomes necessary.
  • Blossoming rookie wideout Terry McLaurin appeared on Washington’s injury report late this week. He will join Brandon Scherff in being a game-time decision Sunday.

Antonio Brown Rumors: Kraft, Suitors, Cap

Antonio Brown‘s latest stay in free agency is, as expected, lasting longer than his brief unattached period between his Raiders and Patriots stints. He remains unemployed as Week 3 Sunday nears. Here is the latest from the Brown rumor mill, beginning with more on the Patriots’ decision to cut him:

  • Robert Kraft became “enraged” while learning the details of Brown sending texts to a woman who accused him of sexual misconduct, and Jeff Howe of The Athletic reports (subscription required) he and Bill Belichick then spoke of the receiver’s status in New England. The two Pats power brokers agreed Brown had to go, after only 11 days with the team. The report from SI.com’s Robert Klemko about the messages broke late Thursday night, and barely 12 hours later, Brown had seen a third team part ways with him in less than seven months.
  • While the Patriots are expected to have an avenue to avoid paying Brown anything beyond his Week 2 and Week 3 base salaries, Field Yates of ESPN.com notes (via Twitter) the receiver is still counting $4.5MM on New England’s cap. As it stands currently, Brown represents a $4.5MM cap hold on the Pats’ 2019 and ’20 cap sheets.
  • If and when a Brown grievance comes regarding his $9MM signing bonus — which was set to be paid in two installments, Monday and then in early 2020 — Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap writes a Patriots victory in that setting would give them more than $5MM in 2020 cap credits.
  • The Seahawks have already come out and said they are not interested in Brown this time around. Another suitor who was interested earlier this month is bowing out this time, too, per NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (video link). This may be a common refrain, as Brown is dealing with far more troublesome issues than he was when the Raiders cut the cord.
  • It would be hard to imagine the Redskins pursuing Brown, considering what Jay Gruden saw his brother go through over the summer in trying to manage the mercurial talent, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes the NFC East franchise should not be ruled out. This is the team that placed a waiver claim on Reuben Foster when no one else did, and Florio adds this could be more of a Dan SnyderBruce Allen decision. Foster had been arrested on multiple occasions when Washington claimed him, and it does not appear an arrest is in the cards for Brown. The Redskins are also 0-2 and thin on skill-position talent. For now, the 31-year-old superstar is in the clear to seek NFL employment, though a commissioner’s exempt list stay may be on the horizon if he signs anywhere. That will hurt his chances of playing for another team in 2019.

Draft Rumors: Bush, Redskins, Rams

Let’s round up the latest draft rumors in advance of tonight’s main event:

  • We heard several days ago that the Falcons were interested in trading into the Top 10, and that they had their sights set on defensive linemen like Christian Wilkins and offensive linemen. Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network confirms that Atlanta is indeed interested in moving up, but his sources say the club’s target is actually linebacker Devin Bush (Twitter link). Per Pelissero, the Falcons would need to leapfrog the Broncos, who hold the No. 10 overall pick, to assure themselves of landing Bush.
  • Despite all of the rumors suggesting that the Redskins are interested in making a big trade up into the Top 5, Pro Football Talk says that all of the calls that team president Bruce Allen are making are just an example of Allen being Allen and that Washington doesn’t really have a desire to make a move (Twitter link).
  • Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets that the Rams, who hold the No. 31 overall pick in tonight’s draft, have received a number of calls from teams wanting to trade into the back end of the first round. First-rounders, of course, can be kept under club control for five years instead of four.
  • As Pelissero notes in a separate tweet, the teams that have shown the most interest in trading down from their current first-round slots are the Jets (No.3), Lions (No. 8), Dolphins (No. 13), Seahawks (Nos. 21 & 29), and Rams (No. 31).
  • If Kyler Murray should start to fall down the draft board, he may end up having a better financial future in baseball. As Albert Breer of SI.com notes, MLB’s Oakland A’s have offered him a $14MM “sweetener” on top of the $4.6MM bonus he was already due after the club drafted him last year, for a total of $18.66MM. That number would land between the 10th and 11th overall picks in tonight’s NFL draft, so if Murray ends up falling that far, teams are concerned that he would return to the diamond. But Breer still thinks that Murray will be the No. 1 overall pick tonight.
  • Breer calls Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons the most interesting prospect in the draft. He is one of the top defensive players in his class, but the troubling video showing him striking a woman in high school, along with his ACL tear, have completely removed him from some teams’ draft boards. But there is still a good chance that he will be selected in the first round tonight.
  • The Panthers and Vikings are both very serious about addressing their needs along the offensive line with early draft picks, as Breer notes in a separate piece. Both clubs used a high number of top-30 visits on O-linemen.
  • LSU cornerback Andraez “Greedy” Williams is perhaps the most talented corner in the draft, but as Breer notes, he comes with plenty of red flags concerning his toughness, work ethic, and personality. He did not make a single pre-draft visit, and despite his upside, he could slip out of the first round.

Latest On Redskins’ First Round Plans

There has been plenty of chatter suggesting that the Redskins want to trade up from their No. 15 overall pick in order to better position themselves to (presumably) nab one of this year’s top collegiate passers. Earlier today, we heard yet again that Washington is contemplating a move into the Top 5, and while there was no definitive report as to the club’s hypothetical trade partner, the Jets — who hold the No. 3 overall pick — are allegedly determined to trade down.

Adding more fuel to that fire are several tweets suggesting that Redskins owner Dan Snyder is perhaps even more involved than usual in his club’s first-round selection. Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan hears from a team source that Snyder has “taken over the first round of the draft,” and the last time that happened, Washington surrendered a king’s ransom of draft picks to acquire the No. 2 overall selection in the 2012 draft, which it used on Robert Griffin III (Twitter link).

Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network has a similar report, and he indicates that Snyder “absolutely” has influence on the Redskins’ draft, while team president Bruce Allen also has an important role. On the other hand, senior VP of player personnel Doug Williams has limited input on the team’s picks, and head coach Jay Gruden has even less (Twitter link).

That in and of itself doesn’t mean much, but when put in the context of the RGIII trade, it could serve as a harbinger of things to come tomorrow night (plus, Garafolo’s report obviously doesn’t offer an optimistic view on Gruden’s long-term future with the club, which is an interesting sidenote). However, Mike Jones of USA Today tweets that the Redskins do not feel they can part with their early picks, and if they want to jump all the way up to No. 3, they will have to essentially empty their cupboard of early picks. Jones does note, though, that it’s lying season, so the Redskins’ reported reluctance to part with prime draft capital could be a smokescreen.

For what it’s worth, Paulsen says that Redskins spokesman Tony Wyllie categorically denied the notion that Snyder has taken control of the team’s first-round pick, but it’s his job to quash these kinds of rumors, regardless of their veracity. And regardless of Snyder’s influence on the draft, the Redskins have firmly established themselves as one of the most intriguing teams to keep an eye over the next 24 hours or so.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jay Gruden, Bruce Allen Expected To Remain With Redskins

Several weeks ago, we learned that Redskins assistant coaches were beginning to worry about their futures, as they were uncertain as to head coach Jay Gruden‘s status with the club. But it appears that Gruden will get one more shot. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com writes that Gruden looks to be on “safe footing,” especially given that his team was performing well in 2018 before being decimated by injury for the second year in a row.

Another reason to believe that Gruden’s job is safe has to do with team president Bruce Allen. Washington fired four marketing executives this week, which was a decision that Allen would at least have been involved in. It is unlikely that team owner Dan Snyder would have allowed Allen to make such a move if Allen’s job was in jeopardy, and if Allen is safe, the expectation is that Gruden is safe as well.

John Keim of ESPN.com agrees, and he says that when it comes to Snyder, there are usually some rumblings that a head coach or executive will be fired. Keim indicates there have been no such rumblings to date, and while Gruden will meet with Snyder at some point soon, it seems that Gruden and Allen will be returning in 2019 (Twitter links).

Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky is a different story. Manusky is in his second year as the Redskins’ DC, and if he were fired, his replacement would be the fourth DC during Gruden’s tenure. Rapoport suggests that Manusky, who has been a source of player frustration, is definitely on the hot seat, and Keim tweets that Manusky is the obvious target if the team wants to make a high level coaching change. But Keim also wonders if Manusky, whose locker room support was a major factor in his promotion to DC in 2017, and whom some players still love, is really the problem.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.