Redskins Rumors

Redskins Hire Jeff Zgonina

  • Former 49ers defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina will join Ron Rivera‘s Redskins staff, with Washington announcing he will be added as its assistant D-line coach. A former 17-year NFL veteran, Zgonina broke into coaching midway through the 2010s as an assistant D-line coach. The 49ers let him go after the 2018 season, his second with the franchise.

Redskins Interviewed O'Connell For OC

  • Before deciding to reunite with Scott Turner, Ron Rivera interviewed 2019 Redskins offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell for the job, J.P. Finlay of NBC Sports Washington notes. Rivera was interested in former Giants HC Pat Shurmur for OC, but he declined the interview and opted for the Broncos’ play-calling job. O’Connell landed on his feet as well, becoming the Rams’ offensive coordinator.

Redskins’ Case Keenum Doesn’t Expect To Return

Case Keenum is headed towards free agency and he believes he is headed elsewhere in 2020. 

I have no idea. I would say probably not,” Keenum said (via NBC Sports’ JP Finlay). “I can’t tell the future though.

The Redskins, in all likelihood, will move forward with 2019 first-round pick Dwayne Haskins as their starting quarterback. One-time starter Alex Smith‘s status is up in the air, but his contract will remain on the books regardless. That leaves little available cash or playing time potential for Keenum.

I feel like I played really good football. I know the wins and losses didn’t show it,” said Keenum, who went 1-7 in eight starts. “I’d love another shot to play in this league. So if there’s another chance, another opportunity out there, I’m not sure where that might be, I don’t take these things lightly. I’m going to go compete and make myself better this offseason and hopefully and be ready for whatever team might come calling.”

Keenum, who has suited up for seven different teams in eight different years, will likely add another jersey to his collection this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Reuben Foster

Reuben Foster is hoping to return to the field after suffering a torn ACL, LCL, and MCL. But, in addition to those injuries, the Redskins linebacker was also dealing with nerve damage that left him without feeling in his toes for the last several months, agent Malki Kawa tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. On the plus side – there have been signs of improvement.

He’s got feeling in his toes, the underside of his foot, the side of his foot,” Kawa said. “The nerve is starting to fire again.”

Kawa is hopeful that Foster can participate in training camp this summer, but there’s no set timetable for his return. In the meantime, Foster is hoping that stem cell treatment and sessions in hyperbaric chambers will help him return to his old form. The road to recovery won’t be easy, but Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith also came back from the dreaded “drop foot,” so it wouldn’t be unprecedented.

He’s regaining feeling and power,” said Kawa. “It shows the nerve is firing. When he moves his leg upward, he can feel around the ankle and the top part of the foot. That’s a new thing. The next 60 days are going to be big as far as getting back to normal.”

If the controversial linebacker can retake the field this year, it’ll be a major lift for the Redskins’ front seven under new head coach Ron Rivera.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins Announce 16 Coaching Hires

New Redskins head coach Ron Rivera had already brought in new coordinators on both sides of the ball (Scott Turner on offense, Jack Del Rio on defense), and he’s now filled out the rest of his staff. Rivera and Washington announced the following 16 hires earlier today:

  • Pete Hoener, tight ends
  • Jim Hostler, wide receivers
  • Randy Jordan, running backs
  • John Matsko, offensive line
  • Drew Terrell, assistant wide receivers
  • Travelle Wharton, assistant offensive line
  • Ken Zampese, quarterbacks
  • Chris Harris, defensive backs
  • Sam Mills III, defensive line
  • Richard Rodgers, assistant defensive backs
  • Steve Russ, linebackers
  • Brent Vieselmeyer, assistant defensive backs
  • Luke Del Rio, offensive quality control
  • Ben Jacobs, assistant special teams
  • Vincent Rivera, defensive quality control
  • Todd Storm, offensive quality control

Both Hostler and Zampese have both previously served as offensive coordinators. Hostler was the 49ers’ OC for a single season in 2007 under head coach Mike Nolan, but was fired after only one year at the helm. Zampese, meanwhile, was the Bengals’ offensive playcaller in 2016 and part of 2017 before being let go. He’s since coached for the Browns, the AAF’s Atlanta Legends, and the University of Florida.

Unsurprisingly, a number of new Redskins coached worked under Rivera in Carolina, including Hoener, Hostler, Matsko, Terrell, Wharton, Mills, Rodgers, and Russ.

Poll: Which NFL Team Made The Best Hire?

This year’s head coaching cycle came and went in a flash. The Redskins, Cowboys, Panthers, and Giants moved quickly to find their new sideline leaders and the Browns weren’t far behind as they filled their vacancy on January 11th.

Now that the dust has settled, we want your take on the best hire of the bunch:

Ron Rivera, RedskinsThe Panthers axed Rivera in early December, just before he could finish his ninth season at the helm. Quickly, the Redskins identified him as their top target to take over for interim head coach Bill Callahan, who had been holding down the fort since Jay Gruden‘s midseason dismissal. The Panthers struggled in 2019 without one-time MVP Cam Newton under center, but Rivera comes to D.C. with an impressive resume that includes four playoff appearances, three NFC South titles, and a Super Bowl appearance. The Redskins, meanwhile, haven’t been to the big game since their Super Bowl XXVI victory over the Bills following the 1991 season. Or, to put it another way – more than five years before quarterback Dwayne Haskins was born.

Mike McCarthy, CowboysDuring the season, many speculated that the Cowboys would make a splash by luring former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer out of retirement. Instead, once the Cowboys finally fired Jason Garrett, they restricted their search to experienced NFL head coaches. Only two candidates formally interviewed for the job and McCarthy got the nod over longtime Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. McCarthy clashed with Aaron Rodgers down the stretch in Green Bay, but he’s also credited with grooming him into one of the league’s top quarterbacks. The Cowboys are hopeful that McCarthy can have a similar impact on Dak Prescott’s development.

Matt Rhule, PanthersThe Panthers backed up a Brinks truck to hire former Baylor head coach Matt Rhule. Rhule is credited with turning around the Baylor program and, before that, the Temple program. Despite his lack of pro experience, teams have been eyeing him for the last couple of years. He was also hot during the last cycle, but a would-be deal with the Jets was nixed when Gang Green insisted on picking his assistants for him. This time around, Rhule had all the leverage he needed to get full control over his staff, and a lucrative contract that could pay him anywhere between $60 and $70MM.

Joe Judge, GiantsThe Giants were infatuated with Rhule, but they were only willing to go so far. They were also blown away by Judge, who previously served as the Patriots’ special teams coach. Judge didn’t have the household name value of other candidates, but the Giants see him as someone who can handle the New York press and get the most out of young QB Daniel Jones.

Kevin Stefanski, Browns: Stefanski joined the Vikings in 2006 and climbed the ladder to become the team’s offensive coordinator midway through the 2018 season. In 2019, Stefanski’s first full season at the helm, the Vikings ranked as a top-10 offense in points while the the trio of Dalvin CookAlexander Mattison, and Mike Boone cracked the top six in rushing yards and touchdowns. Meanwhile, Kirk Cousins turned in one of his best seasons yet. The Browns have one of the game’s most promising young QBs in Baker Mayfield and a talented backfield group, so they saw Stefanski as a perfect fit, even though the Vikings came up short in the round.

Cast your vote below (link for app users) and back up your choice in the comments.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins Promote Kyle Smith To VP Of Player Personnel

The Redskins continue to shake up their front office. Washington has promoted Kyle Smith to vice president of player personnel, per a team announcement.

Smith, who served as the Redskins’ director of college personnel for the past three seasons, will assume the role that Doug Williams held before his recent reassignment to a non-personnel position. When new Washington head coach Ron Rivera spoke to reporters at his introductory press conference, he spoke highly of the club’s last three draft classes, which Smith oversaw.

Smith, 35, has spent 10 seasons with Washington and has long been mentioned as a future GM candidate. In his new role, he will oversee both the college and pro personnel aspects of the front office.

Recent reports have indicated that the Redskins will seek a new GM after the draft, though JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington suggests that, if Smith performs well over the next few months, Washington may forego such a hire and move forward with its present structure.

Smith, the son of former Chargers GM A.J. Smith, has received high praise from Rivera — who worked with the elder Smith during his time with the Bolts — and Redskins owner Dan Snyder.

“Kyle Smith has put in the work over the last 10 seasons and has proven to be a skilled talent evaluator,” Snyder said. Rivera added, “I have been impressed with Kyle’s track record and player evaluation process, and I’m confident in the vision we share for the future of the Washington Redskins.”

Redskins Rearrange Front Office

Ron Rivera continues to make changes in Washington. In addition to the Redskins parting ways with football operations vice president Eric Schaffer, they will reassign another key front office executive.

Previously working as the Redskins’ senior VP of player personnel, Doug Williams will move out of a personnel role but stay with the team. Williams will now work as the Redskins’ senior vice president of player development, reporting to Rivera.

The former Super Bowl MVP played a key role in shaping recent Redskins rosters, doing so under Bruce Allen as the franchise separated from GM Scot McCloughan. But Rivera and a to-be-determined GM (who will likely be hired after the draft) will now be atop the team’s decision-making structure. Former Panthers exec Rob Rogers will be in that picture as well.

Rogers will join the Redskins as their senior VP of football administration. Rogers handled negotiations for the Panthers and managed the cap; he was with the franchise for all 25 years of its existence. Also heading up the Panthers’ analytics department, Rogers marks an interesting addition to the Redskins given his lengthy tenure in Charlotte.

Washington’s plan did not initially include parting ways with Schaffer, whom Mark Maske of the Washington Post reports was being tabbed to remain a key front office presence (Twitter link). However, that was contingent on Rivera being comfortable working with the 17-year Redskins exec. Schaffer will likely be with another team soon.

The Redskins are also promoting Malcolm Blacken to senior director of player development, where he’ll work with Williams, per ESPN.com’s John Keim (on Twitter). Blacken served as the Redskins’ director of player development for six years; Rivera will keep him in a familiar capacity.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins, Eric Schaffer Part Ways

The Redskins and Senior VP of Football Operations Eric Schaffer have agreed to mutually part ways, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Schaffer spent nearly two decades with the club and was initially expected to stay, even after the hiring of Ron Rivera and the departure of Bruce Allen

Schaffer is well-respected around the league and Rapoport hears that he has already garnered interest from several other teams. Known to be an ace negotiator and a salary cap guru, he probably won’t be out of work for long.

Even Mike McCartney, the agent for Kirk Cousins, was quick to lavish Schaffer with praise after word broke:

Schaffer will be a terrific asset to whichever NFL team hires him,” McCartney tweeted.

In other Redskins news, Rivera hired old friend Scott Turner to be his offensive coordinator earlier this week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Draft Rumors: Lions, Giants, Dolphins

Here’s the latest NFL Draft buzz from Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller:

  • Miller would be positively stunned if the Bengals don’t draft LSU quarterback Joe Burrow No. 1 overall and the Redskins don’t grab Ohio State defensive end Chase Young with the No. 2 pick.
  • With that in mind, Miller feels the draft truly starts at No. 3 overall, where the Lions pick. Sources tell Miller that they’ll look heavily at Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah and Auburn defensive lineman Derrick Brown. Then again, it’s a prime trade-back spot – teams like the Dolphins, Chargers, and Panthers could move up to land a QB.
  • Unless new head coach Joe Judge sways him in a different direction, Giants GM Dave Gettleman is expected to look at edge-rushers, left tackles, and wide receivers with the No. 4 pick. “He can’t help himself with linemen, so slot your top-rated offensive tackle there,” one scout who previously worked with Gettleman said. Alabama’s Jedrick Wills Jr. and Georgia’s Andrew Thomas rank among the top tackles in this year’s crop.
  • No team has done more work on Oregon’s Justin Herbert than the Dolphins, who own the No. 5 pick and two more selections later on, Miller writes. The Dolphins will almost certainly go QB here, then shift their attention to offensive tackle, edge-rusher, and running back help.
  • The same source who tipped Miller off to the Cardinals‘ love of Kyler Murray last year says they’re wild about Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb. But, internally, they also feel that the offensive line need is too big to overlook.
  • The Raiders, with two picks in the first round, are looking to go defense and wide receiver, Miller hears.
  • The Bills are already nervous about other teams leapfrogging them for wide receivers, Miller hears. The Bills own the No. 22 overall pick and nine total selections in the draft.
  • The Patriots are impossible to read, but none of Miller’s sources believe that they’ll draft a quarterback early on. Tom Brady has vowed to continue playing, but he’ll also explore his options in free agency.