Washington ought to consider Meyer as next coach after canning Gruden ... Haskins not a candidate to start now, interim coach says ... Ekeler sets a season-high in receptions ... Jones calls out ‘little darling’ ref
Urban Meyer may want nothing to do with working for Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder. And who could blame him?
But given Snyder’s past infatuation with noted offensive-guru football coaches, it’d make a ton of sense if he were to take a serious run at Meyer — the wildly successful college coach who’s as ‘retired’ from coaching now as Brett Favre was at quarterbacking in early 2008.
Snyder early Monday morning fired his head coach of the past six seasons, Jay Gruden. According to the Washington Post the dismal deed was done at 5 a.m., when Snyder and team president Bruce Allen delivered the wholly expected news to Gruden. Look, when you’re summoned to meet the bosses for a 5 a.m. meeting, it’s just not going to end well.
At 0-5, the Redskins are the last winless team in the NFC.
Only Nick Saban could challenge Meyer as the best U.S. college football coach this century. Both have produced two juggernaut programs in the 2000s — Saban at LSU and now Alabama, Meyer at Florida and Ohio State.
Meyer stepped down from OSU in January after seven transcendent seasons with the Buckeyes, which included one national championship, three Big Ten championships and an 83-9 (.902) overall record. This, after Meyer won two national titles and went 65-15 (.813) at Florida from 2005-10.
He cited health reasons for leaving both jobs. Specifically, intense headaches caused by a benign, non-life-threatening cyst on the membrane that covers his brain.
Meyer now holds some honorary job in the upper trenches of the Ohio State athletic department and, once a week, is visible as an insightful studio commentator on FOX’S college football telecasts. Comfy life. Which the workaholic probably detests.
Every knowledgeable U.S. college football fan and his brother believes Meyer is biding his time until instantly reinvigorating the next slumbering giant of a program on his carefully constructed career path, as he did at Florida and Ohio State. Most money is on Southern Cal. Some believe it’s already a quietly done deal he’ll take over the Trojans in 2020.
Occasionally, however, you hear the supposition that Meyer — having twice conquered the highest levels of college ball — harbours the need to tackle and tame the pro ranks too, before he gets too old. He’s 55.
If true, then presumably it could come down to two things for Meyer, should he be offered the Redskins job.
One: Even if he were granted full, autonomous football power by Snyder, whether he believes he could work for and succeed under the ever meddling, mercurial owner. When Steve Spurrier, Mike Shanahan and six other head coaches since 1999 ultimately couldn’t.
Two: How quickly Meyer believes he could start succeeding there with whichever productive quarterback.
Meyer proved twice at Ohio State — with Cardale Jones in 2014, and with Dwayne Haskins last year — that his spread college offence that typically features a dual-threat QB can indeed be readily amended to showcase a passer whose talents demand mostly pocket passing, and little as a read-option run
Given how so many young NFL QBS nowadays are thriving in offensive systems that closely mirror those in which they thrived as collegians, then what better chance would Haskins have to succeed than in Meyer’s system?
ner, so that he can still succeed no less spectacularly.
Jones took over for injured dual-threat Braxton Miller in 2014 and won a national championship. Haskins succeeded dual-threat J.T. Barrett last season and broke the Big Ten’s single-season passing records for touchdowns (50) and yards (4,831).
Given how so many young NFL quarterbacks nowadays are thriving in offensive systems that closely mirror those in which they thrived as collegians, then what better chance would Haskins have to succeed with the Redskins than in Meyer’s very own (pro-adjusted) system?
If Snyder is so sold on Haskins’ potential in the NFL, as has been reported, and which in my opinion is not unfounded, then it’d make zero sense if Snyder did NOT reach out ASAP to Meyer.
Meyer might be one of the few coaches in either the pro or college ranks with the resume to be able to command from Snyder full football decision-making power.
Until either the Redskins flatly announce that Meyer won’t get the job, or Meyer himself emphatically states he wouldn’t take it if offered, bear all of this in mind in the weeks and months ahead.
For now, Redskins offensive line coach Bill Callahan takes over as interim head coach.
Case Keenum started at quarterback in Washington’s first four losses. He got yanked early in a Week 4 loss to the New York Giants, and Haskins earned his first meaningful time as a pro — and was terrible, throwing three interceptions.
Colt Mccoy started Sunday’s loss to the Patriots, with Keenum out with a foot injury and Haskins back on the sideline in baseball cap.
It’s no secret that Snyder and Allen are super high on Haskins’ potential. Reports now say that duo and Gruden did not see eye-toeye on even drafting Haskins in the first place, let alone how soon the 22-year-old ought to take over as starter.
So, will Snyder and Allen now insist the rookie start right away? No, Allen said.
“It will be up to coach Callahan who plays at any position, the same way it was up to coach Gruden who plays,” Allen told a
mid-day news conference. “We’re thrilled to have Dwayne here. We think his future is very bright. Whatever gives coach Callahan the formula for success I’m sure he’s going to do.”
And for his part, Callahan told a Monday afternoon
news conference he’ll decide between Mccoy and Keenum as Redskins starter for this Sunday against similarly winless Miami.
“We’re still evaluating some medical things with Case. We want to see where he’s at,” Callahan said. “We’re in the midst of those discussions right now.”
Haskins, he added, is not under consideration to start.
“Not right now, but he will be at some point in time. We’re going to continue to develop him and heighten his maturation process, and try to get him on schedule so that he his prepared.”
Allen, whose nearly decade-long tenure as Redskins president has resulted in a 64% defeat rate, took the expected big-picture questions regarding the Redskins’ century-long struggles.
“We’re all involved in this. I don’t ever want to hide from our record,” he said. “All we can do is work.”
Look, if all it took was immense work and effort, then every NFL team would be undefeated, always. All franchises work hard. Only winning franchises work smartly. Typically, they hire smart football people and get out of the way.
Maybe after now firing his eighth head coach in 20 years as owner, Snyder finally will come to that conclusion ... whoever Gruden’s eventual non-interim successor might be.
FIVE FAST FACTS
Buffalo QB Josh Allen leads the NFL with three game-winning drives in 2019 ... The New York Jets offence has advanced into the red zone twice in four games ... Chargers RB Austin Ekeler caught 15 passes vs. Denver, an NFL season-high for all players ... The Colts held the Chiefs to their lowest point total (13) since November 2017 and lowest rush-yard total (36) since December 2016 ... Of season-long QB starters, Dak Prescott and Jacoby Brissett have been sacked the least — six times.
TAKING A KNEE
NFL officiating must be all that bad if mild-mannered Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett — the guy who smiles brightly even seconds after a gut-punching loss — could become so enraged as to say something to a sideline official during Sunday’s loss to Green Bay so incendiary as to earn a 15-yard unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty.
Goodness, if it’s come to that, it’s time for the NFL to take a big-picture look at its rulebook, as it has been hinting at now for years.
For instance, does anyone want to watch a punt play anymore? Pooch punts and constant, nearly unavoidable illegal-blocking penalties (ask anyone who ever has played tackle football at any level) are beyond frustrating.
The pass-interference review threshold is so high as to be superfluous. All those reviews do now is further enrage one team and its fan base even more often than usual.
The NFL’S indiscriminate decision two weeks ago to reduce the number of holding penalties called is another irksome head-scratcher. Literally, just like that, holding calls plummeted overnight. What kind of rulebook governing and officiating management is that?
Coaches seem more frustrated than ever. Players too. Fans too. Even owners.
In reference to the Garrett incident Sunday, Cowboys owner/gm Jerry Jones said of the NFL’S evermore thin-skinned game officials:
“I hope the little darling didn’t hear anything he hasn’t heard before.”
What a mess.
After firing head coach Jay Gruden early yesterday morning, the Washington Redskins would be smart to go after NCAA legend Urban Meyer (inset).