SNIDER: Redskins coaching search already off course

Rick Snider
October 14, 2019 - 12:11 pm
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Reports of Mike Tomlin potentially coming to Washington are nonsense.

The Redskins front office loves to paint sunny skies, but this is a trial balloon lost in a smokescreen. Seeking the Pittsburgh Steelers coach sounds like owner Dan Snyder, who loves big-name coaches. And, having a wish list leaked to show fans he’s serious about improving the team is his typical style.

But Tomlin has a great job with a great organization that appreciates him. The Steelers aren’t trading Tomlin unless he pleads with them to do so. And, why would anyone want to leave one of the NFL’s leading franchises for one of the worst?

This is just a ruse meant to stem the massive bailout of Redskins fans that has eroded the fan base to practically nothing. Tomlin is well-respected leaguewide. Getting him would be an upgrade, but even talk of doing so during the season is disrespectful to the Steelers and Tomlin. If the Redskins want to pursue Tomlin, do so at season’s end. Creating a distraction for the Steelers now does not in any way increase the chances of a trade.

Besides, the Redskins can’t trade a first or second-rounder for a coach on a roster that could use several first-rounders next year to upgrade a team headed for four wins at best. Don’t be fooled by the victory over Miami on Sunday. The Dolphins blew it on the two-point conversion while also stupidly not starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Miami thought it could try Josh Rosen against a bad Washington team and discovered it was a missed opportunity when Fitzpatrick nearly won the game.

A win’s a win, but this was a fool’s gold situation against the NFL’s worst team. The Redskins are looking at a top-five pick in next year’s draft, but they’re not first overall after beating the Dolphins. So, no sense peddling a high pick for a coach when Washington badly needs a left tackle, cornerback or possibly a quarterback.

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Still, Snyder can’t resist looking for a big-name coach. That’s not always a bad thing. Getting Joe Gibbs to return was miraculous even if the architect of the team’s greatest success in his first tour finished with a losing record over four years after returning. At least Gibbs made it to the playoffs twice.

Marty Schottenheimer was a great pickup who probably would have brought great success if left alone. Mike Shanahan was certainly a big name who imploded through his own nonsense. Still, a solid hire. Steve Spurrier was a legendary college coach, but any reasonable vetting process would have exposed the coach as simply wanting to be an offensive coordinator.

Even Jay Gruden wasn’t a bad hire on paper as the next hot coordinator. It just turned out he’s better suited to be a coordinator rather than head coach.

Snyder needs to realize celebrity hunting won’t work. A stable, good front office is what wins, not a big-name coach who has already succeeded and simply cashing in one more time. Find a grinder in the weeds who’s ready for a promotion.

Otherwise, it will be back to coach hunting again in a few years.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks.