Daniel Snyder, Washington Redskins Owner: “Redskins fans deserve a better result. We thank Mike for his efforts on behalf of the Redskins. We will focus on what it takes to build a winning team, and my pledge to this organization and to this community is to continue to commit the resources and talent necessary to put this team back in the playoffs.”
Bruce Allen, GM: “We are going to take a smart, step-by-step approach to finding the right coach to return the Redskins to where we believe we should be. We will analyze accurately and honestly all of the decisions that were made over the past year."
Mike Shanahan was given time for a final press conference. That is a pleasant, classy difference from Snyder's petulant dismissals in the past.
Shanahan thanked Snyder for the opportunity. He made reference to the salary cap sanction, "It affects depth," and said the issue is now behind the team. The Redskins are better off than four years ago, said Shanahan. Then he thanked the sports reporters in the room for their professionalism under "trying circumstances." "I made friends here," said the coach.
He took no questions. It was a classier moment than recently seen from the Shanacamp.
Multiple reports say that Shanahan's entire staff has been dismissed along with Shanahan. That's not an unusual outcome although the sweep is breathtaking.
UPDATE: Per ESPN's John Keim, the Redskins retained seven assistant coaches whose fate rests with the new head coach. Jim Haslett and Raheem Morris are among the temporary survivors.
The Vikings fired head coach Leslie Frazier this morning, but retained for the moment his entire staff. The Browns fired coach Rod Chudzinski after one season in the job. His assistants have not been informed of their status as I write this.
Assistants' fate are typically in the hands of the next head coach, who bring in their own staff. The new guy surrounds himself with assistants he knows well and who understand his schemes and the talent needed to run it. Coaches travel in packs.
In 2008, Snyder kept most of Joe Gibbs' staff except OC Al Saunders. Snyder followed a strategic plan authored by Jim Fassel to move to the West Coast Offense. Fassel touted Jim Zorn as the new coordinator.
Zorn was turned down for a similar role with the Seahawks, where he is a Sonny Jurgensen-type cult figure. He might have grown into the role under Fassel. Snyder and Vinny Cerrato did not follow-through with Fassel for reasons they've never explained. (The "Fire Fassel" fan revolt may have had something to do with it.)
Zorn won the role by default when every other candidate targeted by Snyder turned down the opportunity.
Mike Shanahan came with his own staff. Snyder is offering the same clean slate to the next candidate.
The fact that Redskins.com published a statement by Bruce Allen suggests a continuing role for him in the front office.
Online fan poll on http://t.co/Gir56VKFSG, 60.8% of fans prefer 'Rising star NFL assistant' for next Redskins head coach.— Anthony Brown (@SkinsHogHeaven) December 30, 2013
Raheem Morris is said to be an interview target for head coach. It's good when teams have built-in Rooney Rule candidates. It's just good leadership to have management bench strength who knows the team, organization and culture.
Morris has issues, however. His defensive secondary did not distinguish itself in a division with talent-starved secondaries. He relates well to "youngry" players, but Tampa Bay promoted him to head coach before he was ready for the role. He could not coach the team out of a losing streak, not unlike the Redskins' situation. Tampa Bay replaced him with a college coach, Greg Schiano, who they believed would bring needed discipline.
Morris is more likely to find an intervening step as coordinator than head coach. He is a Bruce Allen guy.
The Redskins, meaning Bruce Allen, scheduled a press conference for 2:00 PM today.
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