With the Redskins officially firing coach Jim Zorn in an e-mail that came through the pipes at 7:46 a.m. ET, the clock is now ticking on the announcement that Mike Shanahan will be the new head coach.
But despite the best (albeit clumsy and misguided) efforts of the team to pre-comply with the Rooney Rule, an e-mail announcing that Mike Shanahan is the next head coach has not arrived 114 minutes later, like it did when Bruce Allen became the G.M. less than two hours after Vinny Cerrato vamoosed.
For starters, it’s still unresolved as to whether the Redskins will be required to interview at least one minority coach now that the job finally is vacant. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported on Sunday that secondary coach Jerry Gray will have to be re-interviewed after Zorn is fired. (Given that the league office previously has declined to comment on whether the Redskins will be required to interview a minority candidate after firing Zorn because Zorn had not been fired, we’ve asked the league for a comment, now that Zorn has been fired.)
Regardless of whether the Redskins can hire Shanahan without interviewing Gray or another minority candidate after Zorn’s termination, we suspect that the league office has suggested that the Redskins refrain from moving with the same speed that characterized the departure of executive V.P. of football operations Vinny Cerrato and the arrival of G.M. Bruce Allen.
More importantly, we think that Shanahan will continue to be coy, in the hopes of attracting more teams to the table and/or squeezing more cash out of the Redskins. Indeed, ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who widely is regarded as having a hotline to Shanahan, writes that “the focus will now shift to whether Redskins owner Daniel Snyder can do enough to lure [Shanahan] to Washington,” and that Snyder “covets” Shanahan.
In other words, Snyder had better be ready to pay the man.
Though Schefter has reported that Shanahan isn’t interested in Dallas (which surfaced one day after FOX’s Jay Glazer reported that Dallas isn’t interested in Shanahan), it makes sense for Shanahan to wait for a week to monitor the outcome of Saturday night’s rematch of the Week 17 game between Philadelphia and Dallas.
If the Cowboys get blown out by the Eagles, Dallas coach Wade Phillips could be fired — and Shanahan might suddenly look a lot more appealing to owner Jerry Jones.
Meanwhile, other jobs might unexpectedly open up this week, now that the regular season is over and the Redskins will be openly courting Shanahan.
So Shanahan has all the leverage, and there’s no reason not to use it.