With Mike Shanahan on the outs in D.C., the next question becomes who will be on the ins.
From the moment Baylor announced another extension with head coach Art Briles, speculation intensified that Baylor and Briles hoped to prevent speculation that he’ll reunite with Robert Griffin III. Talk like that could undermine if not destroy a recruiting class.
Now that Shanahan seems highly unlikely to be back next year, Briles already has been asked about whether a jump to the NFL could happen.
“I’ve had zero contact with anybody,” Briles said Sunday night, via WacoTrib.com. “I’m a Baylor Bear — that’s all I’m concerned about.”
That quote became a headline that Briles “plans no reunion” with Griffin. But what college coach is ever candid about his plan?
For college coaches, the plan becomes evident only when the plan becomes implemented. Rarely do college coaches flirt with leaving without leaving. When they do (and it’s not unprecedented), it becomes difficult to persuade teenagers and their parents that the man recruiting them to make a four-year commitment to a given also has made a four-year commitment to that school.
Whether Briles would truly want the job presumes that Washington owner Daniel Snyder would want Briles. While it makes sense to have a coach who had a strong and successful working relationship with Griffin in college, hiring Briles strengthens the narrative that Griffin has too much power and influence over Snyder.
Still, it’s critical that Snyder hire a coach who wants Griffin to be his quarterback. There’s a chance a new coach would say what he has to say to get the job, and then lay the foundation (subtly or otherwise) for getting his own quarterback. The challenge for Snyder will be to find a coach who means what he says when he says he wants Griffin.
Does anyone think Josh McDaniels told the Broncos he’d run quarterback Jay Cutler out of town as the first order of business in Denver? Does anyone think Shanahan told Snyder that Shanahan would provoke a showdown with defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth as the first order of business in D.C.?With Kirk Cousins under contract for two more years, there’s a chance the next coach will prefer Cousins to Griffin.
That’s why it will be critical for Snyder to find a coach who truly wants Griffin. The guy who most likely fits that mold is Art Briles.