City Desk

Cheap Seats Daily: With Zorn Gone, the Redskins Can Get Back to Hiring Father/Son Combos?

We now know who the previous Redskins coach was: The Skins fired Jim Zorn.

And, with the 16-game preseason schedule for the 2010 season over after that loss to the San Diego JV, today we'll find out who the next Skins coach will be.

Everybody still says Mike Shanahan is really coming to town. By the time I hit the send button on this load, given the growing buzz, he might already be here.

I remain dubious. Sure, Shanahan rode John Elway the way Red Pollard rode Seabiscuit, who had a face sorta like Elway's, but couldn't hit the winner's circle without him. And Elway ain't coming here. Shanahan's also  an anti-climax to the fan base. He won't sell any tickets, and Dan Snyder needs somebody to sell tickets. He needs a surprise. And a Jumbotron.

But I read one simple sentence over the weekend that made me dubious about my dubiousness. This from the Houston Post:

Texans offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan could join his father, Mike Shanahan, in Washington.

Hmmm. I'm no Mike Leach, but if I've learned one thing about football, it's this:  If you want to work with your dad, get him to coach for Dan Snyder. Ever since Snyder took over the Redskins, coach after coach has hired his son shortly after taking the job. You can look it up. Well, you don't have to look it up, actually, because I already did look it up:

Marty Schottenheimer, Snyder's first head coaching hire, got the family plan going by naming his son, Brian, as the quarterbacks coach right after coming to Redskins Park. Brian had never coached in the NFL before coming here for the 2001 season. Marty also got Snyder to pay his brother, Kurt Schottenheimer, as defensive coordinator.

But after just one season with Redskins Park serving as Schottenheimytown, as Jesse Jackson would call it, along came Steve Spurrier—and Steve Spurrier Jr.

Little Steven, who hadn’t had any coaching job in the NFL before he started cashing Snyder's checks, was receivers coach for both of Dad's disastrous seasons (2002 and 2003).

Spurrier Sr. left after stocking up his and Junior's bank accounts with Danny Dollars, so Snyder brought Joe Gibbs back in 2004. Gibbs said during his reintroduction speech that the main reason he got back into football from NASCAR was to jump-start son Coy Gibbs' coaching career. Coy Gibbs had never coached football at any level — he served as something called "lower assembly specialist" for Joe Gibbs Racing before his father came back to Redskins Park. But Coy got put on Snyder's payroll with the title "quality control specialist-offense." And so much for the career jump-start: Coy got out of football in 2007 and took another job Daddy created for him, running a motocross team for Joe Gibbs Racing.

But the bring-your-son-to-work scheme lived on at Redskins Park even after Coy Gibbs' departure. Right after Al Saunders, he of the 700-page playbook, came in as Gibbs' offensive assistant in 2006, he got the team to hire his son, Bob Saunders. Lil' Bobby had also rode Dad's coat-tails all the way to the bank when Al Saunders was on the Kansas City Chiefs staff.

(AFTER THE JUMP: Gregg Williams brings in his youngster, too? Why didn't Jim Zorn put some more Zorns on the payroll? Does Bill Cowher's all-daughter brood leave him unqualified for the Skins job? Did the nepotism work out well for Dan Snyder? Does anything work out well for Dan Snyder? Has hiring the son ever worked in the NFL? TV exec kills off Redskins broadcast, and fans celebrate? What's going on with reachforthewall.com?)

Gregg Williams' son, Blake Williams, was brought in as an offensive intern. (Jim Zorn's only son, Isaac Zorn, is still in high school, and we now know his dad lost his job before he came of age.)

The nepotism binge hasn't paid any dividends for Snyder: None of the coaches on the family plan left here as winners. It hasn't worked for anybody else, either. For folks who think the Shanahans' arrival means another Lombardi is coming to Ashburn: I looked at the coaching staffs of all Super Bowl winners and couldn't find a single father–son duo. The closest I came was with Weeb Ewbanks, head coach of the 1969 champion New York Jets, who had son-in-law Charlie Winner as linebackers coach.

So, again, I'm not feeling Mike and Kyle. But Bill Cowher's only got daughters.

***

How far have the Redskins fallen? Well, via the FiveToolTool (and wasn't that Alfonso Soriano's nickname?): The Skins were banished by at least one station in the Skins usual viewing market by season's end:

In a move that reflects the nature of the Washington Redskins' season, WVBT Fox 43 had decided not to air Sunday's scheduled 4:15 p.m. game between the Skins and San Diego Chargers and instead televise the crucial NFC East clash between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys.

This is the first time in memory that the Redskins have been pre-empted on TV in Hampton Roads.

Bruce Rader, sports director at Fox 43, said he suggested the change when Fox switched the Eagles-Cowboys game from 1 p.m. to 4:15.

At the Old Dominion men's basketball game Wednesday night, Rader explained his reasoning.

"Honestly," he said, "the Redskins are just unwatchable."

Rader told the Virginian Pilot that the station got "almost 150" emails after announcing the station would be jettisoning the Redskins. How many were pro-Skins?

"About five," he said.

Asks the Tool: "Redskin Fan, is this the lowest moment of the Snyder Era, or were the past few appearances on national television more degrading?"

***

I thought from the beginning that the Washington Post's launch of reachforthewall.com, a site dedicated only to competitive swimming, was a silly waste of sports resources. So I surfed over there last night, for the first time since its launch, to see how still the waters were — and everything looks pretty still. But I found one horrible/amazing story. 'Course, that story wasn't about the sort of competitive swimming I'd expected to find. Instead, it was a tale of two friends from Denville, NJ, who went to a local pond and came up with an idea even stupider than the launch of reachforthewall.com:

A snippet:

According to local police and the Morris County Prosecutor's Office, [Steve] Savare and an unidentified 37-year-old man visiting him entered the water about 2:45 p.m. in a contest to see who could swim from the shore, under ice, to an open spot in the water and then swim back under the ice.

A neighbor watching the men saw them swim in different directions and become trapped under the ice, Savare about 30 yards from shore and the friend about 6 feet from shore, Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi said.

The neighbor and a family member called 911, then ran to the edge of the lake, broke through the ice, and tried to rescue the 37-year-old, aided by four township police officers who had responded to the 911 call.

The man eventually was pulled to safety and was administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation. He was taken to Morristown Memorial Hospital, where he was in stable condition yesterday, Bianchi said.

Savare had disappeared, and it took a dive team about 45 minutes to find his body. He was pronounced dead at Morristown Memorial Hospital at 6:15 p.m.

No further comment.

***

Full disclosure: I freelance music reviews for the Washington Post.

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  • Comrade Al Gonzales

    So Norv Turner & the Chargers beat the Skins yesterday, & are second seeds in the AFC. Turner, of course, was the first coach Snyder fired, & that team was that last Skins team that had any chance of advancing in the playoffs.

    It all comes down to the kick in Tampa that the Turk brothers screwed up - if the kick had turned into the automatic points it almost always does, then where would we be today?

    Snyder can fire everyone on the team, but until he fires himself, the Skins are going to stink.

    What's the over-under on the new coach? Two seasons? If Snyder's had seven coaches in eleven years, the average is only 1.5 seasons, but that includes the temporary coaches. Two seasons sounds about right.

  • RobShaw

    I think I read somewhere that Wade Phillips' son is involved in coaching with the Dallas Cowboys. So it can't be all bad, right? I hope for JC's sake that he gets to flee this place or that he at least gets some help up front.

  • Comrade Al Gonzales

    Yeah, hearing Jason after the game yesterday - "we learned that we don't want to go through this ever again" - something like that - was sad. I hope Jason gets out of DC & finds a good team. If he doesn't, this offensive O Line will lead to his untimely demise.

  • Comrade Al Gonzales

    Two seasons - I'll bet anybody $20 that the next coach will not last more than two seasons.

  • RobShaw

    Agreed. Two seasons. Maybe three. One to clean house and suck. Two to "build" and suck. Three to realize that everything still sucks and a quick kiss good bye.

  • Pingback: DMV: The Redskins Rumor of the Day | Mr. Irrelevant

  • noodlez

    SHANNY SOME SHIT!

    AFTER ELWAY RETIRED THE BRONCOS UNDER HIS LEADERSHIP WAS A FLOUNDERING MESS. HE IS GOING TO BRING THAT WEST COAST SHIT IN HERE THAT DOESNT WORK IN THE NFC EAST. ESPECIALLY WITH JASON CAMPBELL!

    THEY PLAY PURE FOOTBALL HERE!

    THAT IS WHY ZORN WAS UNSUCCESSFUL. HE CAME IN HERE WITH THAT AFC/NFC WEST MENTALITY.

    NFC IS SMASH MOUTH! RUN THE BALL BEHIND BIG O-LINE, PLAY ACTION PASS WITH STRONG ARM QB AND PLAY GOOD, SOLID HARD-HITTING DEFENSE.

    BUILD O-LINE THRU DRAFT AND FREE AGENCY, PICK UP RB IN FREE AGENCY AND DRAFT TWO MORE QUALITY DB'S.

    HIRE NEW BLOOD! THOSE WITH NEW IDEAS AND WITH SOMETHING TO PROVE.

    RUSS GRIMM FOR COACH!

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