The Washington Redskins were lightning quick to deny any conversation with Bill Cowher about a coaching position should/when Joe Gibbs step down as coach and team president. Profootballtalk.com carried a story on Monday saying that Cowher was putting out feelers about a return to coaching and the the Redskins were one of three teams he talked to.
I don't think the Redskins were too worried about a post on PFT. However, tampering is different. Cowher is still under contract to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Conversations now, without clearance from the Steelers, is technically tampering.
John Thompson did a call-in on his WTEM radio show about Cowher and the Redskins. In the ten minutes I listened, fans were unanimous that it would be a tremendously good move. It figures that Gibbs-haters would rush the phones to push that thought. It was amazing.
I suspect that either of these two developments drove the Redskins to kill the idea quick.
While contingency planning is good, even prudent, bringing in Cowher would be a disruptive repudiation of what Joe Gibbs is trying to accomplish. It could be a good move long run, but short term will cost the Redskins wins as the franchise adjusts to Cowher players and schemes.
I hope Daniel Snyder has learned by now that building a winning organization is more than bringing the latest "big name" to fix everything. If he is thinking organizationally, the next team president should already be on board, much as Roger Goodell was ready to step in when commissioner Paul Tagliabue retired. Snyder's most important move after team president is to select a general manager with the right background. That person also should already be on board, or already known to Snyder. Only then, and in consultation with the president and GM, after deciding what schemes he wants the Redskins to play, will Snyder be ready to name someone to coach to the scheme.
Know what? The best coaching move is more likely to be a talented coordinator ready to move up than a recycled "big name." Evidence? Ol' Jack Kent Cooke made a brilliant move when he tapped the talented offensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers in 1981 to coach the Redskins**. Who ever heard of Joe Gibbs before that? Daniel Snyder would not have had the moxie to make that move. He works from the bottom up -- players, coaches, front office -- rather than the top down, as he should. The Redskins will be upside-down until he figures that out.
** Ol' Jack tried to duplicate the magic a decade later by tapping the talended OC of the Dallas Cowboys to coach the Redskins, and gave us Norv Turner. Nothing works every time time!
Photo: Dave Bergman/SI