Just about the only pending topic not asked of Mike Shananhan following Sunday's rookie camp practice involved the running back situation. Granted, both the Redskins head coach and Tim Hightower expressed a mutual interest in having the free agent back for the 2012 campaign. Should the team and veteranrunner agree to terms, the backfield would largely be set along with second-year runners Roy Helu and Evan Royster.Then again, the draft has now and come gone and Hightower, who is recoveringfrom a season-ending knee injury suffered last October,remains on the open market. Plenty of time exists between now and the start of training camp - thoughOTA's start this month - so there might not be a calendar issue for the Redskins. Two running backsdrafted in the later rounds of the just completed NFL draft add depth, butthe need for aninside runner remains.However, should another team make Touchdown Timmy an offer he can't refuse - or the recovery period moves slower than expected or the missing cap space stays missing - then what? This recent article on NFL.com ranks Hightower as the top free agent RB on the market, but that distinction is hardly carries an asterisk considering the motley crew. The top-five list also could use a scrubbingsince one listed option signed elsewhere, another one is on the verge of doing the same, another is talking retirement and the remaining two are Cedric "rap sheet" Benson and Thomas "3.1 ypc" Jones.Why Hightower and the Redskins have yet to put pen to paper, unclear. What is incredibly obvious is that the other options are hardly interesting, but some veteran will be added. Considering Shanahan stated rookie Robert Griffin III is his starting quarterback, it would be nice for a more concrete ground game outlook. Click here for more ofBen's take on thenon-Hightower running back options.
The Redskins have conducted interviews with a number of candidates at defensive coordinator, but a new name emerged Thursday morning.
Thurman played cornerback in the NFL for nine years from 1978 to 1986, recording 36 career interceptions in 137 games. The bulk of his playing career was spent with the Dallas Cowboys, but he played his final season with the then St. Louis Rams.
In coaching since 1988, Thurman's coaching career started working with the secondary for the Cardinals before an eight-year run at his alma mater, Southern Cal. From there, Thurman came back to the pros, joining the Ravens coaching staff in 2002 working under Rex Ryan. In 2008, Thurman moved on with Ryan to the New York Jets, and in 2013, was named Jets defensive coordinator In 2014, he went to Buffalo with Ryan to serve as their defensive coordinator when Ryan was named head coach.
In four seasons as a coordinator, two in New York, two in Buffalo, Thurman's defenses ranked no worse than 19th, per Pro Football Reference.
A football lifer like Thurman likely has connections all over the league, but it's interesting to note he has worked with new Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn since 2009. The two were on staffs both with the Jets and the Bills. Another Redskins coordinator candidate Gus Bradley has often been linked with Lynn, though the two have never been on the same staff.
Meeting with Thurman will satisfy the NFL's guidelines to interview minority candidates for coordinator positions. The Rooney Rule, as it was instituted, requires NFL teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching jobs, but only suggests that teams extend the practice to coordinator positions. Washington had set an interview with Carolina's Steve Wilks, but then he was promoted internally to be the Panthers defensive coordinator and the meeting never took place.
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You can strike Redskins offensive line coach Bill Callahan off the list of candidates for the team’s vacant offensive coordinator position.
It’s not a matter of the 60-year-old veteran coach having been passed over by the organization. The simple fact is that Callahan enjoys doing what he’s doing, reports the Washington Post.
“Bill has never been happier in his life,” said Bob LaMonte, Callahan’s agent. What Callahan is doing now is coaching the Redskins’ offensive line and helping in the running game planning. He is well known for keeping the linemen out well after practice ends, schooling them on various techniques and details of their craft.
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LaMonte said that Callahan enjoys working with Jay Gruden and he didn’t rule out the possibility that Callahan may want to take the step up a coordinator job in the future.
Callahan is certainly well qualified for the job. His resume includes 37 years as a coach including seven as an NFL coordinator and two years as the Raiders’ head coach.
The Redskins’ offensive coordinator search still seems to be focused on internal candidates. Quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh is considered to be the favorite, while tight ends coach Wes Phillips could get the promotion, remain with the tight ends, or head west to Los Angeles to join the staff of former Redskins offensive coordinator and new Rams head coach Sean McVay.
In the week since McVay was announced as the Rams’ new head coach there has been little news about the search. The team is also looking for a defensive coordinator after firing Joe Barry two weeks ago. They have announced interviews with four candidates including Rob Ryan and an internal candidate, outside linebackers coach Greg Manusky, earlier this week.