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Fassel in the lead?

Fassel in the lead?

According to multiple reports, former Giants coach Jim Fassel has emerged as "a leading candidate" for the Redskins' head coaching job. In fact, as I type this, Adam Schefter of the NFL Network is saying that the Redskins are "zeroing in" on Fassel as "the leading candidate" for the job.

This development has the message board community and talk show callers and other vocal Redskins fans in an uproar. Actually, that's an understatement; they're in a state of meltdown comparable to that after any Dallas loss. The objections to Fassel are many, but here is a summary of the main ones:

  • The hiring of Fassel would mean that any modicum of continuity would be out the window. Since Fassel is an offensive guy, Al Saunders would be out and Jason Campbell would be learning his seventh offensive system in eight years. And since it's doubtful that Gregg Williams would want to stick around after being passed over for the job, there would be a new defensive guru as well (Schefter reported that the Skins are interested in Rex Ryan, ex of the Ravens, for that job).
  • Fassel was fired as the Ravens' offensive coordinator by his best friend, Brian Billick, during the 2006 season. Billick didn't just take the play calling away from his buddy, he canned him in the middle of October.
  • It's been four years since anyone has expressed any serious interest in hiring Fassel as a head coach. That interest four years ago came from Dan Snyder, who reportedly was on the verge of having Fassel replace Steve Spurrier before he gave Joe Gibbs one more call just for the heck of it. Since then there have been over two dozen NFL head coach openings and the words "Jim Fassel is a leading candidate" has been used in conjunction with none of them.
  • In his final year in New York, the inmates were running the asylum. Fassel lost the locker room at some point and he was unable to find it.

These certainly are valid concerns and, in sum, the negatives may prove to be fatal to a potential Jim Fassel coaching stint. However, it's not all bad news when it comes to Fassel. Here are some pro's to go with the con's:

  • In 1997, his first year as head coach of the Giants, he took a team that the year before had gone 6-10 under Dan Reeves to the playoffs. As NFC East champs with a 10-5-1. With Danny Kannell and Dave Brown at quarterback. Let that sink in for a minute and tell me that the guy isn't capable of a pretty good coaching job.
  • In November of 2000 with his team's season hanging in the balance, he "guaranteed" that his team would make the playoffs. None of this "well, if we compete real hard and fight out there we might be able to get in" stuff. Nope he said they would make it. His players reacted very well to what was both a challenge and a statement of confidence. Not only did they make the playoffs the won the division, earning a first-round bye and home field throughout the playoffs. That is something that the Redskins have not accomplished in 16 years. And they got to the Super Bowl, something that the Redskins also haven't done since 1991.
  • He had a very good record, 54-41-1, until a 4-12 collapse in 2003, his final season in New York. Injuries played a pretty big role in that last ugly season—he had to start Jesse Palmer at QB for three games. Still, the season is on his record so it's a respectable 58-53-1.
  • This is a bit more abstract, but both of the coaches who took their teams to the Super Bowl this year were run out of previous NFL jobs in the same manner as was Fassel. Browns fans were offering to pack the moving van to get Bill Belichick gone and there were parties all over Jacksonville when Tom Coughlin left. That doesn't mean that Fassel will get the Skins to the Super Bowl, but it does mean that other coaches in similar circumstances have done so.

If anyone has any more pros or cons, please feel free to chime in with them.

What's my opinion? I'm not bothering to form one until things begin to firm up here (which means that I could be forming an opinion tomorrow morning, at the rate things are going). I will say that I'm not 100% aboard the continuity bandwagon. I have all the respect in the world for Joe Gibbs, but he's not leaving a juggernaut behind. It's a team that in four years had to put on odds-defying winning streaks to pull out two six seeds. Maybe they need a shake up to push them over to top so that words like "home field throughout" don't seem to have been spoken in a foreign language.

I also think that what the players want is of little relevance. Whenever the boss leaves, the workers in the office want his top aide to take over. It's only natural to want to know what you're getting into, to want to minimize the change. But if someone from the outside gets brought in, people don't quit their jobs or anything like that. They go along, adjust to the new way of doing things and get on with their lives.

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The Final Countdown: Redskins 8th worst play came from a big hit in Arizona

The Final Countdown: Redskins 8th worst play came from a big hit in Arizona

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 8 worst play of 2016

Redskins at Cardinals Week 13

5:13 left in Q3, Redskins ball 2nd and 8 at their own 29, Redskins leading 13-10

Kirk Cousins sacked at WAS 36 for -9 yards (Calais Campbell). FUMBLES (Calais Campbell) [Calais Campbell], RECOVERED by ARZ- Markus Golden at WAS 30. Markus Golden to WAS 10 for 20 yards (Chris Thompson).

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Tandler: The Redskins had survived a rocky start and they were in position to take control of the game after the Cardinals missed a long field goal attempt. But the situation turned abruptly when Campbell blew over guard Shawn Lauvao and hit Cousins, sending the ball flying. Golden scooped it up and returned it to the 10. Three plays later Carson Palmer threw a six-yard touchdown pass to Michael Floyd. That was the beginning of the end of the Redskins’ chances to get a road win that they desperately had to have.

More Redskins: An early look at first-round draft possibilities

Finlay: When the Cowboys opened the game by marching right down the field against the Redskins on Thanksgiving, nobody blinked, as Dallas' offense had been superb all season. When Arizona did the same thing the following week, there was reason for concern. The 'Skins were able to stem the Cards early, and even took a lead, before Campbell bull-rushed his way into the Washington backfield and blasted Cousins. The Cardinals defensive line was hitting Cousins all game, and this play almost seemed inevitable. It would later come out Lauvao was playing through injury, but bigger picture, the Cardinals loss was the first game the 'Skins truly needed and the team couldn't win. The loss dropped Jay Gruden's squad out of a playoff spot, and though the team would eventually inch their way back into contention, in hindsight, losing in Arizona was the first real indicator that the 2016 Redskins would not make the postseason. 

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Dennis Thurman

Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Dennis Thurman

The Redskins are set to interview Dennis Thurman for their vacant offensive coordinator position. Here is a look at Thurman’s qualifications for the job.

Before becoming a coordinator: Thurman played in the NFL for the Cowboys from 1978-1985. Redskins fans may best remember him for trying to break up the “Fun Bunch” celebration in a 1983 game. He played for the Cardinals the last season of his career. He coached the secondary for the Cardinals for two years before going to USC and holding the same job there from 1993-2000. Thurman then returned to the NFL as a Ravens defensive assistant and secondary coach. He moved to the Jets to coach the secondary there before getting promoted to defensive coordinator in 2012.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Note: If you want more complete stats on Thurman’s defenses check out his page on Pro Football Reference. DVOA stats via Football Outsiders. A negative DVOA percentage is better than a positive number. Zero is average.

For players, * designates Pro Bowl selection, + designates first-team All-Pro

2013 Jets (8-8)

Rankings: Yards 5,359 (11th), points 387 (19th), takeaways 15 (31st), 3rd down 38.8% (13th), DVOA -5.6% (12th)
Notable players: DE Muhammad Wilkerson, CB Antonio Cromartie*, S Ed Reed

The Jets traded away their best defender, Darrelle Revis, during the offseason. Wilkerson led a good pass rush as he racked up 10.5 sacks and LB Calvin Pace had 10. It should be noted that head coach Rex Ryan is a defensive-minded head coach and he certainly had influence in what went right and what went wrong on that side of the ball.

2014 Jets (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,235 (6th), points 401 (24th), takeaways 13 (32nd), 3rd down 45.2% (30th), DVOA 3.5% (21st)
Notable players: DT Sheldon Richardson*, DE Quinton Cooples

If you want to know how a team can finish in the top six in yards and in the bottom 10 in points allowed just look at the lack of takeaways and the porous third-down defense. An offense with Geno Smith at quarterback couldn’t keep thinks afloat and Thurman was fired along with Ryan after the season.

More Redskins: Setting the odds on what will happen with Cousins

2015 Bills (8-8)

Rankings: Yards 5,702 (19th), points 359 (15th), takeaways 25 (12th), 3rd down 40.5%, DVOA 8.6% (24th)
Notable players: DE Mario Williams, DE Jerry Hughes

Ryan and Thurman both moved to upstate New York when they were hired by the Bills. This unit ranked fourth in both yards and points the year before Ryan and Thurman arrived and they obviously didn’t maintain that. It didn’t help that 2014 first-team All-Pro Marcell Dareus got into some legal trouble during the offseason and his production plummeted from 10 sacks in 2014 to two.

2016 Bills (7-9)

Rankings: Yards 5,712 (19th), points 378 (16th), takeaways 18 (23rd), 3rd down 40.0%, DVOA 8.0 (26th)
Notable players: LB Lorenzo Alexander*, CB Stephon Gilmore

Former Redskin Alexander had a good year, racking up 12 sacks and making the Pro Bowl but there wasn’t much else to talk about on defense. They essentially spun their wheels and Ryan was fired with a game left and Thurman soon followed him out the door.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.