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No, it’s not--maybe

No, it’s not--maybe

It looks like I may have spoken too soon.

The train that seemed to be racing towards the hiring of Jim Fassel to be the next head coach of the Redskins appears to be running out of steam. In fact, it may have become derailed altogether.

Usually, a story like this unfolds in predictable stages over a 24-36 hour period. The media reports that a particular coach is a "strong candidate" for the job, then that the team "is expected to hire" that person for the job. Next you hear of a job offer and then, usually, a contract being signed.

The Fassel story made it up to the expectation stage on Wednesday afternoon, but it stopped there. You could tell from listening to John Riggins on the radio and from following Jason LaCanfora's blog throughout the afternoon that each of them was very tempted to use a stronger term and say that Fassel was indeed the man.

But nobody could get a confirmation strong enough to go with it.

And, apparently, there were good reasons for that. It could have been that the "team and league sources" were misreading the information that they were getting about the situation or perhaps Dan Snyder simply changed his mind and decided to slow down the process.

Whatever the reason, the expected announcement of Fassel's hiring did not come Wednesday afternoon. It did not come that night. Sentences in the stories on the Post website and on ESPN.com were rewritten to characterize Fassel as a "strong candidate", but no longer the expected choice, not even the front runner.

There also were reports yesterday that Jim Zorn, Seattle's QB coach, and Rex Ryan, the Raven's defensive coordinator, were going to be part of the coaching team as offensive and defensive coordinator, respectively. It's been confirmed that Zorn was flown in for an interview, but he left without agreeing to take the job (if, indeed, it was offered). It's unclear if the Redskins have actually talked to Ryan. Apparently he was not fired when Brian Billick was canned and he remains under contract to the Ravens, who want him back as their DC.

There are reports—or rumors—that the Redskins will wait until after the Super Bowl and talk to Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. That would mean it would be a week into February before this situation gets settled.

There still is a chance that Fassel will be tabbed, but the longer we go the lower the chances are that this will happen. Take my handicapping for what it's worth, but I'd say that right now there is a one-third chance that it will be Fassel, one-third that it will be Williams, and the rest to the field, which includes Spagnulo and, perhaps, Ryan.

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The Final Countdown: Eli Manning goes deep for the Redskins 7th worst play of the year

The Final Countdown: Eli Manning goes deep for the Redskins 7th worst play of the year

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. 7 worst play of 2016

Giants at Redskins, Week 17

4:02 left in Q4, Giants ball 1st and 10 at their own 31, game tied 10-10

Eli Manning pass deep left to Tavarres King pushed ob at WAS 25 for 44 yards (Will Blackmon).

Related: The Redskins week that was

Tandler: It looked like the Redskins were on the verge of saving their season. They were down 10-0 in the third quarter but they battled back to tie it up in the late going. But after lulling the Redskins defense to sleep with running plays and short passes, Manning launched one deep down the left sideline. King, who had one reception for six yards on the season coming into the game, had a step on cornerback Greg Toler and he hauled in the pass for 44 yards. Four plays later Robbie Gould kicked a 40-yard field goal to give the Giants the lead.

More Redskins: Offensive coordinator situation set?

Finlay: In a terrible game that led to many more questions than answers for the Redskins, this play was just a huge, huge disappointment. Washington fought back to tie up a game that they had largely been outplayed in, particulrly in the first half. Remember, the Giants had nothing to play for while for the 'Skins, a win would put them in the playoffs. The New York offense was laregly nonexistent in the second half of this game, as it became obvious Eli Manning did not want to get hit. And still, the embattled Redskins defense gave up a long pass play to a dude that had contrbuted basically nothing all season. 

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown


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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Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Mike Shanahan likes Kirk Cousins, both as a person and as a quarterback. The former Redskins coach has made no secret about that. Luckilly for the 'Skins, especially with Cousins staring at free agency, Mike Shanahan is no longer coaching in the NFL.

His son Kyle, however, seems highly likely to take over as San Francisco 49ers head coach. And soon.

Kyle Shanahan currently serves as the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, and once their playoff run ends, most expect Shanahan to be named Niners head coach. 

Why should Washington fans care? Allow ESPN's Adam Schefter to explain:

Kyle Shanahan is set to become the San Francisco 49ers' head coach after Atlanta's season ends. San Francisco needs a quarterback as much as any other team in the league. If Cousins is available, the 49ers would pursue him as hard as they've pursued Shanahan.

Even if Washington tags Cousins, San Francisco could attempt to pry him loose in a trade with a package that could include this year's No. 2 overall draft pick. And if Washington doesn't want to deal now, it could have issues later.

This news should not be a shock to Skins fans, but it should be taken seriously. Remember, Kyle Shanahan was part of the Washington organization when Cousins was drafted and the duo worked together in 2012 and 2013. Most quarterbacks would love to run Shanahan's No. 1 ranked offense from Atlanta, and the guess here says Cousins would probably jump at the opportunity. 

Still, much must be worked out.

While some in the Washington front office might have questions about what the long-term value should be in a Cousins contract, the team still has some control. They can place the franchise tag on Cousins this season, like they did last season, and work until mid-summer on a multi-year deal. Or Cousins can again play on a franchise tag in 2017, like he did in 2016 and passed for nearly 5,000 yards.

MORE REDSKINS: Kevin O'Connell to be hired as QB coach

What makes Schefter's report the most interesting is the mention of the No. 2 overall pick. Observing the Redskins in 2016, it became obvious the team needs more impact players on defense, and with the second overall pick combined with their own 17th pick and eight more after that, that could deliver an immediate boost. 

Whatever boost a package of draft picks might bring in will be hard pressed to match the production of Cousins. Finding a starting quarterback in the NFL is exceptionally hard, and while Cousins has shown flashes of a special player, he has certainly confirmed he is a capable player in two seasons at the helm of Jay Gruden's offense.

Scot McCloughan and the Redskins brain trust have a few more weeks before free agency, and with it, the deadline to again place the franchise tag on Cousins. It's nearly impossible to see a scenario where Cousins hits the open market this season, but if the No. 2 overall pick comes into play, other scenarios start to seem more possible. 


Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN 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!