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Washington-Packers Q&A: Evaluating Bill Callahan and Washington’s eventual coaching search

Andrew York of SB Nation’s Washington blog Hogs Haven answers our questions about the team.

Washington Redskins v Carolina Panthers Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

On Sunday, the Green Bay Packers return to Lambeau Field to take on Washington. Andrew York of Hogs Haven kindly volunteered to answer our questions about the Washington and provide some insight into their strengths and weaknesses.

APC: Already in 2019, Washington has undergone a change at head coach, firing Jay Gruden from his post after an 0-5 start. How would you evaluate the performance of Gruden’s replacement, interim head coach Bill Callahan, and what type of coach do you expect the team will hire for the full-time position this offseason?

Callahan is a contrast to Jay. Where Jay ran soft practices and was a “players’ coach”, Callahan is an old-school disciplinarian who forces the players to run wind sprints at the end of practice and has increased the number of padded practices. Where Jay was a creative signal caller who favored the passing game, Callahan prefers a simpler run heavy, smash mouth approach. One positive change implemented under Callahan is an increase in the amount of self-scouting. He’s asked the Redskins pro scouts to sit in on practices and games and give the coaching staff evaluations of our players as an independent check of their abilities and whether or not they’re being used correctly. He’s also brought college referees into our practices to call penalties when they see them in an attempt to reduce the number of penalties in games. However, he doesn’t seem to be as good of a gameplanner as Jay, nor is it clear if he has any influence on the defensive side of the ball. Callahan has also struggled with in-game decision making, like when to use timeouts or challenge a call. Overall, I think he’s done fine as an interim head coach, but I don’t think he deserves the job full time.

In terms of who the team will hire, it’s tough to say because we don’t even know who will be making the decision. The team has had a vacant GM position for 2 years, and although Team President Bruce Allen has been the de facto GM, there’s a decent possibility that changes this offseason. If Bruce Allen is making the pick, then it will probably be someone he knows from his time in Tampa Bay. Owner Dan Snyder reportedly tried to trade for Mike Tomlin (a Tampa Bay connection) as soon as Jay was fired, but the Steelers weren’t interested in his offer. The team could make another run at Tomlin in the offseason. Redskins VP of Player Personnel Doug Williams has a close relationship with Todd Bowles, so he is another possibility. If I were to make the pick, I’d try hard to get Gary Kubiak. He’s a proven Super Bowl winning head coach and an offensive guy who’d be able to provide stability for our rookie QB. If not him, I’d look to a young and rising DC like Matt Eberflus or Robert Saleh and follow a Bills style rebuild, focusing on the defense (which is the strength of the team from a personnel perspective).

We’d like to thank Andrew. Be sure to check out the rest of our Q&A session with Hogs Haven over the course of the week as well as our Q&A session over there. As always, keep your internet machines tuned to Acme Packing Company this Sunday for our comprehensive game-day coverage of Washington versus Green Bay.