Now I’m a firm believer that Jim Haslett has gotten a raw deal in Washington as he’s apparently had little say on his coaching staff and the Redskins haven’t been able to use a lot of resources on defensive player acquisition. That being said, I think it is time this offseason for the Redskins to replace Haslett and start fresh (that also means replacing all or most of the defensive staff). While there are plenty of good assistant coach options around the league, (those will be broken down later), one option could be to target a college defensive coordinator, who can maybe bring a different perspective. Here are four top options, though some should be considered long shots. First Up:
*Some local fans may wonder why Virginia Tech Defensive Coordinator Bud Foster isn’t on this list given his defensive success over the years. The simple answer is he doesn’t even qualify as a long shot, as their is no shot of him leaving that Virginia Tech job. He’s been the Defensive Coordinator there since 1995. To put that in perspective, that was Mike Shanahan’s first year with the Denver Broncos and London Fletcher was finishing his Freshman year in college. He’s been offered numerous bigger jobs over the years and he’s never bitten.
-Now most people might look at Grantham as a long shot, and in some ways he may be. He’s the defensive coordinator at Georgia which is easily a top 20 coordinator job in college football (probably top 10). So unless an assistant head coaching title was added to the mix, this would be some what as a lateral move. Grantham is also the type of guy who could get attention at some really good college head coaching jobs that become available around the country. Grantham though has a no penalty stipulation in his contract if he leaves the Georgia DC job for an NFL DC job, so on at least some level it appears he’s keeping his options open in regards to the NFL.
Grantham may also consider the Redskins job in particular given that he is from Virginia and went to Virginia Tech so he has some regional ties to the area, and could view this as the perfect opportunity to come back. He could also possibly see that if he can become a successful NFL DC, he will not only be on the short list for college head coaching jobs, but potentially NFL ones as well.
Grantham is just 47 years old which is pretty young for a coach, but in that time he’s gained a massive amount of quality experience. He started out coaching as a position coach at Virginia Tech under Beamer and eventually Foster from 1990-1995. He then moved on to Michigan State where he coached the defensive line and had one year as an Assistant Head Coach under Nick Saban. Grantham then moved to the NFL where he worked as the Colts under Jim Mora Sr. and Vic Fangio. Grantham once again coached the defensive line, and while Mora and Fangio didn’t run a 3-4 in Indy, those are two coaches who know quite a bit about the 3-4. Grantham’s next job was under Fangio again, but this time they were running a 3-4 under Dom Capers in Houston. He brought the 3-4 with him when he was hired as the Cleveland Browns Defensive Coordinator, under another noted defensive mind Romero Crennel. After his three year stint there, he went to Dallas to be their LB coach for two years under Wade Phillips, before landing the Georgia DC job.
In Grantham’s career he has worked under some of the top defensive minds of the past 25 years both at the collegiate and NFL Ranks. Not only that many of them are 3-4 defensive minds giving him plenty of experience with a variety of styles of that defense (he’s also got some 4-3 experience as well). He could be a strong option to re-energize and bring a creative attacking style to this Redskins defense. It would be a bold move, bringing in a young aggressive defensive coach, but that appears to be what the Redskins need to do. As an added bonus he may look to bring back his assistant, former Washington Redskins assistant Kirk Olivadotti who is his linebackers coach at Georgia. Olivadotti was well liked and respected through a number of coaching regimes in DC, and seemed to always get the most out of players.
-When I first thought about it I did completely rule out Grantham as an option, but the more I thought about it and researched it I could see it happening. If Grantham doesn’t get an offer for a elite college job this year (I don’t see him in the mix for possible openings at Texas or USC, but he could be a replacement if those coaches come from other top schools), he may be interested in some NFL defensive coordinator jobs, to advance his career. He’s got plenty of NFL experience so we know he’s comfortable working at this level, and his more local ties could swing the job into his favor.
Now he doesn’t have any ties to Mike Shanahan or Bruce Allen. He also may want more control with hiring his own staff than Shanahan is willing to give (though any DC that the Redskins would want, would have similar demands). If Shanahan is willing to go outside the box and go with someone he’s not as familiar with and give him full reign of the defense this is a move that could have some sneaky potential. I wouldn’t put the odds too high, but I wouldn’t rule it out like I initially did either.
What do you think? Would you like to see Todd Grantham as the defensive coordinator of the Redskins in 2014?
Check back in the coming days for profiles on other possible replacements!