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Instability has a number–30

Dec 17, 2008, 9:17 AM EDT

In yesterday’s post about Jim Zorn, I asked the reader to consider how many changes the Redskins have had at four key areas of the team, the brains of the operation—head coach, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator and quarterback. I decided to quantify that thought and list the men who have held those positions since the start of the 1998 season.

The list has five head coaches, six offensive coordinators (I listed the de facto OC’s, so four of them were head coaches as well), seven defensive coordinators, and 12 starting quarterbacks.

In two games short of eleven seasons, the Redskins have had 30 different men in charge of planning and executing on-field strategy. That’s an average of almost three changes per season.

In light of this, I’ll say that it’s nearly miraculous and a tribute to the players that the team has made three playoff appearances and has avoided a disastrous, 13-loss season in that time frame.

Consider that in a time frame one year shorter the Eagles have had the same men in the same jobs. Since 1999, it’s been Andy Reid as head coach and offensive coordinator, Jim Johnson as defensive coordinator, and Donovan McNabb playing quarterback.

Reid and company went 5-11 in ’99, and then made the playoffs at 11-5 the next year they’ve been in the playoffs six of the last eight years and they advanced to four straight NFC title games. A tiny bit of patience has paid big dividends. I wouldn’t necessarily want the Redskins to do everything like the Eagles do, but there are some lessons to be learned here.

Head coaches

  1. Norv Turner
  2. Marty Schottenheimer
  3. Steve Spurrier
  4. Joe Gibbs
  5. Jim Zorn
    (Please note that it is an official policy of mine not to count interim coaches as head coaches, thus the omission of Terry Robiskie.)

Offensive coordinators

  1. Turner
  2. Jimmy Raye
  3. Spurrier
  4. Gibbs
  5. Al Saunders
  6. Zorn

Defensive coordinators

  1. Mike Nolan
  2. Ray Rhodes
  3. Kurt Schottenheimer
  4. Marvin Lewis
  5. George Edwards
  6. Gregg Williams
  7. Greg Blache


  1. Gus Frerotte
  2. Trent Green
  3. Brad Johnson
  4. Jeff George
  5. Tony Banks
  6. Shane Matthews
  7. Danny Wuerffel
  8. Patrick Ramsey
  9. Tim Hasselbeck
  10. Mark Brunell
  11. Jason Campbell
  12. Todd Collins

  1. dr wnc - Dec 17, 2008 at 10:05 AM

    Rich said: “three playoff appearances and has avoided a disastrous, 13-loss season in that time frame.”
    I took a look at Atlanta, Baltimore and Miami to see how a first year head coach is on the brink or is leading a team to the playoffs. We keep hearing that it’s magic, the right coach and QB combination but looking at the starting lineup, both Atlanta and Miami have built solid offensive and defensive lines the past “ineffective” years where they did achieve the 13 loss seasons. The Redskins have ignored the “trenches” which has prevented the very bad season but has resulted in a level of consistent mediocrity, time to hold the line with core coaches and players and develop the lines.

  2. Rich Tandler - Dec 17, 2008 at 10:12 AM

    The Eagles also build from the trenches out. It think that they do so to an extreme, but it’s been more effective than the Skins going to the other extreme.

  3. Anonymous - Dec 17, 2008 at 11:40 AM

    Rich, if Todd Collins is listed as a QB for the Redskins (only because he played because of injury) then Donovan isn’t the only Eagles QB. He has missed significant time in recent seasons because of injury.


  4. Jeff - Dec 17, 2008 at 12:15 PM

    It’s also worth noting the different men who have been in charge of Redskins personnel policy in that time. Off the top of my head…

    1) Charlie Casserly
    2) Dan Snyder
    3) Marty Schottenheimer
    4) Dan Snyder / Vinnie Cerrato
    5) Joe Gibbs
    6) Vinnie Cerrato

    That doesn’t help consistency, either, especially since these are even longer-term decision makers, and if you look at the list, there’s wildly varying philosophies at work.

  5. Anonymous - Dec 17, 2008 at 12:26 PM

    At what point do we finally start looking at the very top? Dan Snyder, although I like his wallet, has the final say in everything. He has stayed out of the limelight this season, but how long until he loses his patience? As far as I’m concerned, we should still be playing Marty ball.

  6. Jeff - Dec 17, 2008 at 3:00 PM

    Except that Dan Snyder isn’t going to sell the team any time soon. It doesn’t even make sense to waste too much energy complaining about him. He has plusses and minuses, but whatever he does or doesn’t do, the Redskins problems have to be solved by making changes elsewhere.

  7. Chris C - Dec 17, 2008 at 8:18 PM

    Keep the sanity alive Rich! Just give us three years with Zorn and hopefully Campbell and see what happens. I don’t know how many more changes I can survive without going into basket weaving in a mental hospital somewhere.

    Anyway, keep being the beacon of sanity with all these bloggers wanting Colt and Cowher. Thanks! Archives

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