Washington Redskins: Offensive Coordinator Candidates If Kyle Shanahan Leaves
With the Washington Redskins concluding the 2012 regular season with the No. 1 rushing attack in the league and the No. 5 offense overall, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has become a hot name for head-coaching vacancies.
After a recent slew of firings, seven teams are now in the market for a head coach. Once the Redskins' season ends, Shanahan will no doubt have an opportunity to pursue other career ventures as interviews are sure to come.
So if Shanahan does leave the Redskins after the postseason, who will fill his spot at offensive coordinator for his father, head coach Mike Shanahan? There's an interesting list of candidates, and here are the top names that could fill the hypothetical vacancy.
The first, and most likely, candidate would be current Redskins assistant head coach/running backs coach Bobby Turner. He's very familiar with the Shanahan game plan, and has even coached Shanahan in Denver from 1995-2008 and stayed through the 2009 season.
Promoting coaches from within the system to coordinator positions hasn't been a trend in Washington, but perhaps now is the time to do so. When a team makes the playoffs, keeping the roster and coaching staff intact is ideal.
You don't want to fix something that isn't broken.
Turner has not held a position of such high caliber in the NFL (he was an offensive coordinator at Purdue from 1991-1994), but with his knowledge of how the Shanahan offensive system works, it wouldn't be hard to imagine him having success as an offensive coordinator.
With experience as an offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers (from 2004-2006), he has found much success in his coaching career. His 2005 Steelers squad won Super Bowl XL, which prompted Arizona to hire him one year later.
His offenses in Arizona were up and down, and got to as high as No. 4 in 2008, leading the Cardinals to their first Super Bowl appearance.
The last few seasons, though, the Cardinals offense has slipped lower and lower down the statistical standings, bottoming out at dead last in 2012.
Not all of that blame can go on Whisenhunt, though. A multitude of injuries left his offense decimated in 2012, which led to his firing.
With the right pieces in place and with a healthy team, he is certain to find success once again. If the Redskins offensive coordinator position were to become open, it would be a question for Whisenhunt on whether he would rather spearhead an already successful offense, or attempt to rebuild another struggling team.
If you paid attention to the New York Jets this season, you know that Tony Sparano's offense was a bit hard to watch, finishing No. 30 in the NFL.
He only spent one season with the Jets before being fired (which may or may not be true via the New York Post), and does not appear to be on any radar for a team that needs a head coach.
He deserves another chance at offensive coordinator, though. He was able to get creative with the Miami Dolphins, running the "Wildcat" formation with a team that was struggling to score, otherwise.
Sparano never real got a chance to see what Tim Tebow could do in a full game for the New York Jets, and much like Ken Whisenhunt, you can't really blame him for his team's offensive struggles.
I'm just throwing it out there.
Art Briles has been the head coach at Baylor University since 2008. As you may already know, Robert Griffin III played for him and the Baylor Bears from 2008-2011.
Earlier in December, it was reported that Briles drew some interest from Texas Tech, but ultimately decided to stay with Baylor. If he's in the market for a high-profile job, then becoming Robert Griffin III's offensive coordinator in the NFL may be his meal ticket to a head coaching position down the road.
It's not likely, but again, just throwing it out there.
Pat Shurmur becomes an interesting name in the pool of coaches looking for new jobs.
This season, he had a lot more difficulty with his rookie backfield (Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson) than the Redskins did in 2012, finishing No. 25 in offense overall.
He was starting to finally improve a miserable St. Louis offense in 2009 and 2010 before accepting the head-coaching gig in Cleveland. Certainly, he will be looking for another coordinator job to rebound from after an unsuccessful head-coaching stint in his first attempt.
If Kyle Shanahan does leave the Redskins, Shurmur would likely be one of the first coaches considered because of his West Coast offense background.
It would be difficult for Mike Shanahan to see his son Kyle part ways with the organization, but the Redskins should still be in a good spot if he leaves.
There are other candidates out there that I didn't mention, but seeing Al Saunders or Norv Turner back with the Redskins would be unimaginable.
Will we see the Redskins make a surprise splash and hire a big name? Will they hire from within? Will it even matter, since Kyle Shanahan is still with the team? Who knows, but for now, it's something to at least think about.
Korey Beckett is a Featured Columnist for the Washington Redskins and Bleacher Report's fantasy football coverage. Like him on Facebook here or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org