There are some juicy NFL rumors floating around as the league prepares for its divisional playoffs—one of which could prove ruinous for a team in need of some positive momentum after a disastrous 2013 campaign.
With a handful of teams that finished the season poorly in need of new head coaches, there's plenty of chatter regarding upcoming interviews and potential fits. There are also a couple of interesting reports on that front to delve into.
But a darker rumor surfaced on Monday, Jan. 6 that could have lasting effects on an already beleaguered franchise.
Could Robert Griffin III Be the Real Problem in Washington?
After a tumultuous and highly disappointing sophomore season that ended with Robert Griffin III on the sidelines for the final three games—a healthy scratch—and saw Mike Shanahan and his staff get fired, Washington's blues may just be getting started.
Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post dropped a bombshell on Monday, Jan. 6 when she reported some disturbing rumors regarding RGIII, his teammates and owner Daniel Snyder:
Once, Griffin was an immensely likable, unpretentious kid who was wide open to collaboration. But according to insiders, Griffin’s public campaign to have the offense altered for him was just the tip of his egotism in his second year. Behind closed doors, Griffin had fierce finger-pointing tensions with his wide receivers, and he bragged to teammates that he could procure favors from the owner and influence the franchise’s direction.
Just two days prior to this report, backup quarterback Kirk Cousins expressed his opinion that RGIII would have input on who the next head coach of the franchise would be, as reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, via ProFootballTalk.com:
“I’m sure Mr. Snyder and Robert and those people will have a lot of input as to who the hire is.”
Washington will ____ in 2014.
If true, Washington is in deep trouble.
Having traded up into the No. 2 overall pick of the 2012 draft to land Griffin—giving up two future first-round picks to do so—Washington banked on this kid to become the face of the franchise and lead it to the promised land.
Based on this rumor, it seems clear Griffin is leading his club, but to what end?
Sure, he's a phenomenal player when fully healthy, but he's just the quarterback—not to mention a 23-year-old kid who shouldn't have a say in anything the organization does at this point in his career.
Mike Zimmer Could Finally Get a Head-Coaching Gig
Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer has long been viewed as one of the best coordinators to never be offered a head-coaching position in the NFL.
ESPN's Mike Hill is one of those who can't believe it hasn't yet happened, based on the way Cincinnati's defense has been stellar under his guiding hand:
The defense keeping them in this football game. When is a team going to show the respect Mike Zimmer deserves & gives him a HC opportunity?— Mike Hill (@ItsMikeHill) January 5, 2014
Thankfully, the wait might be over soon, as Adam Schefter of ESPN relayed:
Bengals DC Mike Zimmer is expected to interview this week with the Titans and Vikings, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 6, 2014
Both of the two potential landing spots—Tennessee or Minnesota—would provide Zimmer (or anyone who lands the gig) a tremendous opportunity to turn an ailing franchise around.
Of the two, however, it appears Minnesota would be the most desirable, provided a quarterback and a stellar offensive coordinator were brought in.
That said, Tennessee's defense was much better in 2013, ranking No. 14, while the Vikings featured one of the worst defenses in the league. Being a defensive-minded coach, that could make the Titans an attractive franchise for the hardworking coordinator.
Ken Whisenhunt May Be Headed to Detroit To Coach Matthew Stafford and the Lions
Of the vacant head-coaching positions available, the overwhelming consensus in NFL circles is that the best job to land this offseason is the one in Detroit. Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports is among those with that opinion:
With a roster built to win, Detroit is the NFLs best available head coaching job. Column: http://t.co/MZQkUT4XQO— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) December 31, 2013
It's easy to see why, too. Detroit's roster is loaded with top talent on both sides of the ball—but especially on offense, with Matthew Stafford, Reggie Bush, Calvin Johnson and Joique Bell leading the way.
Therefore, it's not surprising that former Arizona Cardinals head coach and current San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt is being considered the heavy favorite to land the job, according to Schefter:
The Detroit Lions' head coaching job is Ken Whisenhunt's to lose, sources close to the situation told ESPN.
Whisenhunt, the San Diego Chargers' offensive coordinator, and Lions general manager Martin Mayhew spent two seasons as teammates with the Washington Redskins in 1989 and 1990.
Those who worked with Whisenhunt in Arizona are convinced that the former Cardinals head coach is going to impress Lions ownership with his presentation.
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com points out Detroit isn't the only team interested in Whisenhunt's services, too, while confirming Schefter's report that he was favored for the Lions job:
Given the way Whisenhunt guided Arizona's offense, led by Kurt Warner, to the Super Bowl following the 2008 season, and given the way San Diego's offense has surged in the second half of the season and into the playoffs, it's not surprising he's being so heavily pursued.
It appears Detroit must act quick to secure Whisenhunt, or it could be too late.
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