First of all, Joe Gibbs, you will be missed, but I understand and respect your decision to bow out. It would have been at least two years before we'd have a realistic shot at the Super Bowl, and I know you weren't planning on doing this that long.
So now there has to be a coaching search. By rule. The Rooney Rule. And that's fine, I think it's a great rule, and Mike Tomlin wouldn't be coaching the Steelers right now if it weren't in place. (I hope it goes away eventually, like affirmative action, but right now it's needed.) But Dan Snyder, I'm begging you, just interview someone as a formality and promote Gregg Williams.
Yesterday, Snyder interviewed Jim Schwartz. He's a defensive mastermind, with strong ties to the city of Washington. That's fine - you know who else is a defensive mastermind with strong ties to D.C.? GREGG FREAKING WILLIAMS!!! He has very strong ties with the entire current roster!
It's fine if Snyder wants to bring in as many people as possible to interview; after all, most people do a job better if they feel they earned it, and it wasn't handed to them. And I've been saying for the past year that Snyder has learned a lesson or two about running a football team, and he's not Mr. Go-for-the-Big-Name anymore. He'll listen to people who know about football (and Joe Gibbs will still have his ear), and build an actual team. We still have most of our 2008 draft picks; there's evidence right there.
But if Snyder throws enough money at Cowher to lure him out of retirement, or hires Pete Carroll or some other hotshot, I'm going to throw a fit. And even if he hires a Schwartz or a Rex or Rob Ryan, or Norm Chow, someone who most people think will make a fine head coach, I'm going to be upset, because it will upset the players.
Here's why: No team, office to coaching to offense to defense to special teams, is closer right now than the Washington Redskins. These guys banded together through adversity and made a great, improbable playoff run. And Gregg Williams was in the middle of it. Remember, he's the guy who orchestrated the tribute to #21 by sending 10 men out on defense the first play against Buffalo. This team wants to stay together, but say Snyder hires Cowher. He wants to eventually implement a 3-4. Saunders and Williams both feel like they were treated unfairly and leave - maybe Williams goes to coach Atlanta, maybe Saunders becomes the OC for the Lions. Suddenly, the team that was determined to stick together and win for Sean doesn't feel like it's together anymore. Where some players (i.e. Shawn Springs) might have been inclined to renegotiate contracts to they can afford to keep the team intact, now they might not. And Cowher wants to phase out the guys who wouldn't work in his preferred scheme anyway.
Al Saunders and Gregg Williams can do great things next year - dare I say it, even better without Gibbs. Both coordinators like to be a little more aggressive than Gibbs is inclined, and they might really do some damage. They've worked together for two years now, and ought to remain a good match.
So please, Mr. Snyder, don't blow this team up, and make Gregg Williams your next head coach.