Andrew Hamm: the Bipolar Express

Ruminations on theatre, music, and just about anything else that crosses my bipolar brain.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Decision 2008: I Finally Endorse a Candidate

It's a tense and exciting time in Washington.

A second, four-year term of mixed results passes, and we're on the verge of selecting a replacement for the biggest job in town. Big names have come and gone in the quest. There have been several intriguing candidates, with three coming clearly to the forefront as of Tuesday's action.

Yes, things are tense around town, with all three big-time candidates representing strong ideas and some obvious flaws. Whatever decision is made, I'll support the eventual winner. But the time has come for me to make my will known and pick a horse. I don't expect anyone to be influenced by my decision, but I feel a civic duty to make it known. I've had to balance a lot of issues here, most notedly experience versus the ability to inspire.

After much consideration, I am supporting Ron Meeks to be the next head coach of the Washington Redskins.

I would have been very happy with Gregg Williams as head coach, keeping the Gibbs 2.0 regime's core in place. But Williams is gone, taking over the defense in Jacksonville. Steve Mariucci is an intriguing prospect, but doesn't appear likely at this point. I think Fred Thompson threw his hat in the race for a little while, but surprisingly never turned out to be a serious contender.

Which brings us to the big three candidates.

I originally wanted Jim Fassel, and had been a big Fassel supporter for the job four years ago before Gibbs came back. And Fassell could be a fine head coach; Washington is one of the biggest pressure cities in the league, and Fassell's experience as New York Giants head coach certainly has him prepared for that. He's a fine, solid coach. But I want something new; I want the Redskins to be the team that discovers the new hotness, rather than bringing in the same old merry-go-round of established guys.

Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is an intriguing prospect. His defense certainly gave the Patriots offense more than they could handle. But I'm just not enamored of the idea of hiring a first-year coordinator based on his players' performance in one game, even if it was the Super Bowl. No, especially if it's the Super Bowl; players play out of their minds in that game. I don't want to hire somebody based on one game, or even one playoff season.

Which brings us to Meeks, the Barack Obama of this chase. A one-time defensive backs coach in Washington, he knows the scene and is familiar with management. With Dan Snyder or Jerry Jones as your owner, that's extra important. He turned a Colts defense that had resembled a sieve just a couple years ago into one of the league's best last year, with mostly the same personnel. His players would run through walls for him. He's young, he's hot, he's hungry, and frankly, I just have a feeling.

I'll support any of these guys because they'll be wearing burgundy and gold and that's how I roll. All three have the potential to be great coaches. All three have the potential to be huge disasters. Last time we could say that, we were looking at Steve Spurrier.

Please let this not be Steve Spurrier.

EDIT: Spagnuolo is out of the race. He agreed today to a three-year contract worth more than two million dollars a year to stay in New York, making him the highest-paid defensive coordinator in the game.

So it's looking very much like Jim Fassel will be the next head coach of the Redskins. We could do a lot worse.

EDIT: Holy crap, it's Jim Zorn! If I'd had any idea he was in the running, he would absolutely have been my candidate.

Last notable name to jump from QB coach under Mike Holmgren to head coach? Andy Reid of the Philadelphia Eagles. That seems to have worked out pretty darn well.

I'm totally jazzed! This is just the kind of guy the team needs. Can it be that Dan Snyder has actually grown up as an owner with Gibbs at his side for four years?

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