Remember when Washington traded 2 3rd-round choices in 2001?

Remember when Washington traded multiple picks for Marty Schottenheimer?

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This 2022 offseason the Washington Commanders have traded two third-round draft choices (one most likely to become a second-round choice) to the Indianapolis Colts for quarterback Carson Wentz.

Another time Washington traded for a big name, also giving up two third-round choices was in 2001. That was so long ago, I was still in my late 20’s.

To launch the new year (2001), owner Daniel Snyder had a big announcement for January 3. Sure enough, Washington had traded two third-round choices to the Kansas City Chiefs. Whom did Washington get in return? 57-year-old new head coach, Marty Schottenheimer.

After leading the Cleveland Browns to consecutive AFC Championship game losses in the 1986 and ’87 seasons, Schottenheimer coached the Chiefs (1989-1998), leading the Chiefs to the AFC Playoffs 7 times and the AFC Championship Game once (1993). His last season as head coach of the Chiefs was 1998 when he resigned after going 7-9 (his only losing season in KC).

The next two NFL seasons found Schottenheimer at ESPN providing NFL commentary. When Washington owner Daniel Snyder came calling, to hire his new head coach, Kansas City was owed compensation, so Washington sent its 2001 and 2002 third-round picks to the Chiefs.

The Chiefs selected Marvin “Snoop” Minnis (77 overall) in 2001 and traded the pick which became Lamar Gordon (84 overall) in 2002 to the Cardinals. Minnis a receiver out of Florida State only experienced the NFL for two seasons, catching 34 passes and one touchdown. Gordon bounced around playing on four teams in five NFL seasons, starting only 15 games while rushing for three touchdowns.

Schottenheimer came in running a tight ship, a grueling training camp and several veterans were not pleased, Jeff George seemed to provide no team leadership, the team started 0-5 and Marty abruptly cut George.

Washington rebounded winning 8 of their final 11 games, finishing 8-8. What had started as a disaster ended well. Or did it? Snyder then determined he needed to hire a GM to handle personnel and limit Marty to coaching the football team. Marty and Snyder did not agree on this, and Marty was fired after only one season in Washington.

 

 

53 years ago today: Washington head coach Vince Lombardi

On this day, 53 years ago, Vince Lombardi made history.

It was 53 years ago today in Washington football history Vince Lombardi appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated March 3, 1969.

Lombardi appearing in coat and tie, the cover read, “Vince Lombardi Puts a Legend on the Line.”

Lombardi in Green Bay had turned things around instantly with a 7-5, 1959 team, the first winning Packers team since Curly Lambeau’s 1947 (6-5-1) team. All Lombardi accomplished in his nine seasons with Green Bay was a winning season each year, an 89-29-4 regular-season record, 3 NFL Championships, and the first two Super Bowl Championships.

Retiring on top, following 1967 season, Lombardi was an executive with the Packers in 1968 and miserable.

Hired by the Redskins in 1969, Lombardi at his first press conference proclaimed, “Gentlemen, it is not true that I can walk across the Potomac River—not even when it is frozen.”

Washington had been 5-9 in 1968, and had last enjoyed a winning season in 1955 (8-4), long before any of the Redskins Lombardi inherited. There were however three future Hall of Famers: Sonny Jurgensen, Charley Taylor and Chris Hanburger.

Sam Huff returned for the 1969 season, having come out of retirement to play one season under Lombardi. Lombardi promised in that first press conference, “We’re going to have a winner the first year!”

Indeed Lombardi was a winner, leading Washington to a 7-5-2 record in his only season in Washington. He was diagnosed with colon cancer June, 1970, and died September 3, 1970, only age 57.

A few more excerpts quoting Lombardi in the SI issue:

“I’m not a legend, because I don’t want to be a legend. One main reason I came back to coaching is that I didn’t want to be regarded as a legend…I’m too young to be a legend.”

“Now a good coach is a good coach. Right? If you take all 26 coaches in pro football and look at their football knowledge, you’d find almost no difference. So if the knowledge isn’t different, what’s different? The coach’s personality. See?” He paused, then laughed—arararararargh!—and said, “Now how am I supposed to explain my own personality? What am I supposed to say? That I’m a great leader? A mental powerhouse? That I’ve got charisma?”

“You cannot be successful in football—or in any organization—unless you have people who bend to your personality. They must bend or already be molded to your personality.”

“I believe a man should be on time—not a minute late, not 10 seconds late—but on time for things. I believe that a man who’s late for meetings or for the bus won’t run his pass routes right. He’ll be sloppy.”

“I just heard the other day about a kid I used to coach in high school. I heard he’s in trouble. I heard he’s drinking, doing a lot of heavy drinking… Lombardi rubbed the three-diamond setting in his huge Super Bowl ring and he said, “It’s corny and it’ll sound awful in writing, but you just feel bad when you know you couldn’t get through to a kid like that.”

 

Commanders TE Coach Juan Castillo meets the media

New Washington tight ends coach Juan Castillo met with the media this week, and we learned a lot about the veteran coach.

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Replacing a successful predecessor is not an easy task. Juan Castillo’s calling now is to replace former Washington TE coach Pete Hoener who retired last week at the age of 70.

Castillo met with the media via Zoom and as always, there were some interesting tidbits that were revealed.

Castillo began in the NFL with the Eagles in 1995 as a quality control coach. He studied under offensive coordinator Jon Gruden.

Next Castillo was promoted to TE Coach w/Eagles in 1997

Castillo moved back to offensive line w/Eagles from 1998-2010.

Castillo was with current Washington tight end Logan Thomas in Buffalo (2017-18) coaching the offensive line and as running game coordinator. He noticed Thomas’ hard work and talent when Thomas was transitioning to TE from QB.

Castillo has coached 27 years in the NFL —only one coaching tight ends.

Brian Mitchell and Castillo were together with the Eagles (2000-02).

Darrell Green and Castillo were college teammates at Texas A&I, now Texas A&M Kingsville.

Ron Rivera and Castillo met in 1999 coaching the Eagles.

Castillo is aware that he’s the only new coach this season and believes he is to earn the respect of his fellow coaches and players by working hard, not by vocally demanding their respect.

Spanish being his first language, he and Sammis Reyes met and conversed via Spanish.

Castillo has watched some tape and noticed TE John Bates really worked at his blocking.

Castillo has a son in Arlington, employed by the Department of Commerce, and another son who earned a full scholarship to law school at the University of Maryland.

Andy Reid, Ray Rhodes, John Harbaugh, Sean McDermott, Matt Nagy and now Ron Rivera are NFL head coaches who hired Castillo to their coaching staffs.

Castillo has not coached TE specifically since 1997 with the Eagles.

 

Washington Football Team makes another significant hire

The Washington Football Team made another historic hire on Wednesday when the team announced it had hired Natalia Dorantes as the

The Washington Football Team made another historic hire on Wednesday when the team announced it had hired Natalia Dorantes as the coordinator of football programs.

Dorantes will report directly to head coach Ron Rivera and work with the coaching staff and the front office in a chief-of-staff role.

Dorantes originally connected with Rivera in February when she messaged him during the annual NFL’s annual women’s forum to introduce herself and thank him for his support of women in the NFL.

The 26-year-old worked with Texas A&M before coming to Washington as a director of recruiting. Rivera said he spoke with Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher and NFL senior director Sam Rapaport before hiring Dorantes.

“This is kind of new ground for us because I’ve never had a ‘chief of staff,'” Rivera said, per Washington’s official website. “So I needed a person that’s gonna be able to interact with coaches, with coordinators and may have to say, quite honestly, ‘No, I don’t think Coach wants that,’ or ‘No, Coach doesn’t want that,’ you know what I mean?”

Before going to Texas A&M, Dorantes worked for the NFL.

Dorantes is the first Latina in NFL history to serve in this capacity. In her new role, she will handle several roles from scheduling practices to personnel meetings, among other things.

Redskins coach Ron Rivera discusses NFL Draft, Amari Cooper and QB competition

Rivera hopped on a video call with media members on Tuesday to discuss the upcoming draft, free agency moves, and much more.

Washington Redskins head coach Ron Rivera sat down on a video conference call with media members in Washington, discussing his time so far this offseason after joining the Redskins. During the call, Rivera discussed the challenges he’s faced so far due to the coronavirus pandemic, and how the team will best navigate the road ahead as they get ready for an unprecedented virtual NFL Draft.

Rivera also discussed the several free-agent signings that the Redskins made, including one they didn’t make, in Amari Cooper. For all of the best sound bites and quotes from Rivera’s press conference, follow along below.

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Former Redskins coach Greg Manusky lands college job as quality control assistant

Manusky has landed a small-time job in college after being fired as the defensive coordinator for the Redskins.

Many of the former Washington Redskins coaches have been forced to look for work in the past few months, as a new coaching staff followed Ron Rivera to the nation’s capital.

We’ve seen people like Jay Gruden, Kevin O’Connell, and Bill Callahan land safely with other NFL teams, but not everyone was able to find such a nice position after being fired by the Redskins. Former defensive coordinator Greg Manusky has finally found work, but it’s no longer in the NFL, and no longer as a DC.

According to NBC Sports Washington, Manusky has agreed to become the next defensive quality control assistant at the University of Kentucky. This is a head-scratcher, as that position is usually held by a young coaching prospect who is looking to make his way up the coaching ladder, not a former NFL player and coordinator who has spent years in the big leagues.

There were certainly strong arguments to be made against Manusky finding another NFL job, as his defense ranked in the bottom five of the league when it came to points and yards allowed in 2019. The Redskins since overhauled their defensive staff and are looking for a better outcome in 2020.

As for Manusky, it looks like he will have to prove himself at the college level once again before he gets any serious looks from an NFL team.

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Redskins officially hire Jennifer King as offensive coaching intern

The Redskins have officially made Jennifer King the first full-time African-American female coach in the NFL.

The Washington Redskins have officially hired Jennifer King as a coaching intern, set to work with the offensive staff through the offseason and into the fall.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, King will specifically assist Randy Jordan, the RBs coach, and work with the likes of Derrius Guice, Adrian Peterson, and Bryce Love.

The Washington Redskins are making history in the NFL with the hiring of King. She worked as a coaching intern under Ron Rivera in 2017 with the Carolina Panthers and is now the first full-time African American female coach in the league and the fourth woman overall.

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Report: Redskins to hire first black female assistant coach in NFL history

King spent time with Ron Rivera as a coaching intern with the Panthers in 2017, and she could find a way onto the Redskins staff in 2020.

The Washington Redskins could be making history in the NFL, as a report has surfaced that they plan to hire Jennifer King to the coaching staff. King, who worked as a coaching intern under Ron Rivera in 2017 with the Carolina Panthers, would be the first full-time African American female coach in the league, and the fourth woman overall.

According to The Athletic‘s Rhiannon Walker, two sources have said that King will be joining the Redskins coaching staff this year after spending 2019 as an offensive assistant with Dartmouth College.

King’s first chance to coach at the NFL level came during the 2017 Pro Bowl, when Rivera, the Carolina Panthers coach, met her and brought her on as a coaching intern from rookie minicamp in May to preseason games in August.

Hines Ward, head of football development for in the Alliance of American Football, brought her to the Arizona Hotshots as the assistant wide receivers coach. She was the third female coach in the league and the only one on the offense.

It’s unclear what position King would coach in Washington, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see her assume the role of an offensive assistant under Scott Turner’s lead.

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History indicates that Ron Rivera’s ‘coaching prime’ will be with Redskins

Many successful NFL coaches find success with their second team, which bodes well for Rivera’s takeover with the Redskins.

When it comes to head coaches in the NFL, most of them age like a fine wine. That’s not to say that some can’t be great in their early years as the top-guy on a coaching staff — look at Kyle Shanahan, Sean McVay, or Mike Tomlin — but most coaches start to find their groove a bit down the line.

In fact, it is usually on a coach’s second team where he really finds the sweet spot, and success starts to reveal itself. Take Andy Reid, or Bill Belichick, for example. Reid spent 14 solid years with the Philadelphia Eagles, but it wasn’t until he came to Kansas City where he finally got a Super Bowl ring this season with the Chiefs. For Belichick, arguably the greatest coach of all-time, four of his first five years as a head coach with the Cleveland Browns were major disappointments. Of course, he’s found great success with his second team, winning six rings with the New England Patriots.

This all bodes well for Ron Rivera, who is moving into his second head coaching gig in the NFL with the Washington Redskins. Rivera spent eight years with the Panthers, winning two Coach of the Year awards and making it to the Super Bowl 50 against the Denver Broncos.

Now, having that experience of success, with the addition of learning from his mistakes after being fired near the end of the 2019 season, Rivera will be able to start fresh in Washington and hopefully build a winning team with the Redskins.

If history is any indication, his coaching prime is on the way.

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Steven Sims Jr. can become highly successful under new OC Scott Turner

Turner had great success in Carolina when fitting his gameplan to a player’s talents, which bodes well for Sims’ increasing role on offense.

One of the biggest issues for the Washington Redskins over the past several years is their inability to match the offensive scheme with offensive personnel. While the talent on the roster may have been able to play things out one way, the offense was often catered to a different type of playstyle.

With Kevin O’Connell as the play-caller in 2019, that started to change a little bit, and we will likely see is continue under Scott Turner, the Redskins’ newest offensive coordinator.

In his brief time as the OC with the Carolina Panthers, Turner was able to take the same problem and find a solution that fit his personnel. One of the best examples of how he did so regards wide receiver Curtis Samuel, who is a dynamic player when he gets the ball in his hands. Before Turner took over the play-calling duties, Samuel was often sent on deep routes where he could gain separation from the defense, but the quarterback was unable to get him the ball. Turner switched the mentality of the offense to get Samuel the ball out of the backfield and let him do what he does best — make people miss.

“He understands where his players win,” RotoWorld’s Josh Norris said of Turner, via NBC Sports Washington. “If they’re not getting the ball enough, [Turner] seems willing to draw up plays each and every week to get his players the ball.”

It’s hard to think of anyone other than Steven Sims Jr. when trying to picture who will benefit the most from Turner’s addition to the coaching staff. Sims is a bit of an anomaly, as he was the last player to make the team in 2019 after being signed as an undrafted free agent, and his talents on the kick-off return team impressed the coaching staff so much that they gave him a role in the offense. After getting him the ball a few times in the quick passing game, Sims showed how special he can really be, finishing his rookie season with over 300 yards receiving and four touchdowns.

We started to see O’Connell gameplan around Sims a bit near the end of the 2019 season, as he tried to get the ball to him in space and let the rookie go to work. It was highly successful. Now, we will get a chance to see Turner continue down the same path with Sims in year two, and hopefully help him realize much more offensive success.

Who knows, he may just turn Sims into the next Curtis Samuel.

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