12up Logo12up Logo

5 Potential Coaching Replacements for Jay Gruden in Washington

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 28:  Head Coach Lincoln Riley of the Oklahoma Sooners during warm ups before the game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on September 28, 2019 in Norman, Oklahoma. The Sooners defeated the Red Raiders 55-16. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
Brett Deering/Getty Images

The Redskins finally did what fans have been calling for all season: Washington fired veteran head coach Jay Gruden on Monday morning. After getting spanked by the Patriots on Sunday, and seeing their record fall to 0-5, the writing was on the wall.

Offensive line coach Bill Callahan will step in as the interim head coach, but he's not the long-term answer for GM Bruce Allen and Co. Who is? In this piece, we take a look at five potential replacements for Gruden.

5. Lincoln Riley

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 14:  Head coach Lincoln Riley of the Oklahoma Sooners looks on during the first half of a game against the UCLA Bruins on at the Rose Bowl on September 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Oklahoma v UCLA | Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Though this might seem like a long shot, Riley will be mentioned for every single head coaching job that opens up moving forward. He's a young, stud coach in the college ranks and he's done wonders to the Oklahoma offense. It helps having Jalen Hurts run the show, but still, Riley has been sensational at the helm. After Kliff Kingsbury made the move from Texas Tech to Arizona, more and more coaches from college figure to get more NFL looks. Would Riley consider packing his bags in Norman for our nation's capital? You never know.

4. Eric Bieniemy

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 06: Offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy of the Kansas City Chiefs speaks to his players during pregame warm-ups prior to action against the Indianapolis Colts at Arrowhead Stadium on October 6, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)
Indianapolis Colts vs Kansas City Chiefs | David Eulitt/Getty Images

When you're part of the Andy Reid coaching tree, you're usually going to get some head coaching looks. Just ask Doug Pederson and Matt Nagy about that. Well, the time could be coming for current Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. The KC assistant has taken Patrick Mahomes under his wing and made the team's offense downright explosive. The era of Alex Smith checkdowns sure are a thing of the past. Washington would be wise to pick up the phone ASAP to gauge Bieniemy's interest.

3. Mike Pettine

CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 3:  Head coach Mike Pettine of the Cleveland Browns congratulates head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers after Pittsburgh's 28-12 win at FirstEnergy Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns | Jason Miller/Getty Images

This wouldn't be Pettine's first time as the head man in charge. He was head coach of the Browns from 2014-15, but was fired after his second season when the team went 3-13. However, you can't deny the remarkable job he's done turning around the Packers defense already. This team is stout on his side of the ball, with in-game adjustments being showcased each week this year. Shutting down Dak Prescott in the first half of Sunday's win was exhibit A of the job he's done. In total, the Packers picked off Prescott three times on Sunday.

2. Kevin O'Connell

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - SEPTEMBER 29: Offensive Coordinator Kevin O'Connell of the Washington Redskins calls a play against the New York Giants in the second half at MetLife Stadium on September 29, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Redskins 24-3. (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)
Washington Redskins v New York Giants | Al Pereira/Getty Images

While this may not be the sexy hire fans are hoping for, it could turn out to be a smart one. Kevin O'Connell is in his third season with the organization and first as the team's offensive coordinator. He knows the system and team quite well, and he'll get consideration for the job per multiple reports. If you're Washington, would you really want to let another young coordinator leave town? At one time, Sean McVay, Matt LaFleur and Kyle Shanahan were all on the coaching staff in Washington. Those three are all now head coaches, with a combined 10-3 record this season.

1. Robert Saleh

SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Defensive Coordinator Robert Saleh of the San Francisco 49ers talks with the defensive backs on the sideline during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Levi's Stadium on September 22, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers defeated the Steelers 24-20. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Steelers v San Francisco 49ers | Michael Zagaris/Getty Images

Someone is eventually going to give Robert Saleh his first head coaching opportunity. Why not Washington? Despite being just 40 years old, Saleh's resume is quite impressive. He's been an assistant for the Redskins, Jaguars, Seahawks and Texans in the NFL, while also joining the sidelines at Michigan State, Central Michigan and Georgia. With him serving as defensive coordinator currently for the 49ers, San Francisco is a perfect 3-0 and at the top of the NFC West standings.