WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of candidates for the Washington Redskins coaching job more than doubled in a single day, with the team reaching out to as many as five NFL assistant coaches.
The Redskins are also setting up an interview with Vanderbilt coach James Franklin, bringing the total of known candidates to 11 — enough to field a team.
Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said he was contacted by the Redskins on Monday and several media outlets reported that defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, and San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt also were contacted Monday by Washington through their various teams, with the Redskins making the cursory requests for permission for an interview.
None of the five was available last week under NFL rules because their teams were preparing for first-round playoff games. The Bengals were eliminated on Sunday, so Gruden and Zimmer are free to pursue head coaching opportunities immediately. Roman, Fangio and Whisenhunt can be interviewed this week, but they cannot be hired as long their respective teams remain alive in the postseason.
The competition could be intense. The Redskins are one of five teams seeking a head coach, and several of their candidates have been approached by other teams. Gruden alone has drawn the interest of the Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans and Detroit Lions.
"They're all different and they're all looking for something unique," said Gruden, who also interviewed for multiple head coaching jobs last year. "They're looking for somebody to come in and bring something different than what they had. But like I said earlier, I think the most important thing when you go to any interview is to be yourself and not try to be somebody you're not."