Ben Kotwica became the first official change to Jay Gruden’s coaching staff. Unlike the reported dismal of Torrian Gray as the Washington Redskins’ defensive backs coach, Kotwica wasn’t fired and granted permission to talk to his new employer, the Atlanta Falcons. It appears he won’t be the last.
According Chris Russell of 106.7 the Fan, offensive line coach Bill Callahan and defensive line coach Jim Tomsula both want out from Gruden’s staff.
“I was told (last week) that there were three coaches specifically,” Russell said. “And I’ve been reporting about [Bill] Callahan wanting out and [Jim] Tomsula wanting out, and the third coach was Ben Kotwica.”
“This does not surprise me in any way,” he added. “What I was told at the time was they are done, they are tired of the three-ring circus. They don’t want to be here. It is not fun for them. It is not enjoyable for them. It’s going nowhere. They understand the politics. They understand the culture, in that there is none, and they understand how acrimonious and smoke-filled that building is. Period.”
Callahan has guided the Redskins’ offensive line since 2015. In his time, he has revamped the reputation of the offensive line behind three studs, Trent Williams, Brandon Scherff, and Morgan Moses. His work is seen in how they’ve plugged pieces along the line such as Jonathan Cooper at left guard, Tony Bergstrom at right guard, and the development of Chase Roullier at center.
However, injuries over the course of two seasons has halted their progression and the team’s inability to settle on a clear-cut running back. Still, Callahan is respected and has a great reputation. He built the Dallas Cowboys offensive line to being viewed as arguably the best in the NFL during his three seasons there. Some argue the Cowboys’ line hasn’t exactly been as dominant since he left for Washington.
A former head coach, who took the Oakland Raiders to Super Bowl XXXVII, if Callahan was able to get out of Washington, the chances are he will be sought by teams with an opening.
Tomsula too is a former head coach. He wasn’t as successful as Callahan, but he has a great reputation for developing defensive lines. Since arriving to Washington in 2017, he has been able to rebuild the Redskins’ defensive line with the addition of Matt Ioannidis, Jonathan Allen, and Daron Payne.
The Redskins allowed 4.5 rushing yards per carry in back-to-back seasons, and were gashed by opposing rushing attacks late into the season. However, blame of those issues may point more so to the lack of gap filling by the second level of the defense.
Like Callahan, Tomsula is respected around the league and could garner attention from other teams.
The Redskins’ culture has been questioned by plenty in recent years. No one will argue that the franchise has become a circus, especially under the Bruce Allen regime. A series of questionable personnel decisions, the news report leaks, and a lack of play-making culture setters, has marred the organization under Allen.
Players like DJ Swearinger and Zach Brown have voiced their frustration of how things have been run in Redskins Park, including practices. Swearinger’s criticism got him cut, and Brown appears to have fallen out of favor of Redskins’ brass. Even former players have questioned how the team operates.
Callahan and Tomsula along with Kotwica and Gray all should have helped Washington out of its mediocrity. However, a toxic culture highlighted by a lack of a effective leadership can override a strong collection of coaches.
Gruden is returning as the head coach of the Redskins next season, and Allen appears to be still in the building although apparently in a new role. Not to mention Snyder is still the team’s owner. And that may be enough for some within the organization to want out.