Washington owner Dan Snyder aggressively pursued former NFL head coaches Todd Bowles and Gregg Williams to run his defense in recent weeks, despite having yet to fire defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, with the scope of his pursuit potentially not portending well for coach Jay Gruden in 2020.
Snyder flew Bowles, an accomplished former safety with the team who was recently fired as the Jets head coach, to the Washington team facility and made a concerted attempt to convince him to take over the team's defense. While the sides did not enter into negotiations, sources said, Snyder was leading this push, not head coach Jay Gruden, and the owner made it clear he would compensate Bowles as well as any coordinator in the NFL and was also willing to alter his personnel structure within football operations if Bowles was interested
As one source with knowledge of the situation put it, "Dan put the full-court press on (Bowles). He didn't want to let him leave. He wanted to know what conditions it would take to get him to stay. If Todd had said, 'I'll only do it if I am the head coach,' I think he may have gone for it."
It was not a good fit for Bowles, who quickly reunited with Bruce Arians in Tampa, with Snyder then quickly turning his attention to another former head coach: Gregg Williams. Williams and Snyder have a strong relationship from his years serving as coordinator there under Joe Gibbs, and his previous head coaching experience, in Buffalo and Cleveland, also made him attractive. The team set up a formal visit and interview with Williams after he was let go as the Browns interim head coach, but the sides never met as he agreed to become the Jets defensive coordinator before the meeting could take place. Manusky remains Washington's defensive coordinator.
The presence of Bruce Allen, whose poor record running football operations as team president has become a focus of scorn in the fanbase and derision around the NFL, has been a detriment to landing coaches, though there have been rumblings about his role possibly changing to business-side only at some point. Gruden was not let go after injuries crippled Washington, limping to a 7-9 finish after a fast start. Should the team fail to make gains in 2019 -- and with starting quarterback Alex Smith in jeopardy of not playing, that is hardly out of the question -- it would not surprise many who know Snyder if he turns back to Bowles and Williams a year from now, for a coordinator position or perhaps much more.