ASHBURN, Va. -- There were some well-publicized candidates the last time Dan Snyder went looking for a coach. Jim Fassel, Dennis Green and Ray Rhodes all were interviewed, with Fassel getting more than 12 hours of face time with the owner over three different sessions in what the Washington Redskins claimed were merely preliminary talks.
Four years later, Snyder is once again taking a meticulous approach as he seeks a successor to Gibbs, who . The choice this time could be another surprise -- because the owner's full list of names is still a well-kept secret.
Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and at least one other candidate -- whose name has not been released -- met with Snyder last week. There could other names to surface over the next few days, possibly pushing the process into next week. All of the formal interviews have taken place at Snyder's house, well away from the reporters who have staked out Redskins Park.
Then there's Gregg Williams, who has the title of Redskins "assistant head coach -- defense" and carries home-interview advantage. Players and other assistants have voiced support for Williams, the former Buffalo Bills head coach whose defenses have ranked in the top 10 in three of his four seasons in Washington.
Williams has four times about the job, but that is largely a byproduct of logistics. Coaches who travel from out of town are granted longer interviews, while Williams' sessions have been shorter and not all have been in what would be considered a formal interview setting.
While Williams is a strong candidate, the first week of the coaching search indicates that he did not enter the competition as the slam-dunk favorite -- and that it could be a while before the big news conference that unveils the new coach.
Especially if 12 hours of interviews are still considered preliminary.
Meanwhile, the players who trickle in and out of Redskins Park are watching and waiting and putting in a good word or two for Williams.
"Gregg would be an excellent choice," said middle linebacker London Fletcher, who also played for Williams in Buffalo. "I know how he is as a head coach, as a coach and as a person. He brings a presence."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press