Four days into the Redskins early foray into an offseason full of major questions, intrigue and doubt – Jay Gruden and the Redskins front office have
decided to make a “sweeping change” that we wrote about
It’s only the tip of the iceberg.
The Redskins have decided to fire Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry, defensive line coach Robb Akey, and defensive backs coach and former Giants coordinator, Perry Fewell. The story was
first reported by Jason LaCanfora of CBS.
The Redskins also fired strength coach, Mike Clark, a move first reported by
Mike Jones of the Washington Post
The move is completely understandable for those that blame everything on coaches. I get it. The Redskins were awful across the board in many key statistical categories.
Of course, as everybody knows, talent, lack of depth and injuries were huge factors in the defensive struggles, despite the team winning eight games and 17 over the last two seasons.
Washington was # 28 in yards per game, # 24 in yards per play, # 24 in rushing yards per game allowed and # 27 in rushing yards per play. They were # 25 & # 23 in passing yards per game/per play respectively.
The Redskins were 32
in third down defense, edging out the Detroit Lions, who will play in the playoffs this Saturday. Washington was 46.63% and Detroit finished at 45.45%.
I can give you every statistic in the world. Here’s the bottom-line fact: The Redskins were nowhere near good enough on defense and nothing they tried consistently worked.
I reported several times in this space and on 106.7 The FAN that Jay Gruden ripped Joe Barry in the coaches room after the Thanksgiving loss in Dallas. He was very unhappy about the opening drive with the defense shredded on a quick drive and when you combine that with a few other sequences in that game. Remember, that was the controversial onside kick game and there were
many other curious decisions in that game, that we covered in-depth.
That day, Gruden operated as if he had lost complete faith. He never really regained it.
Gruden wasn’t happy at all how his team started in Arizona, when they surrendered a 15-play scoring drive on the first series, despite numerous opportunities to get off the field on third-and-long.
Gruden was very upset at the drive before halftime in Chicago.
Sunday, against the Giants, the defense struggled in the first half to do anything but survive and then gave up the ultimate go-ahead field goal on a late fourth-quarter drive.
Moving forward, the Redskins have retained Greg Manusky (a former coordinator in San Francisco, San Diego & Indianapolis), Kirk Olivadotti (linebackers) and Aubrey Pleasant (assistant defensive backs).
(Banner/Photo courtesy of Redskins.com)
John Keim of ESPN
mentioned that Manusky is a possible top in-house candidate. I've been told that Gruden and Manusky have developed a very close relationship over the last year and while I'm not sure that he's the favorite, he makes a lot of sense.
There are several big-name possible candidates available for the Skins: As we wrote about on Monday,
Wade Phillips’ is hanging in limbo after Gary Kubiak stepped aside
. His son, Wes, is on the Redskins coaching staff.
Gus Bradley, the former Jaguars head coach and Seahawks coordinator is also an option. He has a direct tie to Scot McCloughan from their time in Seattle together.
Mike Garafolo of NFL Media reports
that Bradley is at the top of the Redskins list.
Rex Ryan was fired as head coach of the Bills almost two week ago and has an outstanding defensive mind, but is also hard personality to manage.
There’s also former Redskins coordinators, Gregg Williams and Mike Nolan, just for a good laugh.
Anybody want Jeff Fisher? Not going to happen. Bruce Allen and Fisher strongly dislike each other.
If Bengals defensive coordinator, Paul Guenther, can be pried from Cincinnati, as Chris Cooley suggested last week, that could be the next choice. DCHotRead.com was told Friday that Guenther is under contract, so that's not happening barring a sudden, massive change with the Bengals.
Hopefully for Redskins fans, the team will hire a miracle worker to solve all communication issues and problems, to be a leader of men and somebody who can fix all of the issues. Redskins fans deserve that.
Because after all, communication and players always being in the right spot, are solely on the hands of the coaches.
One final note for now: This is Jay Gruden’s third defensive coordinator in 3 calendar years on the job. This hire, whoever it is, must be a homerun.
Good luck, Jay. Good luck, Redskins. Sure hope you can find that miracle worker you are searching for.
Chris Russell has covered the Washington Redskins for seven years for multiple media outlets and was a part of the Redskins Radio Network broadcast team for five seasons. He covers the Redskins for Monumental Sports Network (www.DCHotRead.com), WashingtonTimes.com, BreakingBurgundy.com & Warpath Magazine. Listen to Chris on Washington D.C.'s # 1 sports radio station, 106.7 The FAN
You can e-mail Chris at SFTheRooster@Yahoo.com