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Redskins Starter: “I hope Manusky gets it.”

January 6, 2017
So the Redskins have officially done what you wanted them to do and are about to solve all of their problems and issues with one magical stroke of genius.

Are you ready? Ta-da!!! Ladies and gentlemen, Redskins fans of all ages – your new savior, your miracle sent from the football gods, the man of your wildest dreams is ………

Oh you wanted me to name somebody? I thought you just wanted somebody with a pulse and a track record. Somebody that didn’t go (0-16) in 2007 or 2008, or whatever year it was. It was so long ago, I hardly remember.

OK, I kid, I kid. It’s a new year and I am trying to take a less combative approach with Redskins fans, because I want you be happy with me. I’m always going to think differently than the common, stale and tired point of view, but it’s time for me to stop being me and instead, serve you better.

On a serious note, the Redskins need a defensive coordinator and the search is wide open. It’s on.

Let’s take a look at some of the candidates and how the race is shaping up:

1 – Gus Bradley - The front-runner from the outside, at least early on, according to my pal Mike Garafolo of NFL Media.

Bradley was fired as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars after four unsuccessful seasons at the helm, but helped build the Seattle Seahawks defense with Pete Carroll and worked as the defensive coordinator for a three-season stint under Scot McCloughan, who was essentially the Seahawks assistant general manager at the time.

2 – Greg Manusky – As we mentioned yesterday and as John Keim of ESPN has also pointed out, Manusky is the top in-house candidate and has a wealth of NFL experience while also knowing the Redskins personnel and scheme the best of any option.

One Redskins player, who will remain anonymous,  told Friday, “I hope Manusky gets it.”

Another player texted Saturday to say about Manusky: "He's fiery as hell. Doesn't put up w (with) any BS. Makes you want to run thru a wall for him." 

3 – Wade Phillips – The odds-on favorite two years ago but somebody Jay Gruden did not want to hire for a variety of reasons. I heard at the time that Jay wanted a coach to be not only more energetic but also somebody that was viewed as more positive and flexible.

Phillips may not be any of those, but he’s obviously had a large track record of success and then went on to win a Super Bowl in his first year back in Denver.

Denver’s defense was nowhere near as dominant this year, losing key pieces like Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan in free agency, and getting shredded on the ground, but Phillips has always had a good pass rush and Denver’s secondary was lights out.

The one thing Phillips has never really had to do? Coach a defense without an elite pass rusher. Ryan Kerrigan is good and at times very good, but I don’t think anybody would consider him elite.

4 – Steve Wilks – The Redskins have requested and have been granted permission to talk to the Carolina Panthers defensive backs coach, who also serves as Ron Rivera’s assistant head coach.

He was Josh Norman’s position coach in Charlotte and helped meld some very young and raw corners this year, along with Kurt Coleman’s emergence. Wilks has plenty of NFL experience, but nothing as a coordinator.

Can the Redskins take a chance with somebody that hasn’t done the job before? In a market that cares about track-record a whole lot more than I do?

5– Rex Ryan – Per Chick Hernandez of CSN Mid-Atlantic, via J.P. Finlay on 106.7 the FAN, Ryan will not be considered by the Redskins. I’m not exactly sure why they would rule him out so quickly other than Ryan is a pain to deal with, but it appears he won’t be under consideration.

6 – Mike Nolan – Was the San Francisco 49ers head coach under Scot McCloughan when they took Alex Smith number one overall. Once had a bucket of ice cream left melting on his desk at Redskins Park, left by Dan Snyder, because he didn’t like a “vanilla” defense.

7  - Mike Pettine - He was interviewed by the Redskins on Monday and somehow, someway - I dropped the ball on him and he was out of sight, out of mind. I think he was for a lot of people too, but that's neither here nor there. The former Rex Ryan assistant without all of the BS tells you part of the Redskins thinking as to why they reportedly wouldn't consider Rex (# 5). Pettine was the Cleveland Browns head coach in 2014 & 2015, but spent all of 2016 out of the NFL. He was with the Jets from 2009 - 2012 and then on to Buffalo for one year (2013) and then was offered the Browns top job. 

Certainly comes from an aggressive background, which is something the Redskins want to be more of. The problem? The Browns were awful under his leadership. He hired Kyle Shanahan and that was a debacle from the start with the people above Pettine and the former Redskins offensive coordinator. His team collapsed in 2014 due to Brian Hoyer's injury. 

This is an intriguing fit for sure and clearly the Redskins have a good level of interest. 

8 – Paul Guenther – We reported early on Friday AM and that has since been reported elsewhere that the Bengals defensive coordinator was under contract and that he was not coming to Washington.

9 – Mike Vrabel – This is a name I keep getting questions about and he is beyond intriguing. He turned down the San Francisco coordinator job last year and has been assisting Romeo Crennel in Houston for the number one defense in the NFL. He played for Bill Belichick and won Super Bowls. He seems fiery and everything you would want, but he’s never been a coordinator before.

He also isn’t available to be interviewed as of now, because the Texans are playing this weekend in the playoffs.

10 – Ray Horton – He’s was fired by the Cleveland Browns for a second time in four years. This is a perfect example of a guy who everybody has a lot of respect for around the league, but has been a victim of very little talent assembled on his side of the ball. 

11 - Ed Donatell - I simply forgot about him and I'm not even going to lie about it. My pal John Keim of ESPN did not. Kudos to him. Donatell is the Bears secondary coach but did interview for the Redskins head defensive job two years ago before re-joining Vic Fangio, who also interviewed with the Redskins and then chose the Bears and John Fox. 

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 (,, & Warpath Magazine. Listen to Chris on Washington D.C.'s # 1 sports radio station, 106.7 The FAN.     You can e-mail Chris at