Tracking and analyzing the Redskins' coaching staff moves

Tracking and analyzing the Redskins' coaching staff moves
January 17, 2014, 11:30 am
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The Redskins announced one addition and two retentions on their coaching staff yesterday. You’ve probably been busy all week so after all of the activity on the coaching front let’s take a look at where things stand.

Head coach: Jay Gruden, former Bengals offensive coordinator. Trying to set a new tone after last year’s 3-13 disaster is job one. Convincing the players that his experience as an Arena League head coach will translate into competence on the NFL label is close behind.

Offense

Coordinator: Sean McVay—He is thought by many to be a rising star. McVay will be tested by making the leap from position coach to coordinator. While there is great confidence in the organization and around the league that he will be successful we won’t know until he does the job.

Line: Chris Foerster—There have been plenty of complaints about the quality of the line. Many of them are valid but somehow they were good enough to help the Redskins lead the league in yards per play in 2012 and clear the way for Alfred Morris to gain over 2,800 yards in his first two NFL season. Trent Williams has developed into a two-time Pro Bowl left tackle under Foerster, probably the best feather in his cap. Other than Williams, he wasn’t given much talent to work with and has made the best of it.

Tight ends: TBD—Cowboys tight ends coach Wes Phillips interviewed for the position in Thursday. There is talk that a deal is likely to get done but as of now it has not. (Update: Multiple media reports and, most importantly, the Twitter feed of Wade Phillips, Wes' father, have confirmed that Phillips has been hired.)

Running backs: TBD—Some have Earnest Byner marked in here with a Sharpie. Considering he hasn’t interviewed yet—it has been reported that will happen today—that may be premature. It would be surprising if it didn’t happen but it’s far from a sure thing.

Quarterbacks: TBD—No candidates have been reported. Former QB Gruden is likely to have an active role in coaching Robert Griffin III and company.

Wide receivers: TBD—No candidates have been reported. Whoever gets it is likely to have a free agent acquisition and/or a draft pick to integrate into the system.

Defense

Coordinator: Jim Haslett—Certainly the most controversial move—or non-move—of the offseason has been the retention of the defensive coordinator. Were the issues with the defense all on him? Did his unit lack talent? Did Shanahan interfere too much? Time will tell.

Line: Jacob Burney—He is the only coach left on the staff who came to Washington from Denver with Mike Shanahan. In 2011 Burney was given two fairly expensive free agents in Stephen Bowen and Barry Cofield and a second-round draft pick in Jarvis Jenkins. Jenkins missed his rookie year with a knee injury but other than that they all have been healthy. The results from the line have been inconsistent.

Inside linebackers: Kirk Olivadotti—Apparently he wanted to complete the double Redskins head coaches’ grand slam. Gruden will be the eighth head coach under whom Olivadotti has worked under in Washington. In his 11 years in various defense and special teams roles with the Redskins before he left to coach at the University of Georgia the team finished in the top 10 in defense eight times. Certainly that’s not all to his credit but it may not be a coincidence.

Outside linebackers: Brian Baker—The Redskins didn’t go with the inside-outside linebacker designation on their coaching staff when they went to the 3-4 when Shanahan arrived. Baker is a coaching lifer with a strong resume, perhaps he can teach Ryan Kerrigan and, if he stays, Brian Orakpo some more efficient ways of getting to the quarterback.

Secondary: Raheem Morris—It was thought that Morris might be considering other options since his contract was up but his retention was announced yesterday. Another controversial holdover, Morris presided over the weak spot of the defense. We should find out if an upgrade in talent will help.

Special teams

Coordinator: Ben Kotwica—He has just one season as an NFL special teams coordinator under his belt, last year with the Jets. Kotwica has plenty of life experience including seven years in the Army, some of that as an Apache helicopter pilot in Iraq. You can see from this video that he’s about as impressive a man as you could ever meet. As with others with thin resumes at Redskins Park, we’ll have to wait and see how that transfers onto the field.