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New coordinator just a first step towards fixing Redskins’ defense

Jan 1, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT


As it turns out coach Jay Gruden did not recommend that Jim Haslett should remain the Redskins’ defensive coordinator. We found out yesterday that he agreed to let him walk out the door.

Although the authority to terminate Haslett’s employment rested with Bruce Allen, the general manager said that let the head coach and coordinator hash things out.

“Jay and Jim had been talking the last few days,” said Allen in his news conference on Wednesday. “This morning, when they were talking, they decided it was the best way for both sides.”

Just remember not to believe what you may hear in a press conference about the future of a coach on the hot seat. The speaker is saying what needs to be said until what needs to be done gets done.

While he was defending Haslett publicly, Gruden apparently decided that after five years the defense needs a new voice. And make no mistake about it, this move is more about getting a new face in the defensive coordinator position than it is about any particular scheme or alignment or defensive play call.

Clearly, Haslett’s message wasn’t getting to the players and it wasn’t inspiring them to play and, just as importantly, prepare at the level needed to be successful. After five years, it happens. The defense for the past five years has been short of mediocre, with the team giving up the third most points, the fourth most total yards and the second most pass yards in the NFL.

It wasn’t going to get any better with Haslett. And it won’t get any better with a new face and voice in charge unless the talent on defense is upgraded. The upgrade needs to bring in players who are faster and more athletic, of course. But for the defense to get better they also will have to find players who love the game and who are willing to do what it takes off the field to be successful on the field.

They have some young players like that, guys like Bashaud Breeland and Keenan Robinson. But they need more. If they don’t find them it doesn’t matter who the coordinator is.

  1. skinsgame - Jan 1, 2015 at 10:29 AM

    It’s discouraging the team didn’t dismiss Chris Foerster and the Raheem Morris. I wonder what it would take to pry a proven GM away from another team? I think this will be Bruce Allen’s last year running things, or at least I hope it will be.

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Jan 1, 2015 at 10:37 AM

      It gets more difficult to attract the best candidates as the glaring dysfunction of ownership becomes increasingly apparent.

    • bangkokben - Jan 1, 2015 at 12:13 PM

      I hope Bruce Allen is successful. Who would want another year like this just to fire Allen??!

      Now, I said hope; not believe.

      • skinsgame - Jan 1, 2015 at 4:28 PM

        That’s very true.

    • polofourme - Jan 1, 2015 at 1:03 PM

      You know we had a great in house candidate for a GM? But when he was passed over for the job by Allen, he jumped ship and went to CLE..I am of course talking about Morocco Brown who left the team last year after having worked his way up the food chain at the Park..he would have been a great GM and he will be a Great GM for some team. He is well respected around he league…and we pushed him out because that buffoon Allen took the job after Shanahasbeen was fired. If we could pry Brown away from CLE with the job as GM, he would be a tremendous acquisition over the idiot Allen…so I would swallow my pride, give Brown whatever he wants, turn the keys over to him and let him get started rebuilding the team….but that will NEVER happen because the worst owner in all of professional sports, by design wants a weak GM. So as long as Snyder has his man, his own private hand puppet who will do his bidding nothing will change no matter how many new coaches we bring in, no matter how many new players we acquire, as long as Allen is in charge of all personnel moves by the team we the fans will be stuck in a continuing version of Ground Hog day…a nightmare with no end..personally I am fed up this team and its owner…

  2. goback2rfk - Jan 1, 2015 at 11:56 AM “QB Index Year End Rankings” has RG3 ranked as the 25th QB in the league out of the 32 Teams.

  3. gurnblanstonreturns - Jan 1, 2015 at 12:06 PM

    Stop some of the madness and end this foolish 3-4 experiment. Hire a young, promising DC and let him work. Don’t worry if the personnel doesn’t fit a 4-3 now – heck, the personnel doesn’t fit a 3-4. Realize that the team is at least a 3 year rebuilding program away from being consistently competitive. Draft, draft, draft. If Morris is promoted, that is more lipstick-on-a-pig from 16 year loser, Dan Snyder. But, most of all – hire a real GM to clean house in the scouting department (and pay for it with some of that stale beer and old airline peanuts money) if more than “winning off the field” is actually the goal.

    • deepball1 - Jan 1, 2015 at 12:26 PM

      unfortunatley the Redskins are NEVER ready to admit that they are a couple of years away from the playoffs, thus they remain even further away from the playoffs. stop trading down and take the Blue Chip player at number 5 and then next year perhaps we get another pro bowl player with the 3rd pick in the draft because this team is likely to finish at the bottom of the NFC EAST yet again with perhaps even less wins.

    • Joe Greene - Jan 1, 2015 at 5:11 PM

      The personnel, at least DL personnel, does fit the 4-3 right now.

      • rtcwon - Jan 2, 2015 at 12:10 PM

        There is not a single 4-3 DE & only two DTs on the roster. But hey, if enough people repeate it, it must be true.

        • Joe Greene - Jan 2, 2015 at 4:35 PM

          Kerrigan and Murphy are both natural 4-3 DEs that already weigh in the 260-265 range. Cofield and Hatcher are stud 4-3 DTs and Baker clearly fits the role of short yardage run stuffer. Kearse is also a guy who can play 4-3 DE. But, go ahead and pretend you know things. Bring back Orakpo on the cheap and you’ve got another guy who is a natural 4-3 DE.

  4. brucealmty - Jan 1, 2015 at 12:16 PM

    Amazing how trading draft picks away, and a few failed picks, can so gut a team. Redskins need 8 position upgrades this year, 8 next year, and 8 more the following year to get close to a being competitive. They have been floundering more often than not for the past 20 years.

    • gonavybeatarmy - Jan 1, 2015 at 12:58 PM

      Good point. Murphy and Breeland are fine, but everyone else is either gone or received an incomplete grade. That’s a horrible record given the team’s poor foundation. And Allen should not be able to get away with the excuse that they didn’t have a first round pick again, when Snyder markets the hell out of Griffin.

  5. deepball1 - Jan 1, 2015 at 12:23 PM

    Lache Seastrunk, zak Hocker, and Ted Bolser. THREE wasted draft picks by the Redskins scouting department, the very same scouting department which Allen just told us is doing a great job. Allen is delusional. How does a team that finishes with 3 wins, go out and WASTE 3 drafts picks and then come out and tell us…with a straight face…that the scouting department and coaching staff are doing a great job?

    Nobody in the media called him out on that one. I really wish they would have mentioned it.

    • bangkokben - Jan 1, 2015 at 1:23 PM

      This is the dumbest argument. The best teams ALWAYS cut a few draft picks.This was in fact a sign of a healthy organization instead of one where Shanahan was going to keep all his picks year after year because he didn’t want admit failure or the year (2008) Vinny forced Zorn to keep all the guys as well. This meant that the coach had control of his roster. Also, you get undrafted free agents that prove themselves better than the picks.

      For your recollection: First 2008 then the last three years of Shanny where virtually everyone made the team but you could easily ask why or where are they now. Especially with 2011.
      2 34 Devin Thomas WR Michigan State
      2 48 Fred Davis TE USC
      2 51 Malcolm Kelly WR Oklahoma
      3 96 Chad Rinehart T Northern Iowa
      4 124 Justin Tryon CB Arizona State
      6 168 Durant Brooks P Georgia Tech
      6 180 Kareem Moore DB Nicholls State
      6 186 Colt Brennan QB Hawaii
      7 242 Rob Jackson DE Kansas State
      7 249 Chris Horton SS UCLA

      Only Chad Rinehart is still in the NFL.

      2 51 David Amerson FS North Carolina State
      3 85 Jordan Reed TE Florida
      4 119 Phillip Thomas SS Fresno State
      5 154 Chris Thompson RB Florida State
      5 162 Brandon Jenkins LB Florida State
      6 191 Bacarri Rambo SS Georgia
      7 228 Jawan Jamison RB Rutgers
      2012 – Washington Redskins
      1 2 Robert Griffin QB Baylor
      3 71 Josh Leribeus G Southern Methodist
      4 102 Kirk Cousins QB Michigan State
      4 119 Keenan Robinson LB Texas
      5 141 Adam Gettis G Iowa
      6 173 Alfred Morris RB Florida Atlantic
      6 193 Tom Compton T South Dakota
      7 213 Richard Crawford CB Southern Methodist
      7 217 Jordan Bernstine CB Iowa
      2011 – Washington Redskins
      1 16 Ryan Kerrigan LB Purdue
      2 41 Jarvis Jenkins DE Clemson
      3 79 Leonard Hankerson WR Miami (Fla.)
      4 105 Roy Helu RB Nebraska
      5 146 DeJon Gomes DB Nebraska
      5 155 Niles Paul WR Nebraska
      6 177 Evan Royster RB Penn State
      6 178 Aldrick Robinson WR Southern Methodist
      7 213 Brandyn Thompson DB Boise State
      7 217 Maurice Hurt G Florida
      7 224 Markus White LB Florida State
      7 253 Chris Neild NT West Virginia

      18 of 28 of these players have been on the 53 for the REDSKINS this year. ONLY TWO STARTED ALL 16 GAMES. (Kerrigan and Morris) Jarvis Jenkins was the only other one to play in all 16 games. Rambo, Richard Crawford and Aldrick Robinison have since been cut. Chris Nield on IR all year. Of the remaining 15 how many will be with the team next year? 7 or 8?

      • Eddie - Jan 1, 2015 at 2:37 PM

        Just because they’re on a roster doesn’t mean they’re nfl quality players. This team is comprised of about 90% BACKUPS. Also remember this…when Shanny took over, in his first THREE off seasons he cut 100 different players. Of those 100 players, only ONE was on an NFL roster…his name was Carlos Rodgers. Three years later, where is he? That’s the point. Just because they kept their majority of draft picks on the roster doesn’t mean they’re good.

        • bangkokben - Jan 1, 2015 at 6:45 PM

          Jason Campbell is with Cleveland. There’s more. Guys fit into different systems. Shanahan picked his players and they weren’t good enough. Salary cap penalties, etc.

  6. gonavybeatarmy - Jan 1, 2015 at 12:26 PM

    Haslett was a mediocre-to-bad DC over a large sample. Snyder is a worse owner over a larger sample.

    He had to go, but firing Haslett is putting lipstick on a pig.

    • goback2rfk - Jan 1, 2015 at 1:33 PM

      Haslett was not good by any stretch, but neither were the majority of the Redskins players. Try running a defense without a decent Safety for years, it do not end pretty. Reed Doughty, need I say more.

  7. goback2rfk - Jan 1, 2015 at 12:28 PM

    And John Greene, you keep saying “Jailhouse Winston” is going to slide once teams interview him? Um.. Marcus and Jameis are going 1 and 2 bud. TB will most certainly take Marcus and TN Titans are going to take Jameis. You can not imagine the Titans bringing back Ryan Fitzpatrick or Jake Locker can you?? No, no, the fans in TN need a big change, something to get excited about, and Jameis Winston is their man.

    • goback2rfk - Jan 1, 2015 at 12:39 PM

      Also, Mettenberger is OK for the TItans right now, however, I think they will decide Jameis ultimately gives them a brighter future. Jameis is the total package whether people want to admit it or not. He is big, strong, can move out of the pocket. He is also clutch, a Heisman winner, and has NEVER lost a game in his entire college career as a starter. He even plays baseball, the dude can ball and he is going to be a star in the NFL.

    • Joe Greene - Jan 1, 2015 at 5:13 PM

      Winston isn’t going #2 unless someone loses their head and trades up to for the spot. He’s a moron with no character who followed a great year by looking very mediocre without a superstar WR to make him look good.

      • goback2rfk - Jan 1, 2015 at 5:21 PM

        He looked bad at times but never lost a game and most importantly he kept his composure during the 2nd half of games and lead the Seminoles back into games on several occasions. He is a great football player. His off the field stuff is him being young and immature. Once he gets that first big NFL paycheck, he will settle down.

      • goback2rfk - Jan 1, 2015 at 5:25 PM

        If Winston does indeed “slide” in the draft. He wont be sliding much further than number 6 as it is hard to see the Jets passing on Winston if he is still there. Jameis will come in and be good right off the bat much like RG3 was.

        • Joe Greene - Jan 1, 2015 at 9:56 PM

          That’s why teams like the Jets are perennial losers.

          Jailhouse showed today that he’s good with a clean pocket, but horrendous the moment any pressure shows up. He straight up pulled out the Garo Yepremian impression and followed it with his massive lack of maturity showing through to the point that the coach had to threaten to bench him to get him to calm down. He’s going to be a dumpster fire of Ryan Leaf proportions in the NFL. When he slides, it will be to #5 and the Browns will trade up with us to get him since they’re already tired of Manziel but still are run by idiots.

  8. deepball1 - Jan 1, 2015 at 12:44 PM

    why are people talking Tennessee Titans on a Redskins Blog?????

    • goback2rfk - Jan 1, 2015 at 1:28 PM

      I usually stay on topic, however, sometimes I go off topic in a larger discussion about football. This is a football blog so it is a one way street,

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 1, 2015 at 2:35 PM

      I have no issue with folks discussing other teams here, especially in the offseason.

      > >

    • skinsgame - Jan 1, 2015 at 4:36 PM

      The Titans will be picking ahead of the Redskins in the draft.

  9. bangkokben - Jan 1, 2015 at 12:47 PM


    You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say rebuild in three years and then want to fire folks after their first year of responsibility. Of course we are at a boiling point after the past umpteen seasons but I suggest giving the guys another year – or a chance to turn it around. This front office DID make effort to improve the special teams, offensive line, and defense.

    How? You say. They replaced Keith Burns with Kotwica and signed a bunch of special team guys for depth – all of which got injured during the season; they drafted two o-linemen in the top three rounds of the draft and signed a left guard; they signed an interior pass rusher from a division rival, franchised another ‘pass rusher’ and ‘upgraded’ free safety – albeit all one year patches.

    It also mistakenly thought that it could get better on offense by replacing the previous crotchety regime and a healthy RG3 one year removed from knee surgery. Obviously these efforts failed and epically. But they did identify the problems from 2013 and had a plan.

    2013 was an utter mess with a “genius” head coach leading one of the healthiest Redskin teams in recent history to a horrific 3-13. Shanahan wanted out because what he had put together was so obvious – to him only at the time – was so broken. We were not a pass rusher, a better secondary, and healthy RG3 away from the playoffs.

    • ajbus1 - Jan 2, 2015 at 2:18 AM

      I agree but it’s obvious at this point that our front office is awful at evaluating talent. And I’m starting to completely agree with polo’s “Allen is Snyder’s puppet” theory. We all know the problem is Snyder. He’s the common denominator in all the dysfunction. I think the Skins are starting to drive me insane…

  10. polofourme - Jan 1, 2015 at 12:51 PM

    This has to be just the start of rebuilding Grudens staff. Haslessbrains was low hanging fruit. The easy decision but now IMO McVay also has to go…his only real job was to be Griffins little blue security blanket..he jobs was to hold Griffins hand….lend a compassionate ear to Griffins litany of constant demands and to act as a conduit between Griffin and Gruden….well, we don’t need that any more. Gruden seems able to get his message directly into Griffins ear without the assistance of McVay…McVay was forced upon Gruden who said in his initial interview when asked about the rumors that McVay was going to be his OC….Grudens response was, “that’s news to me”. So McVay has to go and also the ST coach..he was terrible this year. I mean that last onside kick by DAL caught the team flat footed and then DAL scores. If that was his only mistake I could live with that but the STs was as bad as it was last year…so he has to go…but the guy who more than anyone else with the club who absolutely has to go, is that buffoon Allen. He is one of the major reasons why the team has bee awful for five years. Using the same logic that lead to Haslessbrains termination, his inability to improve over the last five year, Allen to HAS TO GO…if he doesn’t it wont make any difference who we bring onto the coaching staff. Allen is destroying this team like a rotting apple from the inside out…Allen is a joke and all you have to do see to demonstrate that view, is that last press conference. It everyone’s fault but his and only HE can fix things…yeah, the guy is a loser and always has been.

  11. hitmeimopen - Jan 1, 2015 at 2:21 PM

    So this is our GM – telling us that he let the coach and coordinator hash it out. That tells me much more – that Allen doesn’t care one way or the other. Is that how a GM should behave? If he doesn’t care then I would assume he doesn’t believe a change at DC will make any difference, or else he’d have an opinion and voice it. Allen simply wants to keep running interference for Snyder. Dan is a moron and must have a yes man of Allen’s stature so he doesn’t have to explain himself. Problem is that Allen has no answers and my hope is that the fan base is thoroughly fed up and they cease to support this man’s product. That would be the first step to getting out from under his ownership. We must make him want to sell the team because it is bleeding him financially. It’s the only way folks!

    • goback2rfk - Jan 1, 2015 at 2:29 PM

      Dan Snyder is a billionaire, and the Redskins are number 3 in total net worth compared to all the other NFL teams. The Redskins franchise is a gold mine whether or not the team is actually any good. The Redskins have secured broadcasting rights in some of the most lucrative and best markets in the nation. The Redskins T.V. ratings are always high and especially on the East Coast market.

      There is no way Snyder will ever sell the Redskins.. Why would he give up his cash cow? The fans will be back, even though we suck we all know we will be back next year sitting our butts down at FedEx Field.. I just hope Snyder will serve me a fresh beer next year. Although I can not complain I got 2 pretty decent tickets for $20 bucks.

      • hitmeimopen - Jan 1, 2015 at 2:38 PM

        Dude, you are part of the problem. Don’t support them and maybe, just maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel.
        Dan is a scumbag and he counts on your apathy.

      • Joe Greene - Jan 1, 2015 at 10:00 PM

        Stop spending money on the team until they stop screwing around. You want things to change, you take away the one thing they care about, the money.

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 1, 2015 at 2:32 PM

      I had people complaining last week that Allen was involved in the decision at all. Had there been issues, Allen was ready to step in.

      There’s plenty to bust on Allen for; the way he handled this is not on that list.

      > > >

      • hk2000 - Jan 2, 2015 at 9:45 AM

        I agree and don’t blame Allen on handling this, but having said that, I have no confidence whatsoever that Gruden is capable of making the right decision either- Zorn2.0 has already failed, but somehow everybody thinks he is going to magically turn things around? Next year we will be in the market for a new Head-coach, rinse, repeat!!

    • skinsgame - Jan 1, 2015 at 6:09 PM

      A GM’s job is to hire a head coach and oversee player personnel. I don’t have any problems with Allen allowing Gruden to pick his staff.

      • Joe Greene - Jan 1, 2015 at 9:57 PM

        It’s too bad he didn’t do it last year. Now, if he lets Gruden pick his QB that will be a major breakthrough.

        • redskinsinrichmondva - Jan 2, 2015 at 9:23 AM

          It’s funny: you would think that if the silly “Synder calls all the roster shots” conspiracy that you believe in is true, you would then have to wonder why any smart coaching candidate (one who wants to make his own personnel decisions, at least) would coach the Redskins. And yet Gruden is coaching the Redskins.

          Seems as if you want to make Gruden a sympathetic figure in all of this, but you’re actually making him look like a fool.

        • hk2000 - Jan 2, 2015 at 9:35 AM

          First off, he did pick Haslett- he said he would recommend keeping him remember! What makes you think Gruden is qualified to pick any player or coach? listening to him, he reminds me of Zorn all the way, he is great for the media, but awful as a head coach capable of leading a team, he lacks the strong authoritative personality required for a head coach. We saw Zorn was awful after 1 year but we kept him for another and the result was a disaster. Zorn2.0 will be another disaster next year, I guarantee it.

  12. hitmeimopen - Jan 1, 2015 at 2:36 PM

    I read my fellow fans’ comments and get the impression that some of you think this is just a bad year or two for our beloved Skins team. Try to get up to speed on this – since Snyder has owned the team we have been a franchise with NO plan. We are wandering in the desert because Dan doesn’t know shit from shinola and is OK with the ship going down as long as he takes it there. Otherwise, he would hire the best and expect the best outcome. He has, by now, shown his true colors and will attempt to pull the wool over our collective eyes once again. Do not let this continue!

  13. lambolt - Jan 1, 2015 at 6:32 PM

    I do not understand Snyders motivation at all, OK, he is making shitloads of money but he would still do that (and more) if the team was run properly, AND he would be more liked by his own fans, surely he cant enjoy knowing that any sane Redskins fan hates his guts for what hes made the franchise.

    Just throw the big money at the best GM you can pay to come here (its not Allen, move him upstairs to do something else). Pay for an entire front office with smarts, moneyball style, young, data driven whizz kids to complement a great scouting department, then find a great coach and let him hire all his own staff, yes, fire EVERYONE from the old staff, and then let the GM and coach run it out for a few years with no input from Snyder.

    What is it that Snyder is gaining by not doing this, like this is a genuine question, is he just getting off on hanging out with a few star players, or influencing the players we draft or bring in.

    its utterly bizarre to me how someone can make such a mess for the best part of 2 decades and never even come close to accidentally finding something that works, even by just copying the successful franchises.

  14. ajbus1 - Jan 2, 2015 at 2:27 AM

    Rich, have you heard anything about the Redskins asking the 49ers to interview Vic Fangio, defensive coordinator?

    • murphsman - Jan 2, 2015 at 2:57 AM

      The Niners denied the request. Archives

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