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Need to Know: What will Joe Barry’s Redskins defense look like?

Feb 4, 2015, 5:53 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, February 4, 14 days before the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFL assemble in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine.

Question of the day

We’re changing up the format of Need to Know for the offseason. Every day I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Today’s question is from Twitter:

The short answer is that we aren’t sure of what the details of Joe Barry’s defense will be just yet and that’s due in part to the fact that Barry himself doesn’t know just yet. He gave Jay Gruden a broad outline of what he would like to do during the interview process but that was not shared with anyone in the media.

For one thing he doesn’t yet know who will be playing in his defense. Scot McCloughan is now looking at 2014 game film to evaluate personnel and some players will not be invited back to participate in the 2015 campaign. And certainly Barry and his defensive staff are looking at film themselves, seeing what Ryan Kerrigan can do well and what David Amerson will need to do to break out of his sophomore slump.

Barry has said that the defense will maintain a base 3-4 scheme but they will utilize multiple fronts and may actually line up in a 3-4 a minority of the snaps. This is similar to what the Redskins did last year and what most teams that have a 3-4 base defense do.

There is very little history to go on here. Barry was a defensive coordinator in Detroit for two years but head coach Rod Marinelli has a defensive background so it’s safe to say that most of the principles of that 4-3 unit were his, not Barry’s.

There has been talk that Barry will prefer more of a one-gap technique up front than the two gap that has been the staple of the Redskins’ 3-4. Generally speaking the one-gap asks the line to be more aggressive and make plays while a two-gap asks the linemen to occupy blockers and let the linebackers make the plays. Both will be used at various times and we’ll have to wait until the games start to see which one is the base defense.

I know that fans love to see the corners press rather than play an off-man technique. And perhaps once Scot McCloughan is finished drafting the large, physical “Legion of Boom” type defensive backs he wants you will see more of that. In the meantime, if Barry and Perry Fewell can do what Jim Haslett and Raheem Morris couldn’t do and teach David Amerson, Bashaud Breeland, and the other cornerbacks to play press you could see more of that. Until then, look for a lot of off-man coverage.

I know that’s not a whole lot to go on but the scheme is still a work in progress. I will see if I can get any more information about what the current thinking is when Gruden answers questions at the NFL Combine two weeks from today.


—It’s been 38 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 221 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL free agency starts 34; Redskins offseason workouts start 75; 2015 NFL Draft 86

If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In case you missed it

  1. shermanp79 - Feb 4, 2015 at 8:23 AM

    I don’t expect a top 10 defense next year. All I want is them to figure out what each guy can do, then let them do it. I’m tired of seeing wide open guys and offenses moving with ease down the field. We need some big plays on 3rd down. We can’t keep letting R QBs look like Brady. That has been the most embarrassing thing under Haslet. So if we can do better getting off the field on 3rd downs and can make some plays when we need them, I will consider that improvement. The thing with Haslet, he tried doing the same things, with the same guys and getting the same poor results. I want to see improvement from some of the players. We saw little of it. How can it be all the players? I think having different voices will help. We have to improve the QB pressure, get some turnovers. If we can move up 8-10 spots in the rankings, we have improved. The biggest thing is for players to play better at the end of the season than they do in week one. Other than 2012 that failed to happen with Haslet.

    • celticsforever - Feb 4, 2015 at 9:23 AM

      Hit the nail on the head with this comment!! Nothing to add.. just to stress… I am TIRED of undrafted or mediocre QB’s looking like the second coming when they play Washington. Happens time and time again. It MUST stop. Cheers shermanp79.

    • mr.moneylover - Feb 4, 2015 at 9:58 AM

      They need teachers…jim hasslet let his players leave when they wanted and let them study at home….they got rid of the coaches thats tryna be friends with players….if joe barry set the tone on the first day of OTAs and carry that chip on his sholder that nobody didnt want him or believe in him to give him a second chance he will surprise ppl…and its not just on the coaches the same players fail under two different coaches we have to get talent players in the building before we judge joe barry

  2. Stephfan - Feb 4, 2015 at 9:43 AM

    It is true that the skins won’t have a top ten d but I’m gonna have faith that we wills least be better than the last four years. I’m not going to bash Barry because of his past. A lot of d coordinators have had been seasons but turn it around with the right staff and players. Who knows with the right players n staff our d maybe better. I have faith in the team I’m a true fan but a realist. So for all the others about to bash Barry and talk bout how our d is goijg to be horrible. How bout you all wait till some games are played before you go judging. Because no one knows what will happen.

  3. mr.moneylover - Feb 4, 2015 at 9:50 AM

    He said they gonna be a aggressive group and sometimes they might switch from 3-4 to a 4-3 but it depends on the situation but the first step is to find some big guys up front that can havoc on a QB…this defense is gonna learn how to play situation football…they need coaches thats gonna teach them from a mental aspect and thats what they have on this new coaching staff…we seen to many times redskins players looked lost on the field witch means they not getting teached proper or they don’t trust what they coach is telling them…I think its a unrated coaching staff….perry farwell is smart hes great as a postion coach more then a defense coordinator everybody else that the redskins hire is known to have a aggressive appoarch and make sure they get they message across to the players …more like a business approach

  4. joshua yochim - Feb 4, 2015 at 10:23 AM

    How much credit does Scott McCloughan really deserve for the Packers, 49ers, and Seahawks rosters. If he is that good then why was he allowed to leave?

    • Rich Tandler - Feb 4, 2015 at 10:24 AM

      If you haven’t read about McCloughan and his issues, you’re not going to get it here in the comments section. Google his name, there is plenty out there.

      • skins4lyfe - Feb 4, 2015 at 1:13 PM

        I don’t know what our defense will look like all I know is by letting haslett hopefully gives the impression that the only thing that can save u is performance.

    • Joe Greene - Feb 4, 2015 at 6:16 PM

      Wow. You literally haven’t paid the tiniest bit of attention to anything if you asked that question.

  5. YOKi - Feb 4, 2015 at 1:19 PM

    i wonder… if things don’t pan put defensively, do fans start remembering the Hasslet days just like when they were in agreement over Shanahan’s ousting.

    would’ve held onto Shanny and given him more control…. i am not a Shanny supporter, i am about going with proven experience and not making the team learn new playbools every 2/3 years.

  6. greed - Feb 4, 2015 at 3:33 PM

    I JUST want fundamentally sound football if it 2nd in 20 dont zero blitz give up a big play-dont sit in a zone all game against a rookie qb or 3rd string qb making his first start allowing him time to make right read and gaining confidence throughout the game-dont have your corners 12 yards off the ball with 5 yards to go for first down -dont have your best pass rusher dropping into coverage in obvious passing situations you know basic things -barry needs to think more like Pettibone not Hasslett

  7. goback2rfk - Feb 4, 2015 at 5:28 PM

    The defense will look like a 25th rank defense next year. Thats what it will look like

    • tralfaz10 - Feb 4, 2015 at 7:49 PM

      Good idea go back to rfk…all by yourself. The rest of us fans will support our team at Fed Ex. I expect us to draft some defensive help and maybe a player through free agency. I see us ranked 10-15.

      • goback2rfk - Feb 5, 2015 at 11:23 AM

        The Redskins have not had a top 10 defense in over a half decade but you think with a new inexperienced coach, barely any secondary, no top notch safety, but we will be a top10 defense next year. I need some of that koolaid you sippin homie

  8. skins1970 - Feb 4, 2015 at 11:39 PM

    I think this defense can be ranked in the mid teens, I don’t pay attention to say they will be ranked low because that’s being too negative.

  9. deepball1 - Feb 5, 2015 at 6:54 PM

    I have no idea how you can say the Redskins will have the 25th ranked defense……that the Redskins won’t have a top 10 defense….the that Redskins are 100-1 to go to the Superbowl, etc etc. We just finished the season. Tons of injuries and old players in the secondary and Defensive Line. Horrible offensive Right guard and right tackle and center wasn’t all that great either.

    So…we have 7 draft picks with a master magician making the picks. Free agency begins shortly, and there is a brand new coaching staff on offense AND defense. Plus we don’t know what the injury situation will be with the teams we will face each week or the weather conditions…..

    and yet you experts have already set the Redskins season and stats in a mold and solidified them. LOL Archives

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