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Need to Know: What should we expect from Joe Barry’s Redskins defense?

Mar 25, 2015, 5:19 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, March 25, 36 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

Question of the day

A few days a week 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:

We are not really sure what a defense headed up by Joe Barry will look like since we don’t have much history to go on. For the past four seasons he has been the linebackers coach in San Diego and the defense was under the direction John Pagano and, before that, Greg Manusky.

His only stint as a coordinator came in 2007-2008 when he was with the Lions. It’s unlikely that Barry will take much away from those units, considering that they ranked dead last in the NFL both years. In addition, Lions head coach Rod Marinelli came from the defensive side of the ball and he certainly had a heavy hand in running the defense.

We have learned a few things about what the defense going to look like despite the fact that it’s best for Barry and Jay Gruden to keep things under wraps for as long as possible. It will be a 3-4 base but it seems that they will go with a lot of four-man and other fronts, especially in nickel situations. This is something that many 3-4 defenses do to try to get their pass rushers in the best matchups.

The other change that seems to be coming to the Redskins defense is more use of a one-gap attack. They have been using a lot of two-gap, which means that each defensive lineman is responsible for the gap on either side of the offensive lineman in front of him. The idea is that the linemen tie up the blockers and the linebackers make the plays.

In a one gap, the lineman is only responsible for the hole on one side of the blocker. That gives the linebackers gap responsibility as well. The one gap is a more aggressive scheme than what the Redskins have been playing. That sounds better but, as with any defensive scheme, it comes down to proper execution.

Beyond the X’s and O’s, Barry will display a fiery personality. “Everybody loves the guy,” said Chargers coach Mike McCoy, Barry’s former boss in San Diego. “He really cares about you as a person, not just as a player. If you ask anybody on the defensive side of the ball, or even some of the guys he was close with on the offensive side, he’s a great guy. Very positive. A good motivator.”

That’s about all we know. Press or off-man? Zone coverage or man-to-man? Heavy on blitzing or reliant on four-man rush? We just don’t know yet and given that the coaches have absolutely nothing to gain by telling us or showing us a whole lot in training camp or in the preseason, we probably won’t really find out until Week 1 of the regular season.


—It’s been 87 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 172 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 26; 2015 NFL Draft 36; Redskins training camp starts 127

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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  1. troylok - Mar 25, 2015 at 6:32 AM

    I look at some of the players they’ve signed in free agency. I assume Barry has a direct pipeline to McGloughan for his needs and so what I take from that is they will run the 4-3 front quite a bit, and they will get physical with receivers. I hope he is flexible enough to adapt his game plan to the players he has. He might not have that “roamer” safety that can own the deep coverage. He might not have outside linebackers that can cover tight ends. He will have to adapt to that.

    Frankly, I worry about the defense. When people talk about Barry they talk in terms of what a nice guy he is or a good motivator, but the first words out of their mouths aren’t “great strategist” or “knows defense”. Haslett wasn’t a bad guy either, but when it came to adapting his defense, he fell a little short. Some of that had to do with the players he had, but Barry has a lot of those same players. I hope the guy is a surprise and I can’t wait to find out. If he isn’t the guy, it will be a long ugly season.

    • mr.moneylover - Mar 25, 2015 at 8:28 AM

      Perry riley struggle to cover tigh ends…he shouldn’t be starting in my opinion we was better off with will compton the starter because he was good in droping back covering tight ends

      • troylok - Mar 25, 2015 at 11:40 AM

        I agree, mister. I think that will be sorted out in training camp this year because I believe Compton will beat him out for the job.

        • ET - Mar 25, 2015 at 12:25 PM

          I’m hoping McC & Co. pick up some ILB depth in the draft. I like Compton, but he’s not gonna set the world on fire. Perry Riley is a mismatch target in coverage. Keenan needs some help back there.

  2. bk70 - Mar 25, 2015 at 6:57 AM

    We need a flexible defense that plays hard for four quarters. It seems that the defense needs another 4-5 players on the roster long before the team hits that 90 number. Still missing that starting FS. Maybe mid-round pick of Cody Prewitt or Kurtis Drummond could fill that need earlier than anticipated for a rookie. DC still needs that outside edge rusher and another CB over 6-0. It will be interesting to watch the DL “heavies” (Knighton, Baker, Thomas and Ross) through OTA and training camp. Be nice if Danny Shelton was added to that list too.

  3. Jgd2016 - Mar 25, 2015 at 8:04 AM

    I believe I saw something at one point where Barry said he would prefer to drop more guys in to coverage. So my bet would be on less of the casino blitzes and more of a four man rush

    • Jgd2016 - Mar 25, 2015 at 8:05 AM

      Maybe bring back the crazy blitzes just for the Dallas games :) haha

  4. mr.moneylover - Mar 25, 2015 at 8:22 AM

    From what I herd from others…hes agressive expect the same the same thing from his defense …expect alot of blitzes something similar to what the Arizona cardinals raned last year but he also wanna have the DBs and D-linemen to were he can still put pressure on the QB without blitzing the QB…but its safe to say we gotta wait and see how it comes together…and we cant judge joe barry on his pass because they was drafting bad back when he was there hes not in charge of the personnel here thats scot m. Job…now that joe barry got some talent players on defense all we can do is judge what we see this up coming season

  5. mr.moneylover - Mar 25, 2015 at 8:38 AM

    I like the fact scot m. Said he been preaching around redskins park that it doesn’t matter if a player got a big contract if hes not doing his job then he shouldn’t be on the field im tryna build and keep building the redskins so on gamedays we can make the team we face quiet….IF YOU DONT LIKE SCOT M. AS GM THEN YOU DONT LIKE FOOTBALL

    • mr.moneylover - Mar 25, 2015 at 8:46 AM

      He also said he gonna have a meeting with coach bill C. Next week to see what type of O-line he like…scot m. Said I know what type of O-linemen I like tough,physical,and smart the meeting is to see if they on the same page and see his grades on the O-linemen he scouting….SO FOR THE PPL THAT THINK HE FORGOT ABOUT THE O-LINE HE DIDNT UNLIKE BRUCE ALLEN HE KNOWS WHAT HE DOING…HE ALSO SAID THEY MIGHT PICKUP MULTIPLE O-LINEMEN Archives

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