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.