So it looks like it’s going to be Joe Barry as the Redskins’ defensive coordinator after all. Three weeks after parting ways with Jim Haslett, the Redskins are turning to the Chargers’ linebackers coach to straighten out a defense that was mediocre at best during the five years Haslett was in charge.
The hiring of Barry has not been met with a positive reaction from many in the Redskins’ fan base. The main complaint against him was his two seasons as the defensive coordinator of the Lions in 2007 and 2008. Detroit was dead last in the league in both points and yards allowed those two seasons and went 0-16 in 2008.
The Redskins certainly looked at that but they also likely considered the fact that the defensive talent on those Lions teams was awful. Most of the starters on defense were out of the league within a few years of Barry’s time as defensive coordinator.
You can look at the lineup here. Not only is there not a player as good as Ryan Kerrigan on there, they don’t have anyone as good as David Amerson there.
Although Barry’s past is certainly part of the consideration, the Redskins are more concerned about what he can do for them going forward. The word out of Redskins Park was that he had a very impressive interview a couple of weeks ago. This could have moved Jay Gruden and Bruce Allen towards making him their guy.
Barry will have to deal with the knowledge that he was the team’s second choice. They clearly had their sights set on former 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio before he decided to accept a job with the Bears. Within a couple of hours after getting word of that Fangio was gone, word that Barry was in leaked out.
Barry has a lot of work to do. The Redskins’ defense finished 20th in yards allowed and 29th in points allowed. The defense needs a major infusion of talent, particularly in the secondary and along an aging defensive line, if they are going to show significant improvement.
And he has to show that he can do a better job than he did with Lions. He has had six years to look at what went wrong in Detroit and the Redskins hope that he has been able to learn from it.