News broke Sunday that the Redskins will promote outside linebackers coach Greg Manusky to defensive coordinator, replacing the departed Joe Barry.
There are plenty of reasons for the hire, laid out here, but also potential concerns with the team's decision.
- Backup plan? - The Redskins brought in a number of other candidates for the defensive coordinator, some with better track records than Manusky. While Manusky was always viewed as a strong candidate, fans must hope that he was not the backup option for the job after names like Wade Phillips went to the Rams and Gus Bradley to the Chargers. While complying with the NFL's Rooney Rule could have been cause for some delay, if the 'Skins knew Manusky was the guy, it will be interesting to hear what Jay Gruden or Scot McCloughan answer when asked about the length of time it took to promote Manusky after Barry's dismissal.
- About last year... - The Redskins defense performed terribly in 2016, ranking at or near the bottom in a number of important statistical measures. Manusky was part of that staff, and while it was his not role to dictate scheme or adjust game plans, he was still on the staff.
- The other side of player development - Manusky has gotten some credit for the development of third-year pro Trent Murphy. Working with Manusky as the outside linebackers coach, Murphy recorded eight sacks in 2016. In his two seasons prior, both without Manusky, Murphy had just six sacks combined. Getting more from Murphy was undoubtedly a strong bullet point on Manusky's resume, but what about the sophomore sack slump from Preston Smith? The former Mississippi State star went from eight sacks as a rookie in 2015 to five sacks in 2016. It's a bit of a stretch to attribute Smith's drop in production as a direct result of the outside linebackers coach, but if Manusky gets credit for Murphy's development, it's fair to point out Smith's dip.
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