The Redskins defense ranks near the bottom of most statistical categories this season. 29th in yards allowed per game. 28th in penalty yards. Dead last in 3rd down stops. All things considered, it makes sense that questions about the future of defensive coordinator Joe Barry continue to mount.
Barry cannot be the cause of all the Redskins' defensive struggles, but he does run the unit. Washington's defense needs an influx of talent more than anything, but still, the 'Skins have a chance to make the playoffs for a second straight season if they beat the Giants on Sunday. That means in his two seasons as coordinator, Barry could have his defense in the playoffs both times.
Redskins coach Jay Gruden knows the defense needs to be better, but also talked about the injuries suffered on that side of the ball.
"We've had some adversity as far as personnel's concerned, guys getting hurt and losing your captain early in D-Hall," Gruden said of Barry's work this season. "We've had our issues the last few weeks, but, overall, I think he's done a good job."
Hall's injury in Week 3 set back the Redskins at safety, but that position has not been seriously addressed via the draft in some time. The team has tried to convert a number of cornerbacks to safety, with mixed results. Like Gruden said, injuries have certainly been a part of the defensive struggles, but at times, the scheme seems too slow to change.
"It's tough when you don't have the same 11 in there all the time," Gruden said. "I think for the most part there are things we obviously have to get better at. Third down conversions, red zone, obviously are issues, two-minute drills at the end of the half. But I like the way the guys compete."
For Barry, his focus is on the game, not speculation about his job.
"Those are things that we will obviously address, but right now, I'm just 1000 percent on the Giants, and I'm not even thinking a day past that right now," Barry said.
A vocal group of Redskins fans have complained about Barry for months via social media. Each time a coach or coordinator's name with a defensive pedigree pops up, some fans scream that Rex Ryan or Gus Bradley should replace Barry.
In Week 17, and with a possible playoff game in reach, Barry is correct to be focused on the Redskins' next game. Gruden has long said that assessments will come for all coaches on his staff, including himself, but that it will be when the season concludes.
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