With the head coaching decisions made today in upstate New York and Denver, the list of potentials for the vacant defensive coordinator position in DC is being forced into focus. The question is, will the team act fast enough to not get left in the cold among a flurry of moves.
Today’s hiring of Vance Joseph as the new head coach in Denver and Sean McDermott, as the new head man in Buffalo, both directly impact the Skins search. And with three other jobs still waiting to be filled (SD, LA, SF), striking while the iron is hot is a cliche to not be ignored.
Wade Phillips, Gus Bradley, Steve Wilks, Rex Ryan, Gregg Williams and Greg Manusky are the names currently discussed by talking heads and Skins faithful, for the job. While all offer possible upgrades over the departed Joe Barry, in experience and success. One of them is said to be directly linked to a highly sought after head coaching candidate, who works out at Redskins Park.
If Sean McVay lands the Rams' HC job, his top option for DC would be Broncos DC Wade Phillips, per league sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 11, 2017
Imagine if Washington were to lose it’s boy wonder OC and one of the top DC candidates, before even getting a chance to say hello. The hiring of Jospeh in DEN, a Phillips protégé, may throw an added wrinkle into that play (per Gil Whiteley, 1340-AM) however. Does this mean Phillips will definitely be retained in Denver, no. But one has to acknowledge the possibility.
Either scenario would be a blow for a franchise looking to stabilize that side of the ball, eventhough this would not be the Skins first shot at adding the veteran signal caller. Unbeknownst to (or remembered by) many, Phillips interviewed for the position later offered to Joe Barry. One went on to construct a Super Bowl winning defense. The other is…yeah.
Gus Bradley, was at Redskins Park today for his interview. Originally rumored to be linked to Bills interim HC Anthony Lynn, in Buffalo– the hiring of Carolina DC Sean McDermott over Lynn, actually worked in Washington’s favor. Prior to his 14-48 record as Jacksonville’s HC, the work he did as a position coach in Tampa and as one of the architects of Seattle’s current defense in its infancy, is very intriguing.
Steve Wilks, a highly respected secondary coach in Carolina was slated to interview for the open position in Washington. However the hiring away of McDermott, almost assures the ascension of the assistant head coach and Charlotte native, to fill the vacant DC position in CAR.
Rex Ryan to DC? It goes without saying that Rex inherited his famed father’s acumen when it comes to putting a defense on the field. As a coordinator in Baltimore and HC for the Jets, his defenses were perennially strong, aggressive units. Though his tenure in Buffalo didn’t go as planned, his resume is unquestioned. But does he even want to coach in ’17? His former coordinator Mike Pettine, who interviewed at Redskins Park on Monday, may be a better fit.
Gregg Williams. Time will tell if the former Skins DC has been contacted or even wants to be. A coordinator with a proven track record, Williams has his warts but would be a more than capable addition. During his previous stint in Washington, he was a fan favorite that related extremely well to his players. But his departure was less than ideal. The team would be doing itself a disservice if they didn’t at least reach out.
Greg Manusky, a holdover from Barry’s staff (worked w/McCloughan in SF), is an interesting candidate to watch. The former Skins linebacker, on his second stint as a coach for the team, has had some success as a coordinator in San Fran and Indy. The fact that he was retained from this year’s staff could be a sign.
If I had to rank, the available coordinators for this job as it stands today:
- Gus Bradley – ties to Bruce Allen & Scot McCloughan, track record of molding young defensive talent
- Wade Phillips (more like 1a) – grand puba of the 34. Over three decades as a coach or coordinator, his defenses have finished top-10, 18 times. At 70, possibly working with his son, a TEs coach for WAS could be a draw
- Mike Pettine – call it a hunch, but a Rex Ryan disciple sans the extra-ness, sounds promising (ignore that stint in CLE)
- Greg Manusky – feels like a “just in case we don’t get who we want” move. Could still serve as an upgrade.
FIRE UP THE JET DAN! Go get who you want, don’t act shy now.