Monday, January 18, 2010

Coaching... No, Culture Changes

Good god. An organization hasn't seen turnover like this since the Treaty of Paris.

Who's out? Vinny Cerrato and Jim Zorn (fired), Joe Bugel (retired), Sherm Smith and Sherm Lewis (not retained), Greg Blache (retired/replaced), Jerry Gray (not retained, now with Seattle), and Stump Mitchell (left for Southern Univ.).

Who's in? Bruce Allen (GM), Mike Shanahan (head coach), Kyle Shanahan (offensive coordinator), Jim Haslett (defensive coordinator), Bobby Turner (assistant head coach/RBs), and Lou Spanos (linebackers coach).

How do they stack up? Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan are unquestioned upgrades. Shanny Jr. aka Kyle became the youngest coordinator in the league nearly two years ago in Houston. In those two years, his unit finished third and fourth in the NFL in total yards/game - Schaub led the NFL in passing yards in 2009. Impressive, but how much authority will father give son?

Jim Haslett's NFL resume is slightly less impressive. From 1993-1999 Haslett served as either an defensive assistant or defensive coordinator for the Raiders, Saints, and Steelers. In 2000, Haslett replaced Mike Ditka as head coach of the Saints and was named Coach of the Year after posting a 10-6 record (3-13 in 1999). Haslett went 35-45 over the next 5 seasons and was fired in 2005, an especially hectic year in which Hurricane Katrina forced the Saints to relocate for nearly every home game.

In 2006, he was hired as defensive coordinator in St. Louis. In September 2008, Scott Linehan was dismissed and Haslett was promoted to interim head coach. The team went 2-10 under Haslett, but his role as head coach during the nosedive took a backseat role to St. Louis's evident lack of talent. However, the defense, Haslett's unit, finished 23rd, 21st, and 28th in his three years in St. Louis.

Bobby Turner was Shanahan Sr.'s right-hand man in Denver when it came to constructing the decade's most consistent, intimidating rushing attack. Turner arrived in Denver in 1995, a year before Shanahan. Since then, Denver has rushed for more yards than any team in the league. Most impressively, Turner got it done with Terrell Davis, Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson, Clinton Portis, Reuben Droughns, Tatum Bell, Mike Bell, Selvin Young, Travis Henry, and most recently with Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter.

Moral of the story: the name on the back of the jersey is irrelevant. He'll love Washington's Portis-Betts-Rock-QG committee, that is if Shanahan doesn't bring in one of his own.

Haslett might bring the 3-4 to Washington. If so, Lou Spanos is the man for the job. Spanos coached the linebackers in Pittsburgh as long as Turner coached RBs in Denver. Spanos was also just as instrumental in the success of Pittsburgh's strongest unit as Turner was in Denver. Of Spanos’s 15 years in the Steel City, his defense ranked in the top 10 13 times, including four #1 rankings. He has as many Super Bowl rings as the entire Redskin franchise (3).

This next part is for Washington's only 2009 pro bowler, according to Redskins.com:
Spanos coached nine different linebackers who combined for 19 Pro Bowl appearances -- Kevin Greene (2), Greg Lloyd (2), Chad Brown (1), Levon Kirkland (2), Jason Gildon (3), Kendrell Bell (1), Joey Porter (3), James Farrior (2) and James Harrison (3). Additionally, Harrison earned the Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2008, while Bell was the Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2001.
Sure Washington will miss the contributions of ol' Boss Hog, the Shermans, and fiery Jerry Gray but I think it's safe to say the "new direction" is up.

RIP Gaines Adams

1 comment:

  1. Treaty of Paris aside, this turnover was needed. We sucked this year in every sense of the word. Total overhaul was inevitable. An improved coach and oc and hopefully D-coor can mean only one thing for the upcoming year .... Skins 2011 superbowl champs!