Greg Manusky remains the Washington Redskins’ defensive coordinator, even after a winter in which several former coordinators interviewed for roles with the team. And though Washington eventually assembled a defensive coaching staff that includes two ex-coordinators in Rob Ryan and Ray Horton, and a one-time NFL head coach in Jim Tomsula, Manusky said Wednesday that he is happy with the new arrangement.
“I don’t think it’s any balancing act,” Manusky said of adding Ryan and Horton despite their experience. “It’s just trying to learn the defensive calls, the defensive signals that we have, and try to put it into terms they’ve used over their career.”
Some around the NFL have questioned the wisdom of the Redskins hiring Ryan as inside linebackers coach and Horton to coach defensive backs, suggesting their extensive resumes could be a threat to Manusky’s authority, particularly after the team didn’t confirm Manusky would be returning as coordinator until two weeks after the season ended.
It’s a suggestion Coach Jay Gruden shrugged away at last month’s scouting combine in Indianapolis, saying he wanted to “add some experience” to help Manusky, adding that “the more people you have, the better you can function.”
Manusky, speaking after a high school coaches clinic put on by the team’s charitable foundation, said “everything is good right now” and that Ryan and Horton have been meeting with the rest of the defensive staff “going over schemes and how we are going to run things.”
“We are in the process now of breaking this down and doing that, but overall we are doing good,” Manusky said.
Manusky was one of four Redskins coaches who took part in the clinic for 40 area coaches at the team’s practice facility. He was joined by assistant head coach and offensive line coach Bill Callahan, senior offensive assistant Matt Cavanaugh and new special teams coordinator Nate Kaczor.
Manusky’s defense started strong last season, but faltered in later weeks after injuries decimated both sides of the ball. He seemed thrilled with last week’s signing of safety Landon Collins on the first day of free agency, saying he sees Collins as a player who can excel in pass coverage, make tackles and even rush the quarterback from the outside.
“He’s a playmaker,” Manusky said. “He made a lot of plays against us in the past and overall we’re just excited to have him in the building. It’s a position . . . where he can be a main playcaller and put everyone in the right position on the back end, so I’m excited about it.”
Standing beside Manusky in the team’s main meeting room on Tuesday, Cavanaugh also expressed contentment with an offseason adjustment that had him going from the team’s offensive coordinator to an advisory role. Since Gruden calls plays, the title of coordinator isn’t as significant as it might be on other teams, and Cavanaugh appeared unfazed about the change in titles.
Gruden has said he wanted to create the role for Cavanaugh because he needs someone to help with small details that can get lost in the days of preparation before games. Cavanaugh said Tuesday that one of those details he wants to attack is the team’s clock management late in games — something for which Gruden has been criticized in recent seasons. Cavanaugh said he is studying the way other teams have dealt with those moments to see if there are ideas the Redskins can use this fall.
"No matter how much you prepare, something comes up in a game, and we are like, ‘Damn, I never thought of that,'” Cavanaugh said. “So I’ve got a laundry list of things [that] I want to help with on game day, let alone still be a part of the game planning and be part of the offensive staff.”
The Redskins also made a roster move, re-signing guard Zac Kerin, who was added late in the year after the offensive line was decimated by injuries and played in two games.
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