The Redskins made one move to dramatically upgrade their coaching staff and hopefully their disappointing (at times) secondary by hiring former Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach, Raheem Morris on Wednesday night.
Morris has a strong familiarity and a connection with Redskins General Manager/Executive Vice President, Bruce Allen who was in a similar role in Tampa Bay, when Morris was an assistant. He also was on the same staff for one season as Kyle Shanahan before the current Redskins offensive coordinator left for Houston.
With the addition of Morris who will serve as secondary coach (he reportedly has a clause in his contract allowing him to leave for another defensive coordinator position after 2012), the Redskins also released two coaches according to Washington Times/ESPN 980 Redskins Insider Rich Campbell and other sources.
Safeties coach Steve Jackson and Wide Receivers coach Keenan McCardell were both reportedly let go. The Redskins as is their normal operating procedure, would not confirm the moves.
ESPN 980 has learned that another coaching staff move is likely to be made on Thursday, but it is not expected to be a major name. Most of the speculation and the logical thinking is that Bob Slowik, the current secondary coach, will be released. However, that is far from absolute and only logical theory.
Slowik and Mike Shanahan have a long time working relationship and are said to be very close still. Would Shanahan fire his friend? Or could the Redskins be making another somewhat unexpected move like McCardell's firing was.
The Redskins ranked 13th against the pass, surrendering 221.0 yards a game through the air, a significant change from the 261.7 yards allowed (31st/NFL in 2010). Defensive backs had only 10 interceptions.
The decision to let go of McCardell after two seasons, is a bit surprising -- despite Santana Moss regressing somewhat significantly, especially after his injury. Anthony Armstrong also struggled in his 2nd year, after coming out great in the season opener, Armstrong suffered a hamstring injury in the Redskins third game (@ Dallas) and was never the same after returning.
Who can forget Mike Shanahan's 'bump coverage' comment about why Armstrong was not getting any opportunities. Who knows, maybe Armstrong could become the Redskins new receivers coach. (Just kidding, AAA).
Despite the struggles of Moss and Armstrong, and with Moss missing essentially five whole games, the Redskins only passed for 140 less yards in 2011 then they did in 2010.
In 2011 - the Redskins attempted 591 passes, had 346 completions (58.5%), 3,773 yards, 235.8 YPG, 19TD's, 24 INT's. In 2010 - the Redskins attempted 605 passes, had 349 completions (57.7%), 3,913 yards, 244.6 YPG, 21 TD's, 19 INT's.
Armstrong, told ESPN 980 late on Wednesday night about McCardell "It's surprising, but it's the business we are in. He will definitely help the next team he is with."
Some possible names to keep in mind for the wide receivers position would be flipping current tight ends coach Sean McVay to the spot he is more of a natural with. He was a college wideout, who worked specifically with the ball catchers last year, before taking over at the tight end spot.
Also, when tapping into Mike Shanahan's past - it would be wise to keep an eye on former UCLA Head Coach, Karl Dorrell and former Denver assistant, Jeremy Bates.
As for the addition of Morris -- his Bucs were a team on the rise at 10-6 last year, and coupled with a fairly strong start this year - a ten game losing streak and his ouster was unimaginable. It happened.
Morris, saw his defense in 2011 (as head coach) allow 6,311 yards (30th/NFL) and 238.4 passing yards per game, which ranked 21st in the league. In 2010, Tampa allowed 5,323 yards (17th/NFL) and 201 passing yards per game, which ranked 7th.
In Morris' first year as the top dog in Tampa, his defense was 27th in the NFL overall (total yards) but was 10th overall in passing yards allowed.
Morris, 35, was the defensive backs coach under Jon Gruden up until he took over for Gruden -- following the 2008 season. In that final year as a position coach, Tampa was FOURTH (187.3) in the NFL in passing yards allowed. In 2007, the Bucs were # 1 in passing yards allowed at 170.5.
Hopefully, I will get a chance to speak with Morris sometime soon and bring those comments to you -- for now -- it is off to chase more changes and moves that will shake up the Redskins.