Top 4 Replacements for Jim Haslett as Next Washington Redskins DC

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It’s taken 5 seasons, though consistently bad invulnerability has finally seen a Washington Redskins partial ways with unwell coordinator Jim Haslett. The preference was a mutual one, according to Mike Jones of The Washington Post.

Haslett’s prolonged overdue exit creates a cavity a Redskins are already perplexing to find ways to fill, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter:

The team’s hunt for a subsequent defensive signal-caller should concentration on a following 4 candidates:


Pepper Johnson, Defensive Line Coach, Buffalo Bills

Few possibilities are some-more intriguing than Pepper Johnson. The long-time standout NFL linebacker will be obvious to Redskins fans.

He was a pivotal member of a punishing New York Giants linebacker party that left Washington and a rest of a NFC East smashed and painful during a ’80s and early ’90s.

Johnson was taught a nuances of a 3-4 from then-Big Blue conduct manager Bill Parcells, a master of a front. But he schooled a art of hybrid coherence from Giants coordinator Bill Belichick.

George Rose/Getty Images

He used Johnson in a accumulation of ways behind then. Johnson lined adult during both inside and outward linebacker, as good as on a defensive line in certain fronts.

He afterwards followed Belichick to a Cleveland Browns. In 1994, Johnson was a heartbeat of a league’s stingiest scoring defense. As a center linebacker in Cleveland’s 4-3, Johnson functioned as Belichick’s on-field signal-caller.

After a brief and successful army behind in a 3-4 with a New York Jets, Johnson hung adult his cleats in 1999. He’s been coaching ever since.

Al Bello/Getty Images

He spent years on Belichick’s staffs with a New England Patriots, coaching both a linebackers and a D-line. During that time, Belichick was always penetrating to keep Johnson around.

That settlement finished final offseason when a partner left to join a Bills. Johnson indicated he wanted to get out from “under a shade of Coach Belichick,” per an talk on WGR 550’s John Murphy uncover (h/t contributor Doug Kyed).

That’s a good pointer of Johnson’s aspiration to swell his career, contend maybe to a coordinator level.

Just as enlivening is Johnson’s excellent work has continued even though a change of Belichick. The Buffalo Bills’ fourth-ranked invulnerability was spearheaded by a violent front 4 that accounted for 39.5 of a team’s NFL-best 54 sacks in 2014.

In particular, tackles Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams unequivocally flourished. Johnson could maybe awaken a same from Washington’s gifted though underachieving span Chris Baker and Jason Hatcher.


Johnson has played in and coached versions of both a 3-4 and 4-3. He’s intrigue versatile and assertive in his approach. Just as important, he’s also flexible, carrying schooled from Belichick a art of holding divided an opponent’s favorite plays, something Haslett frequency did.

Since Doug Marrone walked out on a Bills, Johnson’s destiny is naturally uncertain. As a rising star in a partner ranks, he should positively be on a list of possibilities to whom Washington offers an interview.


Vic Fangio, Defensive Coordinator, San Francisco 49ers

Fangio‘s destiny will be dynamic by a San Francisco 49ers’ hunt for a new conduct coach. But if he doesn’t get a pursuit and a Redskins are prepared to wait, Washington should rubbish no time giving Fangio a call.

Matt Dunham/Associated Press

He’s one of a grand masters of a 3-4 defense, with low ties in a zone-blitz philosophy. Fangio has also shown a eagerness to cgange his some-more assertive instincts in preference of a easier complement if it lets his players thrive.

That’s how it’s been in San Francisco given Fangio took over a invulnerability in 2011. He has relied on really few fronts and unchanging coverage structures to assistance his core of gifted athletes dominate.

He’s alternated between bottom 3-4 and 4-2-5 nickel looks, while customarily relying on section coverage behind it. During a best years, that paired-down proceed authorised linebackers such as Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman and Ahmad Brooks to simply run to a ball. It also meant Aldon Smith was giveaway to combine on rushing a passer, along with a line led by pocket-collapsing finish Justin Smith.

But Fangio is no regressive play-caller who’s a worker to a basics. He loves a good cornerback shell and will also brew in some Cover 1 pirate looks in a delegate to close adult receivers and attract quarterbacks into turnovers.

Fangio also isn’t fearful to pierce players around to emanate matchup nightmares for an offense. He’s used maestro lineman Smith as a station rusher during times this season. Fangio also loves his front-line pass-rushers to govern a horde of stunts and games to dope blockers.

He coped with a innumerable of injuries and absences this deteriorate and still constructed a vigourous unit. Willis and Bowman missed poignant time by injury, as did nose tackle Glenn Dorsey. Meanwhile, premier pass-rusher Smith sat out 9 games suspended. And we suspicion Haslett had it bad.

Still, Fangio‘s D ranked 10th in points and fifth in yards.

Billy Hurst/Associated Press

The destiny of this shining defensive mind will be dynamic by events in San Francisco. The Niners’ bid to reinstate effusive conduct manager Jim Harbaugh could include Fangio.

That’s maybe since a Redskins weren’t privileged to talk Fangio, per Mike Jones of The Washington Post:

However, a 49ers could finish adult giving a empty tip pursuit to Fangio‘s D-line coach, Jim Tomsula, according to Mercury News reporter Tim Kawakami.

It’s formidable to trust Fangio would hang around after being upheld over for one of his position coaches. He’d be a superb sinecure in D.C.


Steve Spagnuolo, Secondary/Assistant Head Coach, Baltimore Ravens

Steve Spagnuolo might seem like a bend round as a candidate, though there’s copiousness to suggest him as Haslett’s replacement. First, he’s a master of conceptualizing and job fire-zone blitzes.

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

That ability helped him designer a Giants’ dump of Tom Brady and a high-powered Patriots in Super Bowl 42. Spagnuolo afterwards inebriated out as conduct manager of a St. Louis Rams, before being run out of city after one deteriorate job a invulnerability for a New Orleans Saints in 2012.

But a male who schooled from a late, great, mythological shell guru Jim Johnson with a Philadelphia Eagles has remade his repute given fasten a Baltimore Ravens.

Watch any Ravens diversion from this deteriorate (Week 12’s win over a Saints is a good example) and you’ll see Spagnuolo‘s fingerprints all over Baltimore’s sack-happy defense. When a Ravens pierce vigour they pierce players into unusual positions, overkill sides and rush from mixed angles.

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Spagnuolo‘s time operative with Ravens coordinator Dean Pees, himself a excellent defensive mind, has given him a organisation balance in a 3-4. A Spagnuolo invulnerability is one guaranteed to feast on confused quarterbacks.

Eventually, he’ll get another possibility as a coordinator. The Redskins would be correct to offer it.


Wade Phillips

Hiring Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator would expected spin out to be a best preference this authorization has done in half a decade. It’s one a group is already thankfully exploring.

A pivotal inciter in any bid to pierce Phillips to Redskins Park will be A.J. Smith. The gifted team-builder has been given a bigger purpose in a front office, per ESPN contributor John Clayton.

Kent Horner/Getty Images

ESPN Redskins contributor John Keim has minute how Smith could assistance land Phillips:

Don’t be astounded if Smith pushes tough for Wade Phillips as a defensive coordinator. Phillips was a San Diego Chargers’ defensive coordinator for 3 seasons when Smith was a ubiquitous manager. Smith was a executive and afterwards pro crew executive in Buffalo during Phillips’ 6 seasons as defensive coordinator and afterwards conduct coach. In San Diego, Phillips’ invulnerability ranked 11th, 13th and afterwards seventh in points authorised per game. They were 18th, 13th and 10th in sum yards. Doesn’t sound like there’s any doubt Phillips would wish to lapse to coaching. Phillips’ son, Wes, also serves as a Redskins’ parsimonious ends coach.

Smith’s routine appears to have started already, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport:

Phillips stayed during home in 2014 after using a Houston Texans invulnerability for 3 seasons. Phillips hereditary a truly awful section and now remade it into one of a league’s best.

Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle notes how Phillips’ units ranked “second in yards authorised in 2011 and seventh a subsequent dual seasons.” Those defenses propelled a Texans to a initial dual playoff berths in authorization history.

The beauty of employing Phillips is he’d pierce with him a tangible system. A awake intrigue is something Haslett never had. But Phillips’ defenses have always trafficked a informed way.

That approach is an attacking, 1-gap chronicle of a 3-4 front that is some-more like a 5-2 front. That series 5 is poignant since it’s a series of rushers Phillips sends after an offense on a immeasurable infancy of snaps.

Bob Levey/Getty Images

Phillips is all about pressure. His linemen conflict instead of interesting double teams. His outward linebackers rush a passer and very, really frequency dump into coverage.

With Phillips job a plays, a possibilities for players such as Ryan Kerrigan and Hatcher are truly tantalizing. If Washington manages to awaken a 67-year-old behind to a sideline, we can stop worrying about this team’s defense.

Phillips is a best choice, though any one of a possibilities on this list represents a vital ascent over Haslett and would urge a gifted though underachieving defense.

Johnson and Spagnuolo would prerogative a gamble, while Fangio has a credit of long-term value and a poise of a 3-4. Phillips also boasts those qualities though is armed with a intrigue that would make stars of several players already on a roster.

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