WASHINGTON — The Washington Redskins’ parted ways with the defensive staff this week, knowing that there were coveted candidates ready to fill Joe Barry’s role. Now some of those names have reached the rumor mill.
The first is former Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley, who went to Jacksonville after a very successful stint as the defensive coordinator for the Seahawks. While in Seattle, he worked closely with then senior personnel executive Scot McCloughan, now Redskins general manager.
It was first reported by NFL insider Mike Garafolo:
The second is Steve Wilks, current assistant head coach and defensive backs coach for the Carolina Panthers. What makes him especially intriguing is his rapport with cornerback Josh Norman and the Redskins’ obvious need to upgrade the secondary.
This was first reported by NFL insider Ian Rapoport:
Job references aren’t everything, but if either candidate gets the job, it could be indication of who has influence within the Redskins’ complicated power structure. On the one hand, head coach Jay Gruden has said that he will make the decision with input from owner Dan Snyder, president Bruce Allen and McCloughan.
On the other hand, Norman is the best player on the defensive side of the ball, and has shown no fear lobbying for what he wants in the past. Garafolo noted as much after the report came out:
Norman has yet to weigh in, at least publicly.
Another consideration is system. The Redskins ran a base 3-4 defense in 2016, with a deep safety. Bradley was a wizard of the 4-3 in Seattle, but ran a hybrid version during his time in Jacksonville. Wilks has coached within the 4-3 for most of his NFL career, but could be open to a hybrid system as well.
It could also be an indication of the Redskins moving back to a 4-3 system that was a hallmark of the team during the Joe Gibbs years.
While these are two of the first candidates to emerge, the Redskins are not operating in a vacuum. Bradley is unemployed and Wilks has been granted permission to interview, but the Cincinnati Bengals declined to allow defensive coordinator Paul Guenther to interview:
Other teams, like the Buffalo Bills, are conducting coaching searches the coach affect the Redskins’ options. Per Garafolo, Rapoport, and fellow NFL insider Adam Schefter:
Wilks has obvious ties to McDermott after working on his staff in Carolina for the last five seasons. He would be a logical candidate to become McDermott’s defensive coordinator in Buffalo, or replace him in Carolina if McDermott leaves.
Bradley may not be interested in a situation that doesn’t involve interim head coach Anthony Lynn. If Lynn has the inside track for the Buffalo job, Bradley may hold out for a decision in Buffalo.
Of course, these are just two of the candidates that the Redskins may consider for defensive coordinator. Stay tuned to 106.7 The Fan for the latest on Redskins and NFL news.