Where Redskins defensive coordinator search stands after Greg Manusky interview

WASHINGTON — The Redskins interviewed outside linebackers coach Greg Manusky on Tuesday for their open defensive coordinator position.

Manusky, 50, was one of three defensive coaches who remained on staff after Joe Barry was fired on Jan. 5. He has plenty of experience after serving as defensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts (2012 to 2015) and the San Francisco 49ers (2007 to 2010), where he worked for Washington general manager Scot McCloughan.

The Redskins have now interviewed four known candidates: Mike Pettine (Jan. 9), Gus Bradley (Jan. 11), Rob Ryan (Jan. 16) and Manusky, who joined Jay Gruden’s staff last year. They will interview former Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver on Thursday. Washington still must comply with the NFL’s “Rooney Rule” and interview a minority candidate. By the end of this process there could be as many as eight or nine candidates interviewed. Here is where things stand so far:

Greg Manusky

He has an advantage in that he knows the personnel well having spent a year with these players. Manusky has run a hybrid version of the 3-4 in San Francisco and Indianapolis so there wouldn’t be too much adjustment there. He will almost certainly have some new pieces to work with. Washington has nine draft picks in 2017 and will invest on that side of the ball for the first time in a while. The Redskins have taken five defensive players in the second round since 2010 (Su’a Cravens, Preston Smith, Trent Murphy, David Amerson, Jarvis Jenkins) and one third rounder (Kendall Fuller). Thanks to the RG3 trade, Ryan Kerrigan is the only first-round selection over the last seven drafts. One draft won’t solve this – though being more active in free agency might. Manusky’s knowledge of the current roster – strengths and weaknesses – would help, too.

Gus Bradley

Long thought to be a package deal with Anthony Lynn, who was hired as head coach last week in San Diego/Los Angeles with the Chargers. Bradley interviewed there on Monday. But he was still being linked to Seattle offensive line coach Tom Cable, who was in the running to be the next San Francisco 49ers head coach. That’s over. Cable’s agent tweeted on Tuesday that his client is staying with the Seahawks. ESPN is reporting that Kyle Shanahan is now the runaway favorite to coach the 49ers.

Where does that leave the Redskins with Bradley? Hard to say. It’s clear the talent in Washington is a hard sell when combined with Jay Gruden’s contract status. He’s in his fourth year of a five-year deal. Coaches with other options would be silly not to explore them. Bradley runs a unique version of the 4-3 defense, but given how in-demand he is right now it’s hard to imagine that being a factor. The Redskins are well suited to switch schemes now, if needed, as they look to increase the overall talent level on defense. Bradley could weight everything and just decide the Chargers are a better fit.

Mike Pettine

This one still seems to check most of the boxes. He comes from the Rex Ryan coaching tree and will preach an attacking, aggressive 3-4 defense. That seems to be what Scot McCloughan wants. Pettine had success as a defensive coordinator with the Jets. No one holds his head coaching tenure with the Cleveland Browns against him. One question: He’s been known to run complicated defensive schemes and multiple Redskins defensive players said after the season their group didn’t handle “complicated” all that well under Barry. He also doesn’t appear to have other options right now the way Bradley does. Pettine sat out last season, but is ready to jump back in.

Jason Tarver

It’s hard to say McCloughan isn’t running the show here when it’s his guys that are being interviewed. Tarver, who will interview on Thursday, was a long-time assistant coach in San Francisco and McCloughan knows him well from their days with the 49ers. He later spent a year at Stanford and then was the Raiders defensive coordinator – though with limited success. Jay Gruden said in his season-ending press conference that he should have final say over his staff. Certainly cutting ties with Barry – Gruden’s choice in 2015 – couldn’t have been easy. He’ll be working with his third defensive coordinator in four years when including Jim Haslett. Tarver has run 3-4 and 4-3 defenses so he could go either way on scheme.

Rob Ryan

This one still feels like a front office and head coach doing their due diligence more than anything. Ryan coaches the style of defense Washington is looking for, but he’s had a limited track record of success and never stayed anywhere very long. Players who have been on Ryan’s teams like him as a coach, but that will only get you so far. Ryan was fired along with his brother, Rex, after Buffalo struggled again this season. He’s had stops in Oakland, Cleveland, Dallas and New Orleans. Ryan has always run a base 3-4 defense, for what it’s worth – though it’s also important to remember that might only be 25-to-30 percent of the time.

Follow Redskins reporter Brian McNally on Twitter.

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