WASHINGTON — The Redskins’ search for a defensive coordinator continues Thursday morning, and a new name as been added to the mix.
Per several reports, Washington is expected to interview former Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman.
Thurman is added to a group of candidates that already includes Gus Bradley, Rob Ryan, Jim Tomsula, Jason Tarver and Greg Manusky.
Thurman was the defensive coordinator for the Bills for the past two seasons, and he served in the same role for the New York Jets in 2013 and 2014, all under head coach Rex Ryan. Prior to 2013, he served as the secondary coach for the Jets for five seasons and the Baltimore Ravens for four seasons.
Being the defensive coordinator under Ryan, a defensive-minded coach, leads to questions about how much he actually did. He might very well have been in complete control, but he also might have had a very limited role.
His defenses finished in the top 20 in yards in each of his four seasons as coordinator (11th in 2013, 6th in 2014, 19th in 2015 and 2016) and they finished in the top 20 in points in three seasons (19th in 2013, 24th in 2014, 15th in 2015, 16th in 2016). His defenses have never thrived in takeaways, finishing in the top 20 just once (12th in 2015) and in the bottom two twice (31 in 2013, 32 in 2014).
To his credit, the Bills had a solid pass defense last season, something he deserves at least some credit for coming from a secondary background. The Bills had the fewest pass attempts against them of any team in the league, the sixth-fewest passing yards and the fourth-fewest passing touchdowns. However, opposing offenses ran wild on them, with the fourth-most carries and yards, the second-most rushing touchdowns, and the fifth-most yards per attempt.
As several reporters have pointed out, Thurman, 60, marks the first minority candidate the Redskins will interview for the position, though they had attempted to interview Steve Wilks and Romeo Crennel.
As ESPN’s John Keim notes, the Redskins are looking to create a more aggressive defense, and Thurman has helped lead very aggressive defenses while working with Ryan.
Washington is also scheduled to interview San Francisco 49ers outside linebackers coach Jason Tarver for the same position on Thursday.