WASHINGTON — The Redskins are down to six candidates for defensive coordinator after one of their top targets decided to join the Los Angeles Chargers on Friday.
Gus Bradley, coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars before he was fired last month, will reportedly be the new defensive coordinator on Anthony Lynn’s staff with the Los Angeles Chargers.
Bradley, 50, interviewed with Washington on Jan. 11. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and multiple media reports, Bradley chose the Chargers over the San Francisco 49ers. That team, of course, doesn’t have a general manager or a coach — though Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is widely expected to get that job once his team’s season ends.
That leaves Washington choosing from the six other candidates it has brought in. The remaining choices:
Sat out last season after being fired by the Cleveland Browns, but Pettine is ready to get back into the mix. He has not been listed in any other defensive coordinator search so it appears his options are limited. Part of the Rex Ryan coaching tree. Pettine was an assistant coach in Baltimore from 2002 to 2008 with Ryan and joined his staff as defensive coordinator with the New York Jets in 2009. Pettine had a good track record in New York. You could argue he’s had the most success of any candidate on this list. He also spent a year in 2013 as the defensive coordinator in Buffalo. Runs a 3-4 defense. Ignore the lack of success in Cleveland. Pettine isn’t the only one to have failed there as a head coach.
Interviewed: Jan. 9
The architect of Seattle’s powerhouse defenses, Bradley failed in Jacksonville. But he was in demand as a coordinator and interviewed in San Diego/Los Angeles and San Francisco after leaving Ashburn. The 49ers still don’t have a coach or a general manager — at least not officially. Bradley was linked to Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable. But Cable pulled out of the running in San Francisco and Bradley appeared unwilling to attach himself to Shanahan. He is close to new Chargers coach Anthony Lynn.
Interviewed: Jan. 11
Accepted: Los Angles Chargers
Ryan has a limited track record of success and has never stayed in one place very long with stops in Oakland, Cleveland, Dallas and New Orleans. The Redskins helped get him fired from that Saints gig after a blowout win two years ago. Runs a base 3-4 defense and coaches the attacking style the Redskins are looking for. Fired by Buffalo along with twin brother Rex Ryan last month. This one seems like a long shot.
Interviewed: Jan. 16
Always considered a likely candidate because he was with Washington last season and has long ties to GM Scot McCloughan as the defensive coordinator from 2007 to 2010 in San Francisco. No, Manusky hasn’t had a ton of success as a coordinator. The Chargers fired him after one year in 2011. He signed on with Indianapolis in 2012 and never had much talent to work with there before the Colts made a change after the 2015 season. Knows the Redskins personnel after a year on staff. That would help him hit the ground running. No matter who gets this job, the front office has to provide more to work with.
Interviewed: Jan. 17
So many ties bind these candidates. Pagano is close friends with Manusky and worked under him with the Chargers before taking over in 2012. There’s a reason Manusky landed in Indianapolis with Pagano’s brother, Chuck — the Colts’ head coach. Pagano had boom-or-bust defenses in San Diego with two top-10 finishes, but two years ranked 20th or lower. The Chargers were sixth in forced turnovers (28) in 2016. There are things to like here. Pagano was a long-time assistant there from 2002 to 2016 before he was fired and worked for three different head coaches (Marty Schottenheimer, Norv Turner, Mike McCoy). He survived every turnover because he was well respected and knew his stuff.
Interviewed: Jan. 18
Another coach with long ties to McCloughan. Tarver was an offensive assistant in San Francisco before switching to defense in 2002. His track record as a coordinator is shorter than some of the other candidates. Tarver was defensive coordinator at Stanford in 2011 and took that same job with Oakland in 2012. But after showing nice improvement in Tarver’s first season, the Raiders regressed. Has worked in 4-3 and 3-4 schemes so, depending on what Washington wants, might be more pliable than some others on this list.
Interviewed: Jan. 19
Another one from the Rex Ryan Tree. Thurman was on those Baltimore Ravens staffs with Ryan and Mike Pettine last decade. He eventually succeeded Pettine as the Jets defensive coordinator in 2013 and after two years followed Ryan to Buffalo. But Rob Ryan supplanted Thurman last year with the Bills. He maintained his title — defensive coordinator — but Rob Ryan was the assistant head coach/defense. There were a few too many cooks in that kitchen. Thurman is the only minority candidate on this list. He had two solid groups in New York, continuing in the footsteps of Pettine. The Jets were 11th in yards allowed per game in 2013 (334.9) and sixth in 2014 (327.2). Buffalo was fourth in 2015 (356.4) under Thurman before Rob Ryan was added to the staff. The Bills dropped to 19th (357.0).
Interviewed: Jan. 20
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