NFL Redskins 

Redskins fill vacant spots on caching staff

The Washington Redskins announced on Monday that they have promoted OLB coach Greg Manusky and QBs coach Matt Cavanaugh to defensive and offensive coordinators respectively. In addition to the promotions, they announced the hiring of Jim Tomsula as the defensive line coach and Kevin O’Connell as the new Quarterback  coach.

Here’s a brief background of each addition/promotion for the Redskins:

  • Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky is on his 4th stint as a defensive coordinator, with his last stop in Indianapolis. Manusky is a 3-4 coach that runs a hybrid mix and sporadically had successful seasons in his 9 years as a coordinator. Here is his history via pro-football-reference.  
  • While having 8 years experience as an offensive coordinator with the Bears and Ravens, Cavanaugh is a well respected QB coach in the NFL. He manned the position for the Jets from 2009-2012, Bears from 2013-2014, and Redskins from 2015-2016. This promotion makes this his third stint as a offensive coordinator.


  • Kevin O’Connell (31) is 5 year pro in the NFL, was QBs coach with Browns in 2015 and worked on the 49ers’ staff in 2016.


  • Jim Tomsula is one of the premier defensive line coaches in the NFL, who’s spent his entire coaching career with the San Francisco 49ers’ from 2007-2015. He was their defensive line coach from 2007-2014, with an interim head coach stint in 2010 and a head coaching stint in 2015. Here is an excerpt from a bleacher report article on Tomsula’s impact to the 49ers’ defensive line and defense overall. 

When looking at these additions, specifically to the coordinator position, it appears that the Redskins are “all-in” on a full defensive revamp. Manusky is a guy that the front office trust, as well as head coach Jay Gruden and the players on his defense. Manusky’s unit (OLBs) produced 24 sacks of the teams 38 overall (tied for 7th in NFL), and got production out of Trent Murphy (career high 8 sacks and 3 forced fumbles), a third year player who was on his last leg with the team heading into the 2016 season.

While Preston Smith was extremely underwhelming rushing the passer producing just 5 sacks, he got the most out of his group overall and reviving the bad start to Murphy’s professional career. After years of neglect on the defensive side of the ball, years that goes beyond the Gruden era, General Manager Scot McCloughan will make this off-season’s priority to build this defense and get young talent in here that can be molded and developed. Expect a good mix of free agent talent and high round investments on the defensive side of the football. Manusky is getting as much help on his staff and on-field talent as possible to make sure his stint here is a long-lasting stint.

With a Cavanaugh promotion on the offensive side of the ball, expect Jay Gruden to be more hands on in a pivotal year for the head coach. Cavanuagh duties more likely than not will be making sure Gruden’s offense is in their right position, execute in practice, and make sure they are well-prepared come game time via game planning and scripting the first set of plays for Gruden. Jay will likely call the plays for his offense that got former offensive coordinator Sean McVay a promotion to head coach.

Gruden’s offense is schematically one of the best in the NFL and is one of the reasons he landed here in Washington, he should re-take control of his offense in a year that will make or break his future here in Washington. There will be much change to the team overall in the 2017 off-season, it will be up to Jay to maintain a sense of stability for his team. A multitude of players have developed well under Gruden’s leadership like Spencer Long, Jamison Crowder, and Kirk Cousins. The offense will see some type of change when decisions must be made on Cousins, Garcon, and Jacksons future so development must continue to be a forte of Gruden while signing or drafting penitential replacements for said players. Jay’s former staff and players have given him much praise for empowering his assistants and trusting them to do their jobs, but in a pivotal year where he has to perform after a 2016 season that was perceived as a late season meltdown Jay should want to control his own destiny.


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