Redskins hire Chargers LB coach Barry as defensive coordinator
The Washington Redskins’ meandering search for a defensive coordinator ended Tuesday with the hiring of Joe Barry, the linebackers coach for the San Diego Chargers who was once in charge of the only 0-16 defense in NFL history.
Barry was chosen to replace Jim Haslett, who departed three weeks ago after a 4-12 season. The Redskins’ busy offseason has also included the additions of Scot McCloughan as general manager and Bill Callahan as offensive line coach.
The Redskins cast a wide net searching for Haslett’s replacement. Eric Mangini, Wade Phillips, Ed Donatell and Raheem Morris were among the candidates, but Barry emerged as the favorite until San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio became available last week. Washington heavily recruited Fangio, hosting him for two days over the weekend, but he choose to take an offer from the Chicago Bears.
"We talked to Vic, and we knew he had a lot of offers on the table," coach Jay Gruden told reporters at a Senior Bowl practice in Mobile, Alabama. "We just wanted to get him in and see what he was all about so he could see our situation, and he chose to go to Chicago. As far as the offer is concerned, we knew it was kind of a long shot him coming anyway.
"Because obviously he’s a great candidate and great football coach, it would’ve been stupid for us not to reach out and try to get him."
Barry was the defensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions for two seasons, including the 2008 winless team that allowed 517 points — second-most in a single season in league history. Barry and head coach Rod Marinelli were among those dismissed after the 0-16 debacle.
"I think it’s molded him," Gruden said. "One thing we know is he can handle adversity. That’s important. He’s walking into a situation here where we’re going to have some adversity, and I know he can handle it. He’s a tough guy, committed guy, a loyal guy, and I think he’s a good fit for us.
"Other coaches have had some rough patches in their careers, too. It’s not just him. Every guy we interviewed, there’s been a season or two that haven’t been perfect. It’s how you react that makes you a better coach."
After the Lions, Barry returned to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to reclaim to the job as linebackers coach that he previously held from 2001-06. Barry’s time in Tampa Bay allowed him to cross paths with several people currently in the Redskins organization, including team president Bruce Allen, Gruden and secondary coach Raheem Morris.
Barry, 44, also coached linebackers in college for a year at Southern Cal (2010) and has been with the Chargers since 2011.
He takes control of a defense that finished 29th in points allowed this season. The defensive line is aging, the safety position needs an overhaul, and linebacker Ryan Kerrigan (13 1/2) was the only player who had a standout year.
Barry’s hiring indicates that the Redskins will continue to run a 3-4 scheme, which he also used in San Diego.
Gruden said he and Barry will discuss the makeup of the rest of the defensive staff next week.