With the promotion of Greg Manusky to defensive coordinator, the Redskins have (literally) their man in place for 2017. Simultaneously, they announced that quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh would be taking the offensive reins from the departed Sean McVay.
Even though the department heads are settled, there are still some holes on the staff that need filling, including finding a replacement for defensive backs coach, Perry Fewell, who was among those early-January firings.
Also, the Los Angeles Rams have rumored interest in Redskins tight ends coach Wes Phillips for their own, offensive coordinator position. Phillips would reunite with McVay, who was recently-hired to become the Ram’s head coach, as well as his father, Wade.
The move makes perfect sense – at least from the nepotism department – but would leave the Redskins with yet another position to lock down. That’s an issue, for an organization that, of late, has seemed to prioritize continuity.
But, what if they could fill two of those positions from within the family?
The names might require some unorthodox-thinking, but could prove fruitful in time, if given the opportunity. They are DeAngelo Hall and Chris Cooley.
Now, before you scream “HOMER” at the top of your lungs, take a minute to think about the responsibilities that position coaches actually perform. In theory, they are position gurus, savants who know the in and out’s of every minute detail.
While there are the Bill Callahan’s of the world, the reality is that most position coaches function basically as one part teacher, one part therapist and one part cheerleader.
Cooley last played in 2012. He retired holding most of the franchise’s offensive records for tight ends (many, if all goes right, will be eclipsed by current stud, Jordan Reed).
He went into broadcasting, where he initially rankled some of his former-teammates with his critical comments. However, enough time has passed that the roster has turned over several times. Few players remain, from the last time Cooley donned pads.
Hall is a different story. He is 33, still just a few years removed from his prime. The past three seasons, however, have been injury-marred campaigns for the Virginia Tech product.
He is under contract for 2017, but is on the chopping block of players-likely-to-be-cut, this off-season. He has expressed interest in helping the Redskins, in some capacity. What better way than to be in charge of the unit for which he has been the spiritual leader of, the past decade?
Critics will point to Cooley and Hall’s complete lack of coaching experience. They will be correct in that assessment, but they will be incorrect in calling that factor damning.
Take the recently-ousted Perry Fewell, for example. Before serving as the Skins’ DBC, Fewell had nearly two decade’s worth of NFL coaching experience – including a stint as the interim head coach in Buffalo.
Despite the long resume, it didn’t do the Redskins a whole lot of good. Washington allowed 258.1 passing yards per game, last season, which ranked them 25th in the league. In 2015, they allowed – wouldn’t you know it – 258 yards.
On the opposite side of the coin, Sean McVay was just 24 when he was hired by the Redskins.
“This 24-year-old kid came in and knew everything about everything,” said Cooley himself, of McVay.
Despite his silly, on-air persona and easy-going nature, Cooley has demonstrated he knows the game of football through his radio show breakdowns of Redskins games, which are done in painstaking-depth and detail.
Cooley has not actively championed for a coaching role, and yet doesn’t deny interest when pressed on-air. What better way for him to break into coaching than overseeing the position he excelled at?
Hall has come a long way since being drafted by the Falcons in 2004. He was once known for his gambling style of play: going for interceptions and getting burned in coverage as a result.
While he never became a truly elite corner, he has been a mainstay of the Redskins defense since 2008, and has thus gained respect for his tenure. Interviews clearly show a man who has grown into and now cherishes a leadership role.
A secondary that was plagued by undisciplined-play needs a voice that will be listened to and respected. Hall could be that voice.
Both players bleed Burgundy and Gold, another value that shouldn’t be too-quickly discarded. It would be a bit out-of-the-box, but if Gruden is truly interested in keeping things in house, these might be moves to consider.