Despite conducting interviews that suggested a desire to do otherwise, the Redskins will likely retain defensive coordinator Greg Manusky for the 2019 season.
Washington Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Manusky earned himself a second season in his position, due in part to Manusky’s aggressive scheme, which flashed dominance on occasion in 2017, and in part to the injuries suffered by the team’s defensive core in the same year.
Manuksy was given an opportunity to cement his status as the team’s defensive coordinator, and for a while, it looked like he would do so in 2018. His unit started out hot, limiting some of the league’s best rushers, and showing a propensity for opportunistic plays in the secondary.
That opportunistic production proved to be unsustainable, however. In the second half of the season, after acquiring Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and inserting him into the starting lineup, the defense crumbled. By season’s end, a unit that had started out in the top five statistically allowed the fifteenth-most total yards to opposing offenses. The run defense, after a torrid start, ended up allowing 116.3 yards per game, and the pass defense was around league average as well.
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The numbers aren’t terrible, but the fact is this: Greg Manusky’s scheme did not stymy, and may have been part of the cause, of a stark regression suffered by the Redskins defense over the course of sixteen games; a defense which had the talent to succeed. The loss of Quinton Dunbar certainly hurt, but that should not be an excuse. Manusky frequently misused his players, and the resulting inefficiency cost Washington games.
Calls for Manusky to be relieved of his duties carried into the offseason, but the Redskins never found clarity there. They interviewed defensive coordinator candidates before a job was even open, and now, it’s been reported by Kareem Copeland of the Washington Post that Manusky is likely to remain the team’s defensive coordinator for 2019.
In Copeland’s article, which corresponded with the report, the Redskins’ interviews were quoted as being part of a search for “different perspectives” to assist Manusky, rather than to actually consider anyone new for the job.
I’ll let you decide if you want to believe that.
The quote went on to say that Jay Gruden prefers to keep Manusky for at least this coming season, in order to preserve continuity for the young defensive core that flashed in 2018.
That line of thought has some merit, but it still doesn’t reconcile Manusky’s poor performance down the stretch and the subsequent interviews. The Redskins brought in some of the most popular names on the market, and some defensive minds proven to be great in Todd Bowles and Steve Wilks.
To assert that the Redskins weren’t interested in making an upgrade seems fallacious, at the very least. It would be very characteristic of the Redskins’ front office to disguise a failed defensive coordinator search as a search for knowledge instead. They openly disrespected Manusky by interviewing candidates for his current job, inferring they didn’t want him anymore. Then they realized no one else wanted their defensive coordinator job. Stating otherwise in a quote could be a way of saving face.
Whatever the case, however, no upgrade will come. Instead, Manusky will be given a chance to learn and improve in 2019. Sometimes, continuity helps. Sometimes, it only makes problems more apparent. In 2019, Manusky will be further exposed, for better or worse.