The Redskins have filled their void at special teams coordinator.
The Washington Redskins allowed incumbent special teams coordinator Ben Kowitca, who’d held his position with Washington for five years, to interview for the same job with the Atlanta Falcons. Kowitca was hired promptly by the Falcons, opening a void for the Redskins at the position of special teams coordinator.
In an offseason where change on the coaching staff was expected in fairly large amounts, little change has occurred in Washington. Greg Manusky is expected to return as defensive coordinator, and Jay Gruden will reprise his role as the Redskins’ head coach for a sixth consecutive season.
In fact, the only real change that’s confirmed to have occurred is at special teams coordinator. Kowitca is out, and now, we know who his replacement will be. Per the Washington Redskins official Twitter account, the team has hired Nate Kaczor as the new special teams coordinator.
Kaczor spent his last three seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and before that, he was in Tennessee. According to Football Outsiders, Kaczor’s unit in Tampa Bay, based on a number of advanced metrics, never ranked above No. 20 in the NFL in his time there. In 2016, he peaked at No. 20, and over the span of 2017 and 2018, Kaczor’s unit ranked No. 29 in the NFL. In contrast, Kowitca’s special teams unit, in 2018, was ranked No. 8 in the league.
There’s also a startling trend of kicker inconsistency under Kaczor, who presided over the carousel in Tampa Bay that featured Roberto Aguayo, Nick Folk, Chandler Catanzaro, and Cairo Santos. While it’s unclear how much impact a special teams coordinator has on kicker performance, the association is something to consider. Dustin Hopkins should be fine, but if he regresses, it would be a continuum of Kaczor’s trend.
It’s unclear why Washington chose Kaczor for this job. With Kaczor being from Tampa Bay, a vague Bruce Allen connection could be at play. It’s also no secret that the Redskins aren’t the most coveted destination for coaches. They’ve been passed over by many outside candidates for other jobs, and several of their own coaches have requested to interview elsewhere, including Kowitca. Whatever the case, the Redskins have made their first official new hire of the offseason, and it appears to be a downgrade.