Redskins DC Greg Manusky must cut down on inefficient personnel use

SAN FRANCISCO - 2009: Greg Manusky of the San Francisco 49ers poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in San Francisco, California. (Photo by NFL Photos)
SAN FRANCISCO - 2009: Greg Manusky of the San Francisco 49ers poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in San Francisco, California. (Photo by NFL Photos) /

The Redskins, under Dan Snyder, haven’t often been known for giving second chances. But this offseason, they gave two particularly polarizing coaches a chance for redemption.

There were at least reports that the Washington Redskins had tried to find a replacement for Greg Manusky. In an awkward saga, they flirted with potential candidates, while Manusky still had the job, and veiled it under the guise of simple intelligence gathering.

No one outside of the organization will ever know the unfiltered truth about what happened in the 2019 offseason, but from a certain standpoint, it certainly looked like the team was trying to move on from Greg Manusky. They overhauled most of his defensive staff, and lost other coaches. They brought in Todd Bowles, and were rumored to be interested in Gregg Williams.

Despite that interest, it’s now June, and Greg Manusky is still the Redskins defensive coordinator. And much like Jay Gruden, Manusky has a chance to change his perception in Washington. Older coaches can be set in their ways, but Manusky needs to cut down on inefficient use of defensive personnel, if he wants to keep his job past 2019.

Manusky’s defensive scheme wasn’t always frowned upon in Washington. In his first season at defensive coordinator, injuries heavily impacted the team’s defensive unit, and amidst that inclement situational variance, Manusky’s aggressive scheme still generated its own flashes. In 2018, however, the defense remained healthy, relative to the offense, and still regressed over the course of the season.

Some of that regression can be attributed to personnel, but inefficient scheming on Manusky’s part is also to blame. Manusky sometimes displayed a relative lack of situational awareness as a coordinator. He lined up edge rushers Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith in coverage on occasion, creating a mismatch for the offense, and he also lined up defensive backs in soft coverage on third and short on numerous occasions, giving the offense a massive buffer to work with.

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In 2019, Manusky has to play his players to their strengths, and not to their weaknesses. Let the cornerbacks press against the first down line on short, crucial downs, and don’t forfeit space. Let Kerrigan remain in his niche, on the line (Montez Sweat has the potential to better fit the coverage mold of a 3-4 outside linebacker). And always be flexible with situational awareness. These traits, to a degree, are intrinsic, and not acquired over time. But Manusky has no choice but to change in 2019. Otherwise, someone else will take his place.