Assessing the Redskins coaching options: 49ers DC Robert Saleh
How Saleh would fit in with the Redskins
It’s easy to see how Saleh would fit in with the Redskins. As it stands, their defense has strong personnel in the front seven. They have an immensely talented defensive line, and that’s where Saleh would start doing his work.
With talented pass rushers like Matt Ioannidis, Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Montez Sweat, and Ryan Kerrigan all at his disposal, Saleh would be right at home. In San Francisco with a plethora of first-round options on the defensive line, Saleh has built an attacking-style unit up front. They dominate when rushing the passer. Part of that is talent and part of that is coaching. But it’s easy to see Saleh replicating his success with this group of players.
Elsewhere, Saleh has background as a linebackers coach, so perhaps he could get the most out of the uber-athletic Cole Holcomb and the heady Shaun Dion Hamilton. Both have flashed at times this year and Jon Bostic’s play has been good as well. But perhaps Saleh could also work his magic on a mid-round linebacker prospect like he did with Fred Warner in San Francisco. That could really help the Redskins to be stout up the middle.
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It’s also noteworthy that Saleh’s defense in San Francisco is a 4-3 unit, so he could bring that to Washington. The Redskins have run a 3-4 base unit for a while now and while they play plenty of 4-3 concepts, especially in the nickel, it may behoove them to switch to a 4-3 full time to perfect things from that standpoint. And, it would prevent them from constantly dropping pass rushers into coverage. So, from that standpoint, Saleh’s fresh take could help to spark the team.
So too could Saleh’s energy. He’s as fiery as they come on the sideline for the 49ers and he genuinely cares about his team’s performance. Even when the Niners are winning big, he celebrates big plays and gets up close and personal with his defense. The Redskins D, which has been lackadaisical at times under Greg Manusky, could use a jolt of energy like that.
From scheme to energy to coaching, it certainly seems like Saleh could do a lot with the defense. The performance of the offense would be more of an unknown, but if Saleh can get a solid enough offensive coordinator, that shouldn’t be too much of a worry.