Thursday, January 5, 2012
Report: Redskins talk to Raheem Morris
By Dan Graziano
Mike Jones of The Washington Post writes that the Washington Redskins interviewed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris for an assistant coaching position Wednesday. The Bucs fired Morris on Monday after three years with him as their head coach, but Morris is still only 35 years old and is considered a bright defensive coaching mind. There's no reason to think Washington defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, who came in with Shanahan two years ago with the assignment of converting the Redskins from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4, is in any danger. Morris is being looked at as someone who can help coach defensive backs specifically. As Mike writes:
Washington's current defensive backs coach is Bob Slowik, who served as Mike Shanahan's defensive coordinator in Denver in 2007 and 2008. Slowik is coming off his second season with the Redskins. The team's safeties coach, Steve Jackson, is the lone member of the Redskins' defensive coaching staff who wasn’t originally hired by Shanahan and Haslett. Jackson joined the Redskins in 2004 and has coached the safeties in each of the last seven seasons.
Morris has strong ties to some members of the Redskins organization. He and current Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan served as assistants in Tampa Bay in the mid-2000's. Shanahan worked as an offensive quality control assistant, while Morris held the assistant defensive backs coach post. Kyle Shanahan and Morris remain close.
If the Redskins are serious about Morris -- or about any other changes to their coaching staff -- expect things to move quickly. Mike Shanahan told me last week that the team is entering a two-week period in which the coaches meet to offer evaluations of every player on the roster -- offensive coaches assessing defensive players and vice-versa. Any coach who would be new next year would certainly be an important voice in such meetings, especially since he'd bring a potentially valuable outsider's perspective on the Redskins' roster.
The secondary is a potential issue for the Redskins in 2012, as the team could wave good-bye to both of 2011's starting safeties, LaRon Landry and O.J. Atogwe. Landry is headed for free agency and likely surgery on his Achilles, and Atogwe's contract would allow the Redskins to get out of it if they found a better option. The team views DeJon Gomes as a future starter at safety, but it's unclear whether he'd be ready for such a role in 2012.