The Washington Redskins made it official yesterday and hired former San Diego Chargers LB Coach Joe Barry to be their new Defensive Coordinator. Barry replaces Jim Haslett who was with the Redskins for the past 5 seasons. One of the big changes to Haslett's defensive staff last year, was the firing of long-time Mike Shanahan assistant Bob Slowik, who served as the LB coach. Haslett brought back Kirk Olivadotti to coach the inside linebackers, and hired Brian Baker to coach the outside linebackers. Baker was Haslett's defensive line coach when Haslett was the St. Louis Rams Defensive Coordinator from 2006-2008.
Baker put a heavy emphasis on teaching technique, angles, hand fighting, and forcing turnovers during training camp and throughout the year. Ryan Kerrigan consistently praised Baker's influence before, during and after the season. Kerrigan finished the best year of his career with 13.5 sacks(7th in NFL) and 5 forced fumbles(T-1st in NFL). On the other side of the ball, Brian Orakpo had a down year with several injuries, finishing with only .5 sacks and on IR. Orakpo was reportedly not as receptive to Baker's instructions. Rookie Trent Murphy replaced Orakpo and started 8 games, finishing with 2.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles.
The Redskins have not officially announced the move yet, and there has been no word on who, if anyone, will replace Baker.
OLB/DL coach Brian Baker tells @ESPNRadio980 he is NOT being retained by the #Redskins & new DC Joe Barry/Jay Gruden. Did a great job in '14— Chris Russell (@Russellmania980) January 21, 2015
Surprised by Baker. Thought he did a very good job. Seemed to really help Kerrigan in particular...— John Keim (@john_keim) January 21, 2015
Not sure about the others. Wouldn't stun me if the only defensive coach retained is Kirk Olivadotti. We shall see.— John Keim (@john_keim) January 21, 2015
Kerrigan repeatedly credited Baker w/helping him improve pass rush angles, etc. But you know what?Coaches like to bring aboard 'their guys'.— Tarik El-Bashir (@TarikCSN) January 21, 2015
here's what Ryan Kerrigan said in December about baker and why he improved as a pass rusher http://t.co/ZQhOwSCwTb— John Keim (@john_keim) January 21, 2015
“Before, I was straight up the hashes and now I'm cutting off inside,” he said. “That's how I know if I'm rushing on the right angle.”
The sack/fumble on the first play of the game against Indianapolis provided proof. He went straight at the tackle, doing what a rusher must do: quickly close the space between him and the tackle.
“When I got there I saw there was a little space on the edge and I was able to knock his hands down without getting too wide,” Kerrigan said.
Baker drills it into his players every day, with similar pass-rush drills that they performed in training camp.
“Even if it's on a Friday practice and things are lighter," Kerrigan said, "he'll be like, 'Stay on your track.'"