Current Redskins Role: Defensive Backs Coach (1st year)
Experience as a Player: 4 years (defensive back, Virginia Tech), 2 years (safety, Minnesota Vikings)
Coaching Highlights: Defensive Backs Coach (2000-2001, Maine), Defensive Backs Coach (2002-2003, Connecticut), Asst. Defensive Backs Coach (2004-2005, Chicago Bears), Defensive Secondary Coach and Passing Game Coordinator (2006-2015 and 2013-2015, Virginia Tech)
What He Brings to the Team: Like many on the Redskins’ staff, Torrian Gray’s coaching experience spans both the collegiate and the professional levels. Gray can also, however, add the valuable lessons learned from having spent time as being an NFL player to his resume; he was a promising safety for the Vikings until a knee injury ended his career. It’s the combination of all those experiences that helped create the "hands-on, fundamental, technique guy" that Gruden was excited to bring on this season. Even a cursory glance at Gray’s coaching reveals those characteristics.
Gray pays attention to his players, pointing out small but integral tweaks that need to be made to a defender’s form. It’s this appraoch to the game that helped him keep Virginia Tech, his alma mater, ranked 1st in the nation in opposing quarterbacks’ pass completion rate (50.4%) and 2nd in opponents’ passing yards per game and opponents’ passer rating during his decade in Blacksburg. With such a young defensive backfield in Washington (half the corners and safeties on the roster have spent fewer than two years at the pro level), Gray’s focus on the little details is key, and it’s already paying dividends. Players like Montae Nicholson and Kendall Fuller are quickly developing, making solid contributions and flashing for big plays, like last week’s two interceptions against the Oakland Raiders. In pulling Gray away from Florida this season, The Redskins seem to have added an important addition to the staff that may finally help turn a long-inconsistent unit into a top defensive force.
Fun Fact: This isn’t Gray’s first time coaching Kendall Fuller, who is the youngest of four Fuller brothers to go to Virginia Tech and then play in the NFL; he was Fuller’s coach during the cornerback’s three years as a Hokie (2013-2015).
Which young defensive back currently under Gray’s tutelage do you think will grow this most this year?
This poll is closed