Redskins shake up coaching staff

Ex-Bucs coach Morris comes aboard; two assistants dismissed

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Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan on Wednesday shook up his coaching staff in the wake of his second last-place finish in as many seasons.

Raheem Morris, the recently deposed head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, agreed to become the Redskins‘ defensive backs coach, two sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed on the condition of anonymity.

Safeties coach Steve Jackson and wide recievers coach Keenan McCardell were informed they would not be retained, a source confirmed. The Washington Post first reported those departures.

A Redskins spokesman would not comment on any of the moves.

Morris, 35, reunites in Washington with Redskins general manger Bruce Allen and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. The latter was an offensive quality control coach for the Buccaneers in 2004 and ‘05, the same years Morris was an assistant defensive backs coach there. Allen was Tampa Bay’s GM from 2004 through 2008, so he also is well-acquainted with Morris.

Morris will be Washington’s defensive backs coach, one source said. However, the fate of incumbent defensive backs coach Bob Slowik was unclear as of Wednesday night.

Morris was interested in joining the Minnesota Vikings as their defensive coordinator and spoke to them last week about that possibility, multiple sources said.

Jackson had been with the Redskins since 2004, tying him for the longest tenure among Washington assistants with special teams coordinator Danny Smith. Jackson joined the team under former defensive coordinator Greg Williams.

Late in the 2011 season, though, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett identified safety as a problem area, saying the team needed stability at the position. Projected starters LaRon Landry (Achilles tendon, hamstring) and Oshiomogho Atogwe (knee) were hampered by injuries.

Coaches also recently expressed a need for playmaking receievers. Production from McCardell’s receiving corps was uneven in 2011.

Top wideout Santana Moss missed four games with a hand injury. He also averaged only 3.8 yards after the catch, significantly lower than his averages over 5 yards the previous three seasons.

Anthony Armstrong, who finished 2010, as a starter, had only 103 receiving yards this season, compared to 871 the year before.

Veteran receiver Jabar Gaffney was a bright spot, though. He had 68 catches for 947 yards and tied a career-high with five touchdowns.

NOTE: Linebacker London Fletcher is the recipient of the Bart Starr Award, which honors an NFL player for outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community. Fletcher will get the award in Indianapolis on Feb. 4, the day before the Super Bowl.

The award is voted on by the league’s players. Other finalists were Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten.

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