- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 5, 2017

With the firing of defensive coordinator Joe Barry, who will the Redskins bring in to shore up the league’s 28th ranked defense next season? It’s just a guessing game for now, but since the Redskins aren’t in the playoffs — thanks in part to that defense — it’s the only game we’ve got.

Five names to consider:

Wade Phillips

The defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos generally tweets out pure gold on his account, @sonofbum, and he had an interesting one following the Broncos’ elimination from playoff contention. While he hadn’t (and still hasn’t) been released, Phillips hinted that the clock is ticking, tweeting “Coaches life—unemployed to SB victory to unemployed in 3 years or less.” The former head coach of the Dallas Cowboys got head-turning results as a defensive coordinator for the Houston Texans and the Broncos for the last five seasons. The Texans ranked second in yards allowed his first season and the Broncos ranked first in his first season there. Phillips also has a connection to Washington. His son, Wes, is the tight ends coach for the Redskins.

Rex Ryan

It’s been eight years since Ryan worked as a coordinator, but the former head coach of the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills delivers when he is given talent on the defensive side of the football. As the defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens from 2005 to 2008, Ryan’s defenses ranked no worse than eighth in the NFL in yards allowed, and finished in the top-three in points allowed three different seasons.

Rob Ryan

If his twin isn’t interested, how about Rob Ryan? Rob’s defensive pedigree isn’t quite as impressive as his brother’s, but he’s the most experienced candidate on the market with 13 years as an NFL defensive coordinator. Rob’s defensive stats overall aren’t particularly special, but his defenses have been particularly strong against the pass. In Rob’s first year with the New Orleans Saints, his secondary allowed the second-fewest passing yards and the sixth-fewest passing touchdowns.

Gus Bradley

The Jacksonville Jaguars head coach for the last four years was fired this season after 14 games and a lackluster 2-12 record. But before Jacksonville, Bradley was the defensive coordinator for four seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, and his stout defense in 2012 allowed the lowest total of points in the NFL. That season is what led to Bradley’s hiring in Jacksonville. There’s a connection to Washington: Bradley and Redskins‘ general manager Scot McCloughan worked together for three seasons in Seattle when McCloughan worked as the Seahawks’ senior personnel executive.

Steve Wilks

The Carolina Panthers’ assistant head coach and defensive backs coach is set to interview for the Los Angeles Rams’ head coaching position, but if that doesn’t work out, he will almost certainly be in line to become a defensive coordinator. Wilks has worked as a NFL defensive backs coach for the last 11 seasons, and in his 2015 season, he lead one of the strongest, if not the strongest, secondaries in the NFL. Star of that unit? Josh Norman. Could a reunion with Norman be enticing enough?

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