- The Washington Times - Monday, January 9, 2017

The search for a replacement for fired Redskins defensive coordinator Joe Barry got serious Monday, with team officials interviewing former Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine.

Pettine, an 11-year NFL coach with experience working alongside defensive guru Rex Ryan, was out of coaching last season after being canned a year ago as the coach in Cleveland, where he’d gone 10-22 over two years.

Before that, Pettine, 50, ran the defenses for the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills for five seasons (four with the Jets, one with the Bills). Pettine has a reputation for creating fierce, stifling defenses. In his first season in New York, the Jets ranked first in yards and points allowed. Pettine’s pass defenses have been particularly strong. With four-time All-NFL cornerback Darrelle Revis on his roster, Pettine’s pass defense in New York ranked inside the top-six in yards allowed in all four seasons. In his one year as the coordinator in Buffalo, Pettine’s pass defense ranked fourth in passing yards allowed and second in interceptions.

Pettine is the first confirmed interview for the Redskins since Barry was released on Jan. 6, but more defensive coordinator candidates are expected at Redskins Park. Washington has permission to interview Carolina Panthers secondary coach Steve Wilks and former Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley is rumored to be in the running as well.

Redskins coach Jay Gruden may also be in the market for someone to guide the offensive side of the ball. Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay interviewed Monday for the head coaching position in San Francisco, and has also been mentioned as a candidate in connection with other openings around the league.

The youngest offensive coordinator in the NFL, McVay, 30, has worked with Washington for the last seven seasons, the last three as the team’s offensive coordinator. This season, he helped lead the Redskins to the league’s third-ranked offense in total yards and the 12th-highest scoring unit in the NFL.

McVay has roots with the 49ers — he is the grandson of former 49ers executive John McVay — but he’s also interviewed for the top job with the Los Angeles Rams.

The 49ers have interviewed six other candidates for their coaching vacancy, including highly sought-after New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott and former Redskins and current Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. The Rams themselves have also interviewed eight other candidates for the position.

One knock on McVay, who turns 31 later this month, will be his age. While he has served as an NFL coach in some capacity for seven seasons, he would be one of the youngest head coaches in league history — and the youngest if he were to sign a deal Tuesday.

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