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Need to Know: Why did the Redskins hire Joe Barry?

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Need to Know: Why did the Redskins hire Joe Barry?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, January 23, 97 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock for the first round of the NFL draft.

Question of the day

We’re changing up the format of Need to Know for the offseason. Every day I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Today’s question is from Twitter:

The Redskins’ decision to hire Joe Barry certainly was a controversial move, one widely criticized by fans and by some in the media. I wasn’t on the inside of this decision, only a select few were. All I can do is try to read the tea leaves and also go on my knowledge of how things work around the NFL.

Here are some of the reasons why they went with Barry:

—Here is Jay Gruden’s explanation for the hire: “He brings energy. Commitment to being great,” Gruden said in Mobile. “I like what he’s done in his career – how he’s progressed as a football coach: going to USC and now he’s in the 3-4 system with San Diego. Really have a great appreciation for what they’ve done in San Diego. They get the most out of their players, have a good scheme.”

—The talk around Redskins Park was that the Redskins wanted to go with someone younger than Wade Phillips, who will be 68 before training camp starts. They wanted someone who could better relate to younger players. Phillips certainly has a great resume but that’s not everything. And while many noted that no other teams seemed to be after Barry to hire him as their defensive coordinator, look at Phillips’ situation. In the past two NFL hiring cycles I believe that around half of the NFL teams have hired new defensive coordinators and Phillips remains without a job. For whatever reason, the Redskins weren’t the only team to find that Phillips doesn’t fit what they are looking for.

—With Barry’s Tampa Bay connections, was there an element of cronyism involved? Probably. But I suspect that Barry benefitted more from the fact that Gruden worked on the same Bucs staff as him, not the fact that Bruce Allen was the general manager in Tampa. Regardless, I’d say that about 60 to 75 percent of NFL coaching hires involve one guy hiring another guy he’s worked with before and there are only one or two degrees of separation involved in the rest of them. These people have to spend literally thousands of hours together from training camp through the season and if there are personality clashes the wheels can come off of the operation. That’s why so many coaches prefer to go with a known quantity.

—What about Vic Fangio? It seemed that he’d rather work for John Fox in Chicago. That could be a better situation for him to get the NFL head coaching job he wants. Fangio not getting a formal offer is just a technicality. Had he called back on Monday or Tuesday and said that he wanted to talk more about the job they would have come up with an offer quickly.

—Finally, Barry had a great interview. Many fans scoff at that as a factor but Gruden like the vision he laid out for the Redskins’ defense. Wasn’t the interview kind of important when you got your current job?

There is plenty of cause for skepticism about the hire. Not much that this organization has done has gone right for the last couple of decades. Fans can be mad about it or they can wait and see.

Timeline

—It’s been 26 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 233 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 27; NFL free agency starts 46; 2015 NFL Draft 97

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In case you missed it

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Peter King, Ian Rapoport say Redskins can't afford to let Kirk Cousins get away

Peter King, Ian Rapoport say Redskins can't afford to let Kirk Cousins get away

After he signed the franchise tag a couple of weeks ago, the speculation, rumors and, for some fans, panic around Kirk Cousins has largely quieted down.

The Redskins can ink their quarterback to a long-term deal any time between now and July 15, but talks may not pick up until summer rolls around. A trade can also occur, but no recent reports have indicated that one is in the works.

Therefore, it currently looks like Cousins and the franchise that drafted him back in 2012 will be together for at least one more season. And according to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, that's a wise choice by the Burgundy and Gold.

"I think they did the absolute right thing in making sure Kirk Cousins is gonna be their quarterback this year," King told CSN Redskins Insider JP Finlay at the NFL owner's meetings in Phoenix. "I absolutely, unequivocally would not trade him. That's a white flag." 

As for why King wouldn't move on from No. 8, his explanation was very simple.

"You don't get rid of a guy who's got the second-most passing yards in football over the last two years," he said.

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Finlay also gathered input on the Redskins' and Cousins' relationship from the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, who's another major voice in the league's media. Rapoport first stated that he would be "beyond stunned" if the 28-year-old was not in D.C. for the 2017 campaign and then laid out how he envisions the year unfolding.

"I do not believe he will sign the extension before the season," he said. "So, he's going to go out there, play on another one-year deal, bet on himself like he did last year. You hope it's the same thing. And then we'll see, because I know there's some talk about him not signing an extension — I'm not so sure about that. Everyone has a price, right?"

"If they offer him $25 [million] a year, Andrew Luck's deal, I would imagine plans would change pretty quickly, right?" Rapoport continued. "So you get to the end of the season, assess where you are, assess the value and see if you can make a business deal. It's terrible to have to pay so much money to your quarterback. The only worse thing is not being able to pay so much money to your quarterback." 

King and Rapoport are clearly both in agreement that losing their rising signal caller would be a huge blow to the Redskins. But while King says Washington should keep Cousins because of his production, Rapoport took a different route when concluding how the negotiations will end up.

"Really good quarterbacks never leave their team. It just never happens," he said. "So I would think there's a way to work this out."

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Josh Doctson's short tweet delivers good news for Redskins

Josh Doctson's short tweet delivers good news for Redskins

Josh Doctson’s tweet left 136 characters on the table but he didn’t need any more to deliver some good news to Redskins fans.

The wide receiver was the Redskins’ top pick in the 2016 draft. At 6-2 and an ability to high point the ball he repeatedly demonstrated at TCU, it was hoped he would add a different dimension to the Redskins’ fast but relatively short receiving corps.

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But it didn’t happen. An Achilles tendon injury flared up during preseason activities and he was very limited in OTAs. He was on the PUP list during training camp and the preseason games. Doctson was on the 53-man roster to start the season but after 31 snaps and one reception in two games he was shut down for the season.

Jay Gruden was apparently frustrated by the injury and throughout the season he wasn’t sure when Doctson would be ready.

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But last month via social media Docston sent out some pictures of him doing some strenuous work at Redskins Park. It appears that he was in Tampa today working with Jon Gruden and some other Redskins. The tweet from Doctson came a short time after this picture from one of Terrelle Pryor’s social media accounts was posted.

It should be noted that doing work in shorts a T-shirts does not equal being effective in an NFL regular season game. But it’s a good first step and considering Doctson barely took any steps last year that’s a good development.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.