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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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