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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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Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTuneshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans. 

Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.

His rookie year, however, was a different matter.

The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.

A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!