Joe Barry believes the Redskins defensive unit has a good blend of veteran players -- including Dashon Goldson and DeAngelo Hall -- and younger players with talent and opportunity.
It starts with the veterans and works its way down.
The Redskins wanted to make sure they changed their overall culture heading into the 2015 season. While they had players in-house who have led by example throughout their career, the front office wanted to bring in more guys that fit the same description.
Defensively, Dashon Goldson is that guy. Selected by his teammates as the defensive captain for the season, the 30-year old has traits that defensive coordinator Joe Barry has seen in only a few players before.
"I've been around some pretty special guys in my coaching career," Barry said. "Guys that I've specifically coached, guys, you know the Derrick Brookses, the John Lynches, the Eric Weddles, I've been able to be around guys like that. Dashon is in that mold. He really is. He is an absolute professional in the way that he works and the way that he handles himself in the meeting room."
As a nine-year veteran and two-time Pro Bowler, Goldson could easily act as if some of the tedious aspects of being a professional football player – taking notes, hitting the weight room, talking to the rookies – aren't worth his time.
But that's just not who he is.
"If something does happen in practice when the first group goes out, he's not over there just sitting on a cooler," Barry said. "He's grabbing the guys, talking, 'Hey, what happened? What was the breakdown?' I would classify him as a guy that's totally into ball…100 percent. The thing that's great about that is when your marquee, 'star players' are like that, it's infectious. The other guys goes, 'God dang, look how Dashon acts. Look how he's into it.' As veterans, as a young guy, as Kyshoen Jarrett to sit there and see a veteran act like that, prepare like that and go about his day on a daily basis whether it's in the weight room, whether it's in the meeting room, whether it's on the practice field, it's impressive."
High Expectations For DeAngelo HallExcuse Barry for being "greedy" when it comes to what he wants out of his players, but the defensive coordinator wants the best out of his players.
The Washington Redskins announced the hiring of Joe Barry as the team's defensive coordinator on Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015. Take a look back at Barry's NFL career through photos.
When it comes to Hall – a 12-year veteran coming off a season-ending Achilles injury – Barry has liked what he's seen out of him.
Barry really "loved his passion" during the offseason as he was slowly returning to form, and he expects him to do the same now that he's recovering from a toe injury suffered Thursday against the New York Giants.
"He was coaching the young guys," Barry said of Hall. "For me, never being around the guy, you never know how a veteran is going to act. He was great, he was positive. We get to training camp, we had a practice plan with him. I think you always have to do that anytime that you have a guy that is injured. Then he hurts the groin, then hurt his toe. But the thing I love about him is he kept battling and battling through it. He's been great, he is a true professional which is great to see."
Younger Linebackers Showing Progress
It's a common theme among coaches and veteran teammates. Preston Smith is loaded with talent and showed it during the preseason, but he's just learning the process of what it takes to become an outstanding player in the NFL.
"One day he might have it and think he has it and the next day, he shows up and you've got to coerce him to get going," Barry said. "Preston's been, typical rookie progress. I think OTAs was good, I think training camp was good. I think he did some things in the preseason. But he's still a young player. I think he's a kid I'm very excited about. He's got a great skill set. He's a big man, you don't realize. You walk by him and you're like 'oh what is he 245-250'. He's 270 pounds. He's a big athletic kid that is just tipping the surface I think of how good he can be. "
Jackson Jeffcoat, meanwhile, earned his spot on the roster following not just an outstanding preseason effort, but a "phenomenal offseason" as well according to Barry.
"The last five months, I was very impressed with him, through OTAs," Barry said. "The thing that's cool is that training camp is about competition. You hope you get to the level where guys are competing their butts off for those roster spots. He did. Competition is all about showing what you've got. He proved it that he can make plays and he did make plays. Every week he made plays. He makes play every day on the practice field. I'm proud of him."