Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden on Monday explained the team's six coaching moves following an extensive evaluation process.
The Washington Redskins on Monday announced a bevy of coaching moves, as they promoted Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator, Greg Manusky to defensive coordinator and Chad Englehart to head strength and conditionally.
The team also hired Kevin O'Connell to be the new quarterbacks coach, Jim Tomsula as the defensive line coach and Kavan Latham as an assistant strength and conditioning coach.
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden spoke about the coaching decisions on Monday, first touching on the promotion of Manusky after a season as the team's outside linebackers coach. He interviewed for the position last week – just one of a handful of experienced coaches that were considered.
"Well, it was tough," Gruden said on "Redskins Nation." "We did a lot of work, especially on the defensive side of the ball. We interviewed some very good coaches, very good. I learned a lot of football in the last week and a half and I think we could have gone a lot of different ways. But the way we felt most comfortable was hiring Greg Manusky."
One of the reasons why Manusky was ultimately named to the positon was his trust in the players the Redskins already have in-house.
"I think first of all, Greg sold me because he was sold on the players we had," Gruden said. "I think he has a strong belief in the guys that we have and I think he's a great motivator and he's a good developer of talent. That's what you're looking for. You've got to be able to motivate these cats. They have to want to play for the coach and I think we get that with Greg. And then adding Jim Tomsula with him is a great addition also. But how much different? I think we're going to play with a lot more passion, play hard and go from there."
Along with Manusky, the team also brought in Tomsula. The two worked together for the San Francisco 49ers from 2007-10. Manusky was defensive coordinator for those four seasons while Tomsula worked with the defensive line.
"It was a great combination having those two guys," Gruden said. "He's a great teacher of the defensive line. That's what he wants to do, he wants to coach defensive line. He had an opportunity to be a head coach, but he wants to be the defensive line room. Everything that we've heard and learned from him is he can motivate defensive linemen and get them to play hard and that's half the battle."
Cavanaugh's experience is important
Take a look at photos of the Redskins Offensive Coordinator, Matt Cavanaugh.
The Redskins had a few offensive assistant coaches from the last few seasons that could have been named offensive coordinator, but the decision was made to promote Cavanaugh.
Prior to being Washington's quarterbacks coach for the last two seasons, he was previously an offensive coordinator for both the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets.
"Promoting Matt Cavanaugh was easy: we're not going to make wholesale changes offensively," Gruden said. "It's a system we brought from Cincinnati; we added some things, Sean [McVay] added some things, but we feel good where we are offensively and there's no reason to make a whole lot of changes. Now we're going to critique what we did last year, get a lot better especially in the red zone, but I feel good where Matt is."
Replacing Cavanaugh as quarterbacks coach is O'Connell, who not only played in the NFL for five seasons but has worked in different offensive schemes.
"He's been around; he's been in Chip Kelly's system – no-huddle system – so he's got experience there," Gruden said. "Ex-player, he's been with New England so he's got a little bit of background that I like. I like guys coaching quarterbacks that have been in different systems. He's been in a no-huddle system, Bill Belichick's system…been with the Cleveland Browns as a quarterback coach before, so for a young [coach] he's got a wealth of experience with different systems which is exciting."
Players respect Englehart
After being one of the Redskins' assistant strength and conditioning coaches for the last seven seasons, Englehart had built an impressive resume.
With the potential to move on for another position, the Redskins decided to promote Englehart.
"Mike Clark did a phenomenal job for us, and unfortunately we felt like we had to make a move because we thought we might lose Chad," Gruden said. "He's that good, so we promoted Chad to keep him here. He's going to do a phenomenal job with the players."
Englehart will oversee all strength and conditioning work for the players including Phase 1 offseason workouts which are exclusive to the weight room.
"Players all respect him, they work hard for him and if you can get the players to buy in to the weight room and work hard, that's going to make a difference and make your team a lot better," Gruden said. "Chad will do that."