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As players and coaches take their final breaks before training camp, The Redskins Blog will take a look back at the new faces from this offseason and what we've learned about them, football and otherwise, so far.
Today, we'll focus on defensive coordinator Joe Barry.
1. He's very hands-on: If you've had the chance to see Barry at practice, this one is pretty obvious. He's not a coach that stands off to the side or watches from afar. He's eager to pick up the pads and run drills with his players.
"That's kind of my personality," Barry said. "I'm very hands-on, I'm very enthusiastic. But I think that's obviously my style and the way I coach. I'm kind of that way in the hallways during the day at work. That's just who I am. I'm very hands-on."
2. He loves the moves the team has made this offseason:Barry is just one of many who feels this way. After he was hired, the Redskins collected several free agents on the defense that would make a significant impact (on and off the field) right away – both to the defensive line and the secondary – that has Barry excited for his first season.
"I think the No. 1 thing, again, back to Scot [McCloughan] and his scouting staff, is we've not only brought in good football players, we've brought in good guys, good character guys," he said. "I think that's important when you bring guys into the locker room. You want good football players, but you want good people and we've done that. The character on this team is outstanding. There are going to be ups and downs in a season, and that's when you really need those character guys."
3. He'll text Kerrigan at random times to express his excitement this season:Imagine it's 10:48 p.m. on a Tuesday night in June. Then imagine you get an unsolicited text message from your defensive coordinator telling you how excited he is to work with you. Pretty random but pretty cool. That's what Barry did to linebacker Ryan Kerrigan.
" He's extremely passionate," Kerrigan said. "That's one thing he said from the start. He said, 'I love football, and you're going to know that every day, every meeting I'm going to be like this. Every day I'm going to be just as passionate about a Saturday morning meeting as I am about an install meeting on Wednesday during a work week.' So you can definitely see his love for football, and I think it's been infectious with guys. I'll get a text message from him every now and then. He'll be watching film, and he'll just text me. It'll be at a random time of the day, random time of the week and I'll get a text from him saying 'Can't wait to work with you this year.' He'll just tell me how excited he is. It'll be cool to have that kind of energy from him."
4. Gruden loves Barry's energy every day:During OTAs, Barry was probably the loudest person at Redskins Park. It's something head coach Jay Gruden sees as an extension of his passion.
"I don't think I could have gone wrong in a couple different ways, but what I liked about Joe is that I liked his energy," Gruden said. "I think he's got a good overall grasp of defensive football, and I think he's very passionate and … I know about his background and I know about his work ethic and know what he's about."
Linebacker Keenan Robinson agreed, citing Barry's experience coaching college.
"He's just an energetic guy. Joe is a little younger," Robinson said. "He's coached college within the last few years when he was at USC, so he's a guy who knows football pretty well for how young he is. The fact that he's very energetic and brings that enthusiasm that we need each and every day, I like it.
5. He loves the commitment he's seen from his defensive players:As if he weren't already excited about the kind of character the Redskins added to the team this year, Barry has been equally impressed with the work ethic from the veterans. He's excited about the season based on the time he sees being spent in the gym each day.
"I really wish people could see how hard these guys work. All of them," Barry said. "Stephen Paea is here from 7:30 in the morning to 1:30 in the afternoon every single day and the guy is – whether it's the classroom, whether it's the weight room, whether it's the practice field, they are all working their tails off, so it's really impressive.
"Ryan Kerrigan comes to work every single day," he added. "What a true competitor he is. It doesn't matter if it's February, if it's May. He's been in this building every single day that I've been here since I've been hired and it's impressive just the way he goes about his business."
6. He learned the 3-4 defense during his time in San Diego:The Redskins liked Barry's experience with the 3-4 defensive scheme but knew they'd still be getting a different brand of football than what he had instituted for most of his coaching career.
"I learned the 3-4. I learned a completely different aspect of football than what I had been doing for the previous 15 years. So I think that we're going to bring an exciting, aggressive, attacking style defense, and that's, again, something that if you looked at Joe Barry 10 years ago, that's not what I was. So this is kind of the new and improved version. So that's what I'm excited about for our fans to be able to see as we build this thing."
7. His biggest emphasis for the defense is limiting red zone scoring: The simple goal is to make sure the offense scores more than the defense allows. How do you enable that?
"The key thing is to keep them to field goal attempt," Barry said. "If you get down in the red zone five times and you hold them to five field goals, that's a good thing. So red zone stats, huge, very important, and then finally third down. If you can get off the field on third down, that means you're getting their offense off the field, you're giving your offense the ball back. So points, red zone, third down – that's what you need to concentrate on. Those are going to be big situational football aspects."