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Redskins 2014 Coaching Staff Fact Sheet

Posted by Gabe Hiatt on February 4, 2014 – 4:18 pm

The Redskins introduced three more coaches Tuesday afternoon, finalizing rookie head coach Jay Gruden’s inaugural staff.

Between Gruden and the team’s coordinators, position coaches and their assistants, the group has more than 130 years of combined experience in NFL coaching or scouting. Eight of 16 coaches are younger than 40. Four coaches come to Washington from collegiate stints.

Take a look:

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Chris Samuels Heads Back To The Gridiron

Posted by Brian Tinsman on January 25, 2012 – 3:10 pm

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When most student assistants join an NCAA football staff, there’s a worry about making a good impression and getting up to speed with the responsibilities of the job.  There’s the apprehension of being respected by the players and being an asset, rather than a hindrance to the coaching staff.

But no student assistant has ever had quite the résumé of Chris Samuels, the latest addition to the National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide’s coaching staff.  As Matt Scalici of AL.com reports, he’s come a long way to end up back with his alma mater:

“I’m really excited about the opportunity to work with this group. Coach Saban is the best head coach in college football and his staff is second to none,” said Samuels. “For someone like me looking to build a career as a coach, this opportunity is a real blessing. I can’t wait to get to Tuscaloosa and start learning and doing what I can to help these guys win another championship.”

Samuels’s coaching journey began after his retirement from the NFL, serving as a coaching intern during the 2010 Redskins training camp.  In 2011, he served as the offensive coordinator for the Blount High School football team in Prichard, Ala.

As Scalici noted, the Blount Leopards score 390 points en route to a 10-2 record, and a trip to the second round of the 6A Alabama high school playoffs.

Now that he has found his new calling on the football sidelines, Samuels was also inspired to finish up his undergraduate degree.  During his first stint in college, he was a Human Performance major.  According to Scalici, his return to the classroom has been a long time coming:

“I’m really looking forward to it.  I haven’t been in a classroom other than an NFL classroom in a very long time. Back when I was at Alabama, I had my heart set on making it in the NFL so I kind of took some things for granted. I’m glad I have the chance to go back and do it right.”

“I always planned to go back and finish my degree and I knew that if I wanted to be a college or high school coach, it was something I needed to do,” Samuels said. “I was asked to come introduce the captains at the team banquet this year and while I was there, Coach Saban sat down and talked with me a while and told me he’d love for me to come be a part of their staff. It was an opportunity I couldn’t say no to.”

Redskins fans will remember Samuels as one of the great left tackles of his generation: a first-round pick, turned six-time Pro Bowler, with one All-Pro selection and 141 starts.  Injuries forced him to retire prematurely in 2010, but his many years in Washington helped to prepare him for this next step.

Samuels was available at yesterday’s Senior Bowl practice, and spoke to the assembled Washington media (via Ryan O’Halloran of CSNWashington.com):

“I thought it would be easy because I played, but it was totally different.”

“I learned a great deal from playing all those years and I’ve been around a lot of great coaches,” Samuels said. “But a lot of players don’t realize it’s different playing football and coaching football. The Redskins [coaching staff] taught me about shifting different personnel groupings and different concepts in the passing game.

The best of luck to Chris as his strong work ethic carries him into the next step in his great football career.  If the desire is there in the future, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back in the NFL someday.

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Wednesday, February 17: Another New Addition To The Coaching Staff

Posted by Matt Terl on February 17, 2010 – 10:25 am

The Redskins new coaching staff — already notably larger than last year’s — grew by another member today, as the team added Richmond Flowers as a coaching assistant. Flowers was a wide receiver at Duke, with the Barcelona Dragons, and on the fringes of the NFL.

He was drafted in the seventh round by Jacksonville (joining Bruce Allen and Keenan McCardell as last-round draft choices now affiliated with the team), spent most of that year on Dallas’ practice squad, the following year on the Redskins’ practice squad, and the 2003 preseason with the Redskins as well.

Flowers’ father was an NFL player as well, but what the younger Flowers is probably best known for is his 2002 stint a training camp with the Dallas Cowboys, which was captured for that year’s season of HBO’s Hard Knocks.

But there was more, as well. Read more »

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Keenan McCardell Named Wide Receivers Coach

Posted by Matt Terl on February 2, 2010 – 3:17 pm

The Redskins today announced the hiring of Keenan McCardell as wide receivers coach. McCardell takes over for the departed Stan Hixon — a guy who happens to have been McCardell’s final position coach in the NFL.

McCardell, of course, was drafted by the Redskins in the twelfth round of the 1991 draft — the only Pro Bowl player from the final five rounds of that draft — and got his name onto the trophy for Super Bowl XXVI before going on to greater NFL success with Jacksonville, and another Super Bowl with Tampa Bay. He returned to the Redskins in 2007 for the final season of his NFL career, catching 22 passes for 256 yards and a touchdown, and often serving as a coach-on-the-field.

He’ll be starting his official coaching career in the same place he started his playing career; his previous coaching experience came coaching the receivers for the West team in this year’s East/West Shrine Game, and as part of a Bill Walsh Minority Fellowship program during the New York Giants training camp.

Even during the limited experience, though, McCardell was able to make a fairly significant impression working with one of the Giants’ young wide receivers. Read more »

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Two More Coaches Announced: Jacob Burney and Bob Slowik

Posted by Matt Terl on January 21, 2010 – 3:00 pm

The 2010 Redskins coaching staff is almost completely assembled, as the team today named Bob Slowik to the position of defensive backs coach, and Jacob Burney to the position of defensive line coach. Both of these appointments have been rumored for several days now.

I ran into Fred Smoot today and asked him if he had heard anything about Slowik, his new position coach. He grinned his Fred Smoot grin and said, “Yeah, Champ thinks he’s terrific. Champ loves him, man.” Smoot has made no secret of the fact that former Redskins (and current Broncos) cornerback Champ Bailey is one of his close friends and mentors, so this is a recommendation that carries some weight with Smoot.

And it’s not like it was a secret that Bailey quietly passed to Smoot. Here’s a snippet from a January 2008 Rocky Mountain News article about Slowik’s promotion to Broncos defensive coordinator:

Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey, an eight-time Pro Bowl selection, has called Slowik “the best coach I’ve ever had.”

It’s not just Bailey, either. Here’s another.

“The one thing as defensive backs coach ‘Slo’ did was listen to his players,” Broncos cornerback Dre Bly said. “Because if the players aren’t comfortable with the defense or are having some problems or don’t necessarily fit into some of the things you’re doing on defense, you have to listen to your players.

“And I know ‘Slo’ – if it was something as a defensive secondary we didn’t feel comfortable doing, he’d tweak some things that allowed us to be comfortable. I really think ‘Slo’ will do a good job because he’s definitely a guy that will coach you up.”

Burney isn’t as famous of a name as Slowik, but he also seems to be well-regarded by his players and (especially) by Broncos fans. Both Hogs Haven and The Om Field came across the same Mile High Report profile on Broncos defensive coaches that’s fairly complimentary of Burney’s work, as epitomized by paragraphs like this:

I really like Burney’s combination of specialization and experience. This is one coach who does his own thing, and it is ALL he does. I am impressed with some of the talent he has developed, including Martin Rucker, Pryce, and now DOOM, and I like the idea of him working with our young DEs going forward, and feel like he will be able to get the most out of them.

So that all sounds pretty good.

(Slowik doesn’t fare as well in that post, but the criticism is largely directed at his work as a defensive coordinator, not as a defensive backs coach.)

The Redskins media relations staff put together a staggeringly long press release on these two; it would be a pity to have all that biographical information go to waste, so it’s posted for your edification after the jump.

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Redskins Add Three More Coaches

Posted by Matt Terl on January 20, 2010 – 2:30 pm

The 2010 Redskins coaching staff is really starting to take shape now, as the team today named Kyle Shanahan offensive coordinator, Matt LaFleur quarterbacks coach and Jon Embree tight ends coach.

Shanahan — son of head coach Mike Shanahan — has long been reported for this position, and I’ll have a little more on him in just a bit. But the other two names were newer to me.

Matt LaFleur, as near as I can tell, must have become Kyle Shanahan’s right-hand man somewhere along the line. As an offensive assistant in Houston last season, LaFleur (pictured to the right with John David Booty) worked with the quarterbacks while Shanahan ran the offense; the year prior LaFleur worked with the wide receivers.

So all the gaudy numbers that are attached to Kyle Shanahan and the Houston offense — first in the NFL in passing with 4,654 yards! fourth in total offense with 6,129 yards! — have to reflect at least a little bit on LaFleur as well.

Which is pretty impressive for a guy who came to the NFL from Division II Ashland University. LaFleur described the transition in a December 2009 profile in the Saginaw (Michigan) News:

“Honestly, it was pretty overwhelming at first,” he said of coaching in the NFL. “It’s exposed me to a level of football I’d never seen before.

“When you go from Division II to the NFL, you’re amazed at how good these guys really are.”

Despite the aw-shucks tone of those quotes, the rest of the article — and LaFleur’s swift rise through the coaching ranks — paints him as a guy to keep an eye on.

There’s not a lot out there about new tight ends coach Jon Embree, but what there is seems promising.

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Pro And Con On Jim Haslett, The Bill Belichick Of The UFL

Posted by Matt Terl on January 15, 2010 – 4:20 pm

The Redskins named Jim Haslett their defensive coordinator today, confirming a move that’s been rumored for a few days now, and filling a position that opened when Greg Blache retired.

Haslett coached the UFL’s Florida Tuskers to an undefeated season and a loss in the championship game last year, which pretty much makes him the Bill Belichick of the UFL. (It also means that he fills an interesting parenthetical niche as the second guy the Redskins have signed who was involved with that UFL Championship game — mid-season replacement kicker Graham Gano kicked the gamewinning field goal to beat Haslett’s Tuskers.)

And he has NFL cred as well. He was the defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints in 1996, the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1997-99, and the St. Louis Rams in 2006, 2007 and for the first four games of 2008 before being named interim head coach in St. Louis. (And beating the Redskins the following Sunday, in fact.)

He played in the NFL as well, as linebacker for the Buffalo Bills, where he won defensive rookie of the year in 1979 and went to the Pro Bowl in 1980. The picture above — Haslett stopping Tony Dorsett for a short gain — is really all the backstory I need to embrace the guy as a Redskins coach. But not everyone agrees with me on that. Read more »

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Wednesday, February 11: Two Transactions

Posted by Matt Terl on February 11, 2009 – 11:04 am

Well, the 2009 coaching staff appears to be complete, barring some sort of unexpected shakeup, with the signing today of Chip Garber as the defensive quality control coach, replacing Arthur Smith (who departed for a career in the military).

Like new tight ends coach Scott Wachenheim, this hire has a very Jim Zorn feel to it: a coach with long experience (28 years!) at slightly unusual places (Hamilton Tiger-Cats! Hofstra Pride! North Texas Mean Green!), including some overlap with Zorn himself (defensive backs coach with the Minnesota Golden Gophers while Zorn was the QB coach there). Garber also has local ties, coming from Winchester, Virginia, and having gone to college at the University of Maryland. Read more »

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