With his unit returning several key building blocks next season, new Washington Redskins defensive coordinator Joe Barry didn't want to make any drastic schematic changes heading into 2015.
Barry – who was hired Jan. 20 after spending the previous three seasons as the linebackers coach with the San Diego Chargers – confirmed Tuesday that the Redskins will continue utilizing the 3-4 scheme as its base defense moving forward.
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.
"I'm a 3-4 guy," Barry told Larry Michael, Voice of the Redskins, on Tuesday's episode of Redskins Nation. "I think the great thing about the 3-4 – you can disguise a bunch of things. You can give the illusion that you're in 3-4 and play 4-3 and vice versa. I think it gives you many, many options, and that's the thing that I'm excited about."
Barry said his No. 1 priority the moment he was hired with the Redskins was to assemble his own defensive coaching staff. Since that time, Perry Fewell has been hired as the team's defensive backs coach, replacing Raheem Morris, who is reportedly joining the Atlanta Falcons' staff.
The team has also since parted ways with outside linebackers coach Brian Baker and defensive line coach Jacob Burney, and will be looking to fill those positions as soon as possible.
With the staff taking shape, the Redskins can turn their complete focus on free agency and the draft, where they can continue adding the pieces needed to put a more competitive product on the field.
"We just got back from the Senior Bowl last week, so that's really our first glimpse at the players – at least a handful of players – that are going to be at the Combine," Barry said. "So that's where we're at."
Barry brings with him 13-plus years of NFL coaching experience, including a Super Bowl ring in the 2002 season as a linebackers coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
He said both the highs and the lows he's experienced in his coaching career have helped shape who he is today. In 2007, he became the defensive coordinator with the Detroit Lions, and the team that year won seven games, its most in seven years.
But, the next season, the Lions would go 0-16 in a treacherous season for all involved. The down point was a blessing in disguise, however.
"The thing I think is the problem in any walk of life – I don't care what profession you're in – when things happen, and they're bad things, poor things, I think that's when growth really takes place," Barry explained to Michael. "And I know as a football coach, specifically, it was brutal. It was hard. But it made me a better football coach. I walked out of Detroit a 10-times better football coach than I walked in."
Barry said he learned from experience that "when things are easy – when things are rosy and happy and great – usually you don't grow from that."
"You grow when you're getting hit in the mouth repeatedly, and you've gotta react; you've gotta recover," he continued. "So, no, it doesn't bother me, because it made me a better coach. It made me a better person. I went and re-invented myself the last seven years, and it made me better."
Barry said his coaching style isn't one filled with "a bunch of bold predictions" and that he won't "promise a bunch of things," but said, if nothing else, his defense will be ready to battle each and every week.
"You know, the 11 guys that are out there on the field, they're gonna be prepared," he continued. "They're gonna play hard. They're gonna play fast. And they're gonna finish."