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Redskins Have Young Core On Defense They'll Build Around


As the Washington Redskins continue to evaluate what is best entering the 2017 season, they have decided to not retain four coaches including defensive coordinator Joe Barry.

The Washington Redskins announced on Thursday that they will not retain defensive coordinator Joe Barry, defensive line coach Robb Akey, defensive backs Perry Fewell and head strength and conditioning coach Mike Clark.

These decisions were made following the conclusion of the regular season, one in which the Redskins finished with a second consecutive winning season with a record of 8-7-1, but fell short of the playoffs following Sunday's 19-10 regular season finale loss to the New York Giants at FedExField in Landover, Md.

Barry was the Redskins' defensive coordinator for two seasons, but the unit struggled under his guidance including during the 2016 season when they finished 28th in total defense by allowing nearly 378 yards per game along with 23.9 points per game being scored.

Both of those numbers were down from his first season as the defensive coordinator in 2015.

While the Redskins' search for replacements will begin immediately, head coach Jay Gruden believes Washington already has a strong collection of young players in place for the next defensive staff.

"You have [Ryan] Kerrigan, you have two Pro Bowlers in Kerrigan and Josh [Norman]," Gruden said. "We have [Bashaud] Breeland, who is a young player. You have obviously Trent [Murphy] and Preston [Smith], who are good, young football players. [Kendall] Fuller is going to get a lot better from year one to year two. [Quinton] Dunbar is continuing to get better as a corner, only playing it for a year and half now. He's going to get better. You have a good core group of guys that we feel good about now we just have to continue to build around them."

Kerrigan, of course, has been the Redskins' leading sack producer since entering the league as a first-round pick in 2011.

In six seasons, Kerrigan has collected 58.5 sacks along with 19 fumbles forced. He was selected to the 2017 Pro Bowl.

At outside linebacker, he is joined by Preston Smith (12.5 sacks in his first two seasons) and Trent Murphy, who completed a breakout campaign in 2016 with a career-high nine sacks.

Then at cornerback, the Redskins have a premier player in Norman, a 2015 first-team All-Pro.

Norman finished his first season in Washington with 67 tackles along with three interceptions and two fumbles forced.

He is joined by Breeland – the Redskins' interceptions leader over the last three seasons with seven – along with Fuller, a 2016 third-round pick, and Dunbar.

Defensive linemen Ricky Jean Francois, Anthony Lanier and Matt Ioannidis are among those at that position group currently under contract for the 2017 season.

Outside linebackers coach Greg Manusky, inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti, assistant defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant and defensive quality control coach Chad Grimm remain on staff as well.

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