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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 backs coach Perry Fewell.
1. He had a picture of Sonny Jurgensen in his room growing up:Perry Fewell grew up in Cramerton, N.C., before the Carolina Panthers existed. Naturally, he grew up watching the Redskins' great quarterbacks in the 1970s and 1980s. That helped his reason to join the Redskins organization.
"I looked at it as an opportunity to grow under Joe Berry, to learn a new style of defense which we're going to run here, and I have a lot of respect for coach Jay Gruden and what he's done and Daniel Snyder and what he's done with this organization," Fewell said. "Growing up in North Carolina, the Redskins were North Carolina's team before the Carolina Panthers. So, I have a picture of Sonny Jurgensen back in my parent's home from way back when. Deep down inside, we've always been Redskins."
2. He wants his DB's to challenge everything in the air:One of the consistent themes Fewell has preached this offseason has been collecting loose balls. He institutes a lot of catching drills, making sure interceptions are always a possibility when defending passes as well as scooping balls on the ground after the whistle has blown.
"It's really by situation," he said of his philosophy. "You need to respect that man you're lined up in front of, but in the same sense, you have to challenge that person also. A DB has to have a short memory. Sometimes you're going to win, sometimes you're not going to be successful. But I think if you challenge every ball in the air, that you can play with some confidence and maybe we can get our share of interceptions and get our share of turnovers."
3. Gruden likes his experience with the NFC East:Head coach Jay Gruden has just one year under his belt in the NFC East. It's nice to rely on another coach who has worked with a division rival for many years.
"Coach Fewell brings great experience with him on his résumé," Gruden said. "One -- He's a great person – very loyal guy – and two -- he's been productive where he's been. He's been in the division. He knows the division. He knows the opponents, knows the Giants, obviously. Great wealth of knowledge. Any time you have a guy with experience as a defensive coordinator… You know, we have a young defensive coordinator, you add a guy like Perry Fewell to help in that transition process, a guy that understands his role, understands football, it was a great addition for us. A lot of respect for him going against him the last couple years. He's a great addition."
4. He learned a lot as an interim head coach:Before his stint with the Giants, Fewell was defensive coordinator for the Bills. In week 10 of the 2009 season, Buffalo fired head coach Dick Jauron and Fewell took over for the final seven games.
"It was a big boost for my career, and I learned how to work with more personnel and how to look at personnel differently in the sense that there were roles that each guy could play on the football team in order to help us win – offense, defense and special teams. A lot of times when you're looking at that, when you're just a defensive coordinator, you only think about your own little basket."
5. Barry thinks he is a great addition to lead the defensive backs room:You always want to be on the same page with your defensive coordinator. With Fewell's experience, Barry has a lot of respect for what he's able to provide a new crop of defensive backs.
"That's the thing that people don't realize is Perry was a defensive coordinator for nine years, but before that, Perry was an unbelievable secondary coach," Barry said. "[He] had great success in Jacksonville and St. Louis and Chicago, very accomplished as a secondary coach. So, Raheem is one of my best friends in life, so I don't want to ever compare the two but I think both in their own right are both great secondary coaches, but Perry's style – I would say that. Perry is no-nonsense, great teacher. And again, I think he has an unbelievable wealth of knowledge that he is going to be able to bring to that DB room and it's definitely showed – at least in the first five practices."
6. He has a unique style:One of Fewell's defining traits, besides his southern drawl, is the way he helps his defensive backs interpret plays and schemes. He'll play movies and music with good name recognition if it fits a particular play.
"You know, Perry is so old-school and he is just chill and he said he wanted to teach us through music and stuff, so it was opposite ends of the poles," safety Phillip Thomas said."I mean, he likes music, he teaches us…like Magic, like Magic Johnson and a 3 to 2 switch. He'll use that and he'll use Michael Jackson. I don't know, he just throws like random music quotes in there when he's teaching us in the classroom.
"[I'm] high energy, more of a communicator," Fewell said. "I love to teach the technical aspects of the game, and I have more than one way to work with a player. I can get after them a little bit, but also love those players and praise them for the work they do on the field."
7. He's looking forward to winning games:This one is pretty straightforward.
"I'm just looking forward to the season, I'm looking forward to the competition, I look forward to going to training camp and just working with our players and winning football games. That's the most important thing we can do is win football games."