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Greg Manusky: No ‘balancing act’ with new assistants

March 21, 2019

ASHBURN Greg Manusky was in a peculiar position. After the season ended, the Redskins brought in former defensive coordinators for interviews, despite the fact Manusky was still under contract.

Washington ultimately chose to not fire Manusky, hiring Rob Ryan and Ray Horton as high-profile assistants instead.

But speaking after Washingtons annual coaching clinic Wednesday, Manusky said everything is good with his new assistants.

Manusky said hes in the process of breaking down Washingtons schemes and process to both men, who each have experience as former defensive coordinators.

Ryan will coach inside linebackers, while Horton will lead the secondary.

I dont think theres any balancing act, Manusky said. Its just trying to learn the defensive calls, the defensive signals that we have, try to put into terms theyve used over in their career. So thats what Im trying to do right now.

The Redskins have denied they were trying to replace Manusky. Last month at the scouting combine, coach Jay Gruden said the team wanted to add experience to help their defensive coordinator. And at the Senior Bowl in January, team president Bruce Allen said Manusky participated in some of the interviews throughout the process.

Ryan and Horton have both called defensive plays in previous stops, which Gruden said was a reason for their hiring.

Part of it was by design for sure, Gruden said.

Manusky, of course, had his play-calling questioned in 2018 on multiple occasions most notably by D.J. Swearinger after a Dec. 22 loss to the Tennessee Titans in a rant that caused Washington to release the safety soon afterward.

Washington regressed defensively last season. After playing like an elite defense through the first month, Washington allowed the sixth-most yards over the last half of the year. Part of the decline can be attributed to Alex Smiths injury, given the offense had difficulty sustaining drives.

Still, Manusky returns to a young defense with room to grow. The 52-year-old said he was excited to coach safety Landon Collins, the teams marquee free agent addition who signed a six-year, $84 million deal last week.

Manusky called Collins a playmaker who has the ability to be the main play-caller and put everyone in the right position.

From my perspective, hes a great cover guy, No. 1, Manusky said. No. 2 he can tackle in space and make plays from anywhere. He can be a blitzer off the edge.

Manusky will have time to incorporate Collins and his new defensive staff. But on Wednesday, he simply got to do something he enjoys: Talk football.

With 40 high school coaches in attendance, Manusky was part of a panel discussion with offensive assistant Matt Cavanaugh and special teams coordinator Nate Kaczor. He recalled how Tony Dungy inspired him to get into coaching when he was still a linebacker in the NFL. He later reviewed film with the coaches in side sessions and taught them how to game plan.

Anything thats about football or related, I like talking about it, Manusky said.