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Om Field: Digging Deeper - Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett


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Apr 11, 2009
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Redskins “official blogger” Matt Terl picked up last week’s piece on the then-prospective hiring of Jim Haslett as defensive coordinator as a jumping-off point to make his case for Haslett … and that’s fine. It was actually a welcome result, as it was pretty much what I was hoping someone would do.The earlier piece, after all, was as much a plea for someone to convince me that Haslett's

Wow - this isn't one of the 'daily posts with quick read-and-reacts' you promised is it? I'm going to have to take a timeout to take that all in. I'm like you, skeptical that Haslett is anything special - kind of surprising choice for me, given that Shanahan has a lot of stature to lure someone truly proven, and the apparent time he's had to think about who his guy on the defensive side of the ball would be.

Who knows, maybe it works out, hard to tell, but it was a surprising choice from my vantage point.
You're not making this any easier, Om. I'm "trying" to make the best of this Haslett thing but your arguments just keep supporting my initial reaction. :thumbsdown:
Boone, no ... this one was more about messing with my man Terl over at Redskins.com. I suspect he'll do the smart thing and ignore it. I'm hoping he decides to play. :cool:

As to Haslett himself ... I didn't go into this thing expecting to be blown away, but I did expect to at least find enough reason to get past my initial "meh" reaction. So far, no go.

More I look at the numbers, less impressed I am. More I hear people respond to my question about what it is exactly that impresses them, more I get "he's highly respected in the league." Okay, so, that's a GOOD thing. I want to HEAR about it. I keep hoping someone will find something said by somebody in the league that makes that case.

The wait continues.
So here is my question...

If not Haslett, then who?

Gray is available, sure. I don't know what his numbers looked like as the DC in Buffalo but he ran the 4-3 and if Shanahan is really wanting to transition then a guy who has at least run it is necessary.

Zim never hit the market.

If you don't want to take a chance on someone who has never been a DC at this level before, who else is there who can play a hybrid for a year while you get all the pieces in place to go 3-4 full time? And let's not kid ourselves, with just 5 draft picks and the likely restrictions on Free Agents that an uncapped year will bring, we are looking at a year of playing some of both. There will be no straight jump here.

Not saying Haslett impresses me because at this point he doesn't. I'm just saying that even with Shanahan's pull in the league, not a lot of names are jumping out at me and I don't see many options.

Food for thought.....situations dictate all in the game. Take our 83 Redskins..we were dominant on offense and in turn, we were the absolute best at rushing defense allowing only 80 yds a game. However, we were horrible statistically vs the pass. We were last in the league. When you look at it though, we had one of the better 'comp vs' stats in the league in passing. Furthermore, our offense turned the ball over 18 times while our defense took it 61. this is a sporadic view at these some stats but I think you get my meaning.

Stats are great when looking at big picture as they give the complete story. However, it takes a lot of digging on both sides of the ball to get the true picture of what a team was really good at.

Great read Om as always. Never miss a chance to read your stuff.
Neo, that's a fair question ... one I'm not qualified to answer. Shanahan and Allen certainly knew who was out there, though, and opted for Haslett, so I'm going to go 'benefit of the doubt' here and accept their judgment that he was the best option available. My guess is he was the best option available with experience---there are surely any number of young, up-and-coming defensive minds they might have tapped, so the option to go with Haslett strikes me as a nod toward wanting a known quantity, with coordinator experience, who can establish a baseline here for the new regime.

Utah, appreciate the insight as always. Absolutely there are reasons why stats turn out the way they do ... and no stat stands alone. I remain hopeful that Haslett's stats, which over time as a whole translate roughly as "meh" to me, look a lot less so in consideration of all the factors at play in each of his six seasons. Still hoping to tap into the reasoned, objective mind of someone who knows the game and has had the opportunity to watch Haslett's defenses play over time.
You know what?

I'm looking forward to an aggressive defense. And a defense that can react to how an offense is playing.

Remember bump-and-run defense?

I'm still fairly positive about Haslett.
I wrote this part of the piece for you, brother. :)

• The argument that Haslett is aggressive in style is obviously attractive to Redskins fans long frustrated (read: guts-in-a-knot) by watching their bend-but-don’t-break-until-the-game-is-on-the-line defense of the past few years. No one, for instance, wants to see Redskins corners challenge (read: be in the frame) receivers on 3rd-and-long again more than me. And the occasional blitz that actually surprises an offense or springs someone free would be nice.

It’s just that being aggressive alone isn’t enough. I flat guarantee that if, come mid-season 2010, the Redskins secondary is pressing receivers but getting strafed deep repeatedly and losing games 34-31, no one will be saying “hey but at least we're aggressive.” I’ll take effective over aggressive 10 times out of 10. If I thought Haslett was bringing that, we would be talking about something else today. At the moment, I’m still hoping to be convinced.
Hey, we'll see.

I do agree though, that aggressiveness will wear itself out if the defense can't get off the field.

But I thnk this defense is built for aggressiveness.

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