The value of chemistry cannot be overstated in sports, and that extends beyond the locker room to each member of the coaching staff.
This offseason, the Washington Redskins leadership has been reconfigured with a fresh mix of newcomers and successful holdovers. The blueprint to success is laid out in familiarity and cohesion.
“Guys have got smiles on their face; they’re happy. You can go and talk offense and defense with the coaches and you can intermingle. It’s a good relationship.”
For general manager Bruce Allen, head coach Jay Gruden, offensive coordinator Sean McVay and defensive backs coach Raheem Morris, those relationships began in Tampa Bay in the early 2000s.
For Gruden and Haslett, a common time in the United Football League was enough to instill trust in the Haslett 3-4 system.
By having a history with each other, the coaches are past the stage of building relationships and are able to jump right into studying the game and fixing a Redskins team with holes to fill.
“We had a defensive staff meeting the other day and we were talking football and for about an hour and a half,” Haslett said. “We were talking one coverage, things that we want to do—change—things that we wanted to get better.
“The D-line coach, Jacob Burney, said it’s the most fun he’s had in two years. I thought, ‘All we’re doing is sitting around talking football, you know, trying to get some things right.’”
Haslett went on to speak about head coach Jay Gruden and what he brings to the table for the Redskins, as a team.
”You’re going to like what you see in Jay. Jay does a great job, one, with the quarterbacks,” he said of Gruden. “He does a great job with the offense.
“He utilizes what the player does best.”
This has been a familiar theme in Washington, as the Redskins have weathered criticism for getting away from areas of strength in recent seasons.
It is also a system that received much acclaim in Seattle this offseason, as the Seahawks and Pete Carroll rode this philosophy all the way to a Super Bowl victory.
“[Gruden] doesn’t worry about what [a player] can’t do. He finds out what they do best and he tries to use those players to the best of their ability,” Haslett explained. “I think that’s a strength that he has in coaching.”