By Rich Tandler
After two seasons of double-digit losses, change to the Redskins’ coaching staff was almost inevitable. It came this week as wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell and safeties coach Steve Jackson were informed that their contracts would not be renewed and Raheem Morris was brought in as a defensive backs coach, according to multiple media reports.
For Morris, being a position coach is a return to where he was before serving three years as the Buccaneers head coach. He coached the defensive backs in Tampa Bay under Jon Gruden. In December of 2008, it was announced that Morris would be promoted to defensive coordinator when longtime coordinator Monte Kiffin decided to leave to work with his son Lane, who had been hired as the head coach at the University of Tennessee.
But Morris never got the job. In January, Gruden was fired along with general manager Bruce Allen. The decision was made to move Morris into the head coaching job. At age 33, Morris was one of the youngest head coaches in league history.
A year ago, Morris was considered to be one of the rising stars in the coaching profession as the Bucs had just gone 10-6 and missed the playoffs on tiebreakers. But he was fired right after the 2011 season following 10 straight ugly losses to close out the year.
We’re not sure what Morris’ exact role will be. Bob Slowik, a longtime assistant coach under Mike Shanahan, has been coaching the cornerbacks although he holds the title of defensive backs coach. There could be more changes coming.
We can only speculate on the reasons why McCardell and Jackson were let go. McCardell’s receivers did not perform particularly well but he did not have great talent to work with, either. Injuries to starters LaRon Landry and Oshiomogho Atogwe certainly hampered play at the safety position.
The dismissals of McCardell and Jackson, however, apparently did not come totally out of the blue. According to a Washington Post report, several assistant coaches received contract extensions a year ago and the two now-former coaches were not among them.
There are no reports on who is being considered to be the wide receivers coach. Early speculation centers on Karl Dorrell, who is currently the Dolphins’ quarterback coach. He has an extensive resume including a stint as wide receivers coach with Shanahan’s Broncos from 2000-2002. Dorrell is still under contract with Miami but that status depends on whether or not the new head coach there wants to retain him.