Getting To Know the Washington Redskins' 2009 Coaching Staff

Leon BrimmContributor IMay 13, 2009

CANTON, OH - AUGUST 3: Coach Jim Zorn of the Washington Redskins watches play against the Indianapolis Colts in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game at Fawcett Stadium on August 3, 2008 in Canton, Ohio.   (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

The 2009 Washington Redskins are about to begin their second year behind Coach Zorn and company. If you do not know the key coaches on the staff and their roles on the team, we shall take a look in depth at the key components of the Washington Redskins 2009 coaching staff.

First off, let’s examine the defensive side of the ball. The Washington Redskins had the fourth rated overall defense in the NFL in 2008. This success can be traced to the defensive coordinator Greg Blache.

Greg Blache has five years with the Redskins and 21 seasons total in the NFL. He was named the Redskins defensive coordinator on Jan. 26, 2008. His appointment to the reigns of the defense did not come without hard work, and success.

In three of the last four seasons, Blache has helped facilitate a Redskins' defense that has finished in the Top 10 in overall defense (third in 2004; ninth in 2005; and eighth in 2007). Greg Blanche’s secret on defense is not real complicated. 

It starts up front, the first priority of any defense should be to stop the run. By stopping the run you force the offense into a throwing frenzy. That allows the safeties, and linebackers to take shots at the quarterback, and hopefully intercept passes.

In 2007, Washington held teams to an average of 91.2 yards per game on the ground, which was a huge improvement from the prior season. Their overall rush defense jumped up 23 spots due to the performance.

Greg made his mark on the NFL with Chicago. Greg spent five years with the Bears, and constructed a defense that was among the league’s top defensive units.

Greg Blanche like everyone else in the NFL had to start somewhere. That somewhere for him was his alma mater of Notre Dame. He worked as a graduate assistant and later an assistant coach until 1975.

He had a tour of duty with Tulane, and then he returned to Notre Dame for a second round of coaching the Irish. He gets his first taste of professional football in 1984-1985 with the USFL’s Jacksonville Bulls. His first shot in the NFL did not come until 1998 with the Green Bay Packers, later to Indianapolis, Chicago and of course now in Washington.

Greg Blanche’s defensive mind should allow him to coach for many more years in the NFL. And hopefully groom a future NFL defensive coordinator. That man could be, defensive line coach John Palermo. Well known in college football, but on his first tour in the NFL.

A relative newcomer to the NFL, but a man with a wealth of knowledge, he started his coaching career as an assistant at North Carolina State in 1977-1978.

For the next 10 years, Palermo bounced around college football looking for the perfect job. He finds a nice home at Notre Dame, and helped Lou Holtz and the fighting Irish win a National Championship in 1988-1989. This was his first year at Notre Dame.

After a successful campaign at Notre Dame, Palermo tuned his sights to head coach. He was the head coach of Austin Peay for one year, and then moved to the Big Ten conference, at the University of Wisconsin.

Even though he was on a National Championship team before his time at Wisconsin, John Palermo does some of his best work with young players at Wisconsin. He produced four first-team all Americans on defense from 1991-1995.

One of the most respected coaches in College football; he coached 18 bowl teams, one that won a National Championship, and Wisconsin teams that won the Rose Bowl, and the Big Ten (1993, 1998, and 1999). He should prove to be a great positive force to Greg Blanches coaching scheme on defense.

Joe Bugel, the name is synonymous with excellence on offensive, especially the offensive line. The offensive line is arguably the most important part of the offensive scheme. The “O” line sets the tone of the offensive, and demoralizes a defensive scheme.  

“The Hogs” one of the most recognized nicknames in all of sports, was coined by Joe Bugel in the early '80s. If you don’t know, this was the name of the famous Redskin’s line during the Joe Gibbs era of Redskins Football.

Joe Bugel got his start at Western Kentucky in 1964. Joe bounced around the college ranks until 1975, where he spent two seasons as offensive line coach for Detroit, then on to the Houston Oilers in 1977, where he spent four years with the team.

1981 the year he came to the Washington Redskins under hall of fame coach and NFL legend Joe Gibbs. Bugles contribution to the ‘Skins in the ‘80s help produce one of the most devastating offenses in NFL history. 1983 the Redskins set an NFL record with 541 points.

While with the Redskins, Bugel won two Super Bowls with the franchise (1982, and 1987). During that time he oversaw four 1,000-yard rushers, one 4,000-yard passer, and nine 1,000-yard receivers.

Now in his second tour with the Redskins, he has proven again that his knowledge and experience on the offensive line can’t be debated.  From 2004-2007, Bugel has help engineer a running attack that has produced a 1,000 yard rusher each year.

One of the most famous plays related to Joe Bugel is “50 Gut”, where John Riggins ran left through Jacoby, or Grimm of the “Hogs” nine times against Randy White. Most people know this play as the counter-trey.

With Joe doing his job on the offensive line, it makes it that much easier for the Head Coach to make all the right calls on offense. The second year head coach from the Seattle Seahawks, Jim Zorn.

Jim Zorn has made his mark in the NFL as a quality quarterback from 1976-1987, and an NFL assistant coach for eleven years, before taking on the job as the head man in Washington.

Zorn is best known for his work with Matt Hasselbeck in Seattle. He guided Matt to be the most efficient quarterback in Seattle franchise history. Zorn’s history of developing talent is well documented and respected in the NFL.

Zorn got his start in coaching at the collegiate ranks at Boise State 1989-91 as wide receivers coach, and assistant quarterbacks coach. He went on to Utah State, and the University of Minnesota for a total of eight years in college before coming to the NFL.

His quick rise from college to NFL head coach is a tribute to his knowledge of football, and his dedication to hard work and team chemistry. Coach Zorn has already shown he can win football games at the pro level. Now all he has to do is rely on his instincts, coaching staff, and ownership.

With this finally being Zorn’s way, and all the pieces in place, the 2009 Washington redskins should be in line to improve off of an 8-8 2008 season.

Other coaches of the Redskins include; Sherman Smith (Offensive Coordinator), Stump Mitchell (Assistant Head Coach), Stan Hixson (Wide receivers), Scott Wachenheim (Tight ends), and Danny Smith (Special Teams).


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