Turner & Spanos Added, 3-4 Defense Coming?

The Redskins have added former Denver Broncos' Running Backs coach Bobby Turner as their Associate Head Coach, Running Backs. They have also added former Pittsburgh Steelers Defensive Quality Control and Assistant Linebackers Coach Lou Spanos as their Linebackers Coach.

Bobby Turner, regarded as one of the best Running Back Coaches in the NFL, has been the running backs coach with the Broncos since 1995.

His coaching history prior to that includes:

  • Purdue University Offensive Coordinator: 1991-1994

  • Ohio State University Running Backs: 1989-1990.

  • Fresno State University Running Backs: 1983-1988

  • Indiana State University Running Backs, Quarterbacks, Defensive Backs, Special Teams and Strength & Conditioning: 1975-1982

Bobby Turner has a very good resume for Running Backs coaching and the Redskins had to "up the title ante" to get him signed away from the Broncos. The Redskins are smart for doing it and Bobby Turner deserves it.

But perhaps the signing causing much more discussion on message boards is the signing of Lou Spanos from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Spanos spent one year as a defensive assistant at his Alma Mater of Tulsa before joining the Steelers in 1995.

This hiring is interesting for two reasons. The first reason is the fact that he has been with the Steelers for 14 seasons at the same position, which is an entry level type of position amongst NFL coaching ranks. Was Spanos just happy with the Steelers or did no other team ever consider him worthy of a promotion? This is something to think about.

The second, and more interesting reason this hire is raising eyebrows, is because the Pittsburgh Steelers run and newly hired Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett coaches a lot of the 3-4 defensive alignment. This hire and the Haslett hire has Redskins fans all over the Internet pondering if the Redskins will switch to a 3-4 defense this season.

As with any other NFL team subject among fans, there are two sides to this argument as well. Those that say the Redskins have the personnel to run the 3-4 and those that say they do not.

One side of the argument is that the current personnel are not suited at all to a 3-4 alignment. Many of the Redskins' Defensive Ends are too light to play the position in a 3-4. Some of them, like Carter and Orakpo, could move to Linebacker. However, it should be pointed out that Carter has stated he does not prefer to play OLB in a 3-4 defense as he has experience with it from his days with the 49ers. With regards to Orakpo, this season showed that he is much better overall with his hands in the dirt. The other problem is who plays the very important NT position? Albert Haynesworth comes to mind, but would he really want to play a space eater position on a 3-4 line after his comments about the Redskins' current defense and misuse of his skills?

The other side of the argument is that the Redskins would only have to replace a few players, such as possibly Rocky McIntosh, and they could make the 3-4 work. The Redskins could possibly put Haynesworth at DE and put Anthony Montgomery at NT. Of course, this doesn't explain the other positions that need to be filled but the Redskins could always draft someone or sign a free agent or two to fill some gaps.

No matter how you look at it, it will be a wait and see for a little while as this develops. These two defensive hires are no guarantee of any defensive alignment and only guarantee a lot of speculation until the Redskins' coaching staff makes the decision and let's it become public.

Also, as an aside and a little historical note: Lou Spanos played Center at Tulsa. Who did he snap the ball too? That's right. None other than former Redskins' QB Gus Frerotte.

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