In personal notes at the end of every season, former secondary coach Jerry Gray critiques defensive backs and offers suggestions on how to improve.
Gray recently completed the process for the last time with the Redskins and plans to do the same after next season for the Seattle Seahawks, who this week hired him as their secondary coach. In D.C., Gray leaves behind an experienced and talented group, he said, that is capable of becoming one of the league's best. Gray believes the Redskins' secondary has the ability to accomplish great things for a long time, and he would not be surprised if it soon was second to none.
"At corner, you've got Fred Smoot, you've got DeAngelo [Hall], you've got Carlos [Rogers], you've got Justin Tryon, you've got Kevin Barnes, who I think is going to be a real good player, Bryon Westbrook," Gray said this morning in a phone interview. "At safety, you've got Chis Horton and Reed [Doughty] and Kareem Moore. What you have is a bunch of guys who can ultimately, I think, be the best secondary in football because there's a lot of talent there.
"To me, if those guys can do the little things that I talked about [in his notes], and then you get together as a collective group, they can lead the NFL. They are that talented. They can dominate the league for a long time. You don't have a lot of old guys in that secondary. If they [the team's new leaders] don't disband the secondary, they can get a lot out of it. I really believe that. You can see that these guys, if they can just keep growing together, could be that good."
The Redskins ranked 10th overall in defense this season. They were tied for eighth against the pass and tied for 26th with only 11 interceptions. Hall led the Redskins with four interceptions.
"DeAngelo has probably got some of the greatest hands I've ever been around," Gray said. "The guy can flat out catch a football - one hand, two hands, back flip, standing still. Any way you can think. He's probably the most talented guy I've ever coached, and he still has work to do.
"And I told him, 'Here's some of the things you need to do, and I think you can be All-Pro or Hall of Fame material.' There aren't many guys I've coached who have had his type of stuff. ... There are a lot of guys who haven't reached their potential yet, and there's a lot of potential there."
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