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Haslett: I Came Here To Win The Super Bowl

Posted Jan 16, 2013

By his own admission, Redskins DC Jim Haslett has won every personal award in football, but came to Washington in search of that elusive Super Bowl ring.

Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has done it all in the National Football League.

As a second-round pick by the Buffalo Bills out of IUP, Haslett finished up a stellar rookie season as the 1979 AP Defensive Rookie of the Year.

The following season, he was a first-team All-Pro selection.

As a head coach, he turned a 3-13 New Orleans Saints team into NFC West Champions in 2000, his first season as a head coach. He was named the NFL Coach of the Year.

By his own admission, he doesn't need the personal accolades to validate his three decades in the NFL.

What he really wants now, is a Super Bowl ring, and he intends to win it here in Washington.

"Obviously, I came here to win the Super Bowl. I’m excited about the opportunity," he said before the team's wild card game. "That’s the reason I came here. I didn’t come here for any other reason than to win a Super Bowl."

In the highly competitive coaching profession--with only 32 of each job in the world--Haslett's individual success has given him the patience necessary to work for a title.

When head coach Mike Shanahan selected him for his coaching staff in 2010, Haslett was charged with converting the defense from a 4-3 to a 3-4 for the first time in franchise history.

While the 3-4 defense offers more versatility out of the base defense, it did not come without growing pains in Washington.

The Redskins struggled to field the personnel necessary in 2010, but have made major strides in roster building over the last two offseasons.

"The pieces are falling," Haslett said. "You have a heck of scheme on both sides of the ball and you just have to keep building off of it. Hopefully we’re where we want to be right now. We just have to take advantage of it and keep working."

The 2012 season was a challenge for Haslett and his staff, as the Redskins operated without starters Brian Orakpo, Adam Carriker, Brandon Meriweather or Tanard Jackson for most of the season.

Contributors Cedric Griffin, Chris Neild, Keenan Robinson, Chase Minnifield and Jordan Bernstine also missed significant time, making matchups difficult.

"In the beginning it’s hard," Haslett said. "You lose two safeties, who I think are two really good football players. In the matter of five plays, you lose your best pass rusher (Orakpo) and your best defensive run player on the front-seven (Carriker).

"You lose [nose tackle] Chris Neild who is a good player and cornerback [Chase] Minnifield, who I thought was going to be a good player. Cedric [Griffin] has played half of a year.

"It’s tough, but that’s the great challenge that coaches have on your team. When we were 3-6, that wasn’t easy. We got it going and everybody played their part, stepped up. Players have done a nice job, coaches and assistant coaches have done a nice job of putting a plan together. That’s why we’re here where we’re at right now."

Haslett credited his defensive assistant coaches with being able to prepare young and veteran defenders to contribute during the team's seven-game winning streak.

"The coaching staff has done a good job," he said. "Everybody has an area that they work on. They present it in a classroom. They present it to me, they present it to the players.

"So far it has people buying in and we’re getting a lot better, so it’s a good something to build on."

The Redskins finish the season ranked 28th in total yards, 22nd in total points, 30th against the pass and No. 5 against the run.

Shanahan did not comment on the evaluation process he would go through with his coaches, but emphasized loyalty in his final press conference.

"There’s a lot of things that go on in the offseason with coaching staffs and the players," Shanahan said. "Hopefully, if [coordinators] are interested in a head coaching job or they’re offered a head coaching job...sometimes I’ve entertained that in the past even if they’re under contract."

"You’re always trying to do what’s best for the organization, sometimes what’s best for the person as well, if they’ve made a commitment to you."

Haslett's commitment to bringing a Super Bowl back to Washington appears to fall in line with that philosophy.

"I don’t worry about those kinds of things," Haslett said of other coaching opportunities. "I came here to win and I like the pieces of the puzzle now from the first year and I think you have an opportunity to win a couple of Super Bowls.

"As a player and as a coach, I’ve kind of done everything I’ve wanted to do from an individual standpoint," he continued. "I made rookie of the year, coach of the year – all of that stuff. That stuff doesn’t make a difference to me. I need to get a ring. That’s the one thing I don’t have.

"Obviously I like the future of this club, so that kind of answers the question. I think for the fans of Washington, for the future, they should be excited about where this team is going."

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