Washington Redskins

Lou Spanos, Pittsburgh Steelers Assistant Coach, Washington Bound

PITTSBURGH - 2009:  Lou Spanos of the Pittsburgh Steelers poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by NFL Photos)
NFL Photos/Getty Images
Zack NallyCorrespondent IJanuary 14, 2010

Long-time Pittsburgh Steelers defensive assistant Lou Spanos has accepted an offer to become the Washington Redskins' new linebacker coach.

The latest addition to the Redskins coaching makeover comes as a surprise, as the former Tulane star has been a part of the Steeler organization for fourteen years. He is one of only two assistants to be a member of the coaching staffs that saw three Super Bowls: XXX, XL, and XLIII. 

Pittsburgh has been known for their success at the linebacker position over the years, sending at least one to 39 of the 57 Pro Bowls that have been played. 

During Spanos' tenure, he has coached a number of memorable linebackers. Players such as Greg Lloyd, Levon Kirkland, Kevin Greene, Chad Brown, Jason Gildon, Clark Haggans, Joey Porter, and most recently, James Harrison.

With Jim Haslett in as the Redskins' new defensive coordinator, the team will more than likely switch to a 3-4 defense, something Spanos is very comfortable with. 

What does this mean for Washington fans? Well, a number of things

First, rookie Brian Orakpo had a standout year with 50 tackles and 11 sacks. A large majority of sack leaders in the past decade have done so in a 3-4 system, so expect Orakpo to continue on his way to becoming a Pro Bowl linebacker. 

Also, while London Fletcher is the starting Mike linebacker, it's safe to assume that H.B. Blades or Chris Wilson will fulfill the second middle position. That is, unless the Redskins acquire a better option in free agency or the draft (Rolando McClain?).

Even though he has spent a year in rehab, you couldn't ask for a better anchor on a three-man line than Albert Haynesworth. He is big enough to fill the gaps and has a collection of moves to provide a marginal pass rush. 

Washington is a team heavy with linemen and light on linebackers, but I expect that Spanos has the ability to turn mediocre players into role-players. 

The Redskins also hope to bulk up their run game with the hiring of former Denver running backs coach Bobby Turner. His experience in Shanahan's run-first, throw-second philosophy will do wonders for a struggling rush attack headed up by an aging Clinton Portis

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