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Redskins Defense Poised for Breakout Season

The Washington Redskins defense in 2010 was not spectacular. Besides a few plays here and there, they were a below average defense trying to figure out new defensive schemes with the wrong players. One of the main goals in the shortened offseason was to bolster the lineup and help give Jim Haslett the options he needed to effectively run the base 3-4 defense. After two preseason games, the defense has been solid and looks poised to be much better in 2011.

The most important part of the 3-4 is the nose tackle. Albert Haynseworth manned the position a year ago, or at least was supposed to, and was largely ineffective when he was in the game. The headache he caused left the Redskins shuffling the position throughout the year. Nose tackle Anthony Bryant made a case to make the team in the team’s final regular season games, but is not a true starter. In order to improve this position the Redskins, first took care of their most glaring problem both on and off the field. Hanynesworth is now a Patriot and no longer the sideshow of Redskins Park. To replace the disgruntled ‘Synder Bust’, Mike Shanahan and Jim Haslett went out and brought in Barry Cofield from the New York Giants. Cofield fits what Shanahan wants, a young player with a high ceiling and is highly motivated. After two preseason games, the feeling is Cofield will be just what Shanahan/Haslett wanted and will provided a needed push from the NT position.

The Defensive overhaul continues along the line with high ceiling players who are highly motivated. Stephen Bowen comes over from hated Dallas and looks to start opposite of incumbent Adam Carriker. Bowen has a knack for quarterback pressures and could be a big time steal from the Cowboys. Jarvis Jenkins was added via the draft and all reports indicate that the Redskins have a potential big time starter from the second rounder out of Clemson. This defensive line, if healthy, could be intact for the next three or four seasons in Washington.

The NT position is important, but the linebackers are also highly important in the 3-4. London Fletcher needs no discussing. He is ‘Mr. Redskin’ and again will have over 100 tackles and lead by example. The two young linebackers on the outside are what should excite Skins fans. Brian Orakpo is entering his third season and is 2-2 on Pro-Bowl seasons. Orakpo is simply a beast and can aggressively pursue the quarterback. He is a natural in the 3-4. Redskins fans should be excited over their new draft pick Ryan Kerrigan. Kerrigan is highly motivated and can really rush the QB as well. He may not make the Pro-Bowl this season, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him gain some Defensive Rookie of the Year talk later in the season. 8 sacks from him in his rookie campaign would be a huge lift for the Washington Redskins. The other ILB position opposite of Fletcher is still up for grabs. Rocky McIntosh started there a year ago and should hold onto his position. However, Perry Riley should also see snaps as he is being groomed for the position. Interesting to see who will be the starter later in the year.

The secondary is improved as well. The return of LaRon Landry is unknown, but hopefully his hamstring/Achilles will be healed in time for week 1. Landry is a natural at the Strong Safety position and could be a Pro-Bowl player if his health holds up. Oshiomogho Atogwe gives the Redskins a veteran who knows the system. What Skins fans should be most happy about are his coverage skills. DeAngelo Hall may be a Pro-Bowler, but he routinely gambles and gets beat badly. With Atogwe behind him, Hall can gamble more often resulting in more turnovers for the Redskins. Lastly, Josh Wilson enters the mix opposite of Hall at the cornerback postition. Replacing the coverage abilities of Carlos Rogers will not be an easy task for the Maryland product, but Wilson’s hands and speed should make him a quality #2 corner. His hands alone make him an upgrade from the former first-round pick Rogers. Hopefully these four players can produce many turnovers for the Redskins this season.

The Defense a year ago lacked the pieces needed for the 3-4. A year later they seem poised to improve with the infusion of youth and motivation. Each member of the defense knows their job and it should be fun to see them fly around. The Washington Redskins may not be a top 10 Defense this year and may miss the playoffs, but turnovers are contagious and the Burgundy and Gold should produce many of them. The attitude in Redskins Park is changing and the Redskins defense should help point the franchise in the right direction.


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One Response to “Redskins Defense Poised for Breakout Season”

  1. richbrave says:

    GA-man says it all. Let’s strap up and get it on.

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