Sunday, July 28, 2013

How Good Can A Revamped Redskins Defense Be In 2013?

(Photo via: The Washington Times)
We all know how bad the secondary was in the beginning of last season and how they improved with the addition of pressure and more blitzes via Haslett’s adjustments to his personnel that was decimated by injury. The team knew that heading into the off-season changes needed to be made for the team to be successful.

The team addressed the issues in the draft with three ball hawking DBs, two safeties (who can also be considered steals if they perform to their potential) and a cornerback. 2nd round pick David Amerson could’ve been a 1st round pick if it wasn’t for his uneven play in his senior season. After a stellar junior year in which he led the country with 13 INTs, the bad came in 2012 when he had only 5 INTs. Amerson was sometimes badly beaten because of his gambling style and trying to match the success of his previous season. Opposing teams used that against him and would frequently beat him with a double move. He says he’s learned from his mistakes and is ready to improve and get back to the form of his 2011 success.
In the 4th round the team drafted Phillip Thomas. After watching tape on him, I can’t wait to see him on the field flying around making tackles and blowing up RBs. However, I’ve noticed some things that he needs to fix at the next level.. Sometimes he has a tendency to get beat when he’s in coverage against faster WRs, so to me that makes him more of a SS than a FS. However, he’ll learn both positions in this scheme because so much pressure is put on the safeties and they have similar assignments in this defense.

Last but not least is the 6th round pick (slipped in the draft because of off field issues) Bacarri Rambo. Now he has the biggest potential of all the draft picks of being a certified steal for the Redskins. With Rambo saying that all of  his problems is behind him and how it helped him grow up and learn critical life lessons, I’m satisfied that there are going to be no problems out of this kid except for opposing WRs going across the field. Rambo is the only pure FS we have on the roster (FS Tanard Jackson is still suspended so not technically on roster) and has looked good during the OTAs and mini-camps. He has a slight edge on Thomas, who had to go back to school for graduation, so Phillip is in essence a week behind Baccari.  Going into training camp, they both should be up to speed and ready to show what they can do on the field. We’ve discussed the rookies now it’s time to look at the veteran members of the secondary.

Now to the returning players CB Deangelo Hall, CB Josh Wilson, SS Brandon Merriweather (if healthy) should be much improved with the departure of Madieu Williams. Now Williams wasn’t the scapegoat for the whole defense but I can put at least two losses on him last year. Then you have new free agent pick up EJ Biggers who could be the 3rd CB unless 2nd year man Richard Crawford has something to say about it and the word around Ashburn is that he will battle Biggers for that spot.  Crawford is much improved in coverage more aggressive on WRs. He has improved upon his film study like he’s a junior London Fletcher.
Then there is Chase Minnifield who’s coming off ACL surgery on the same knee he had microfracture surgery the year before. If he can stay healthy this preseason and doesn’t show too much, I believe the Redskins will try to slide him thru waivers and put him on the practice squad to give him more practice time and have him ready for a legitimate shot at  starting next year. This is because all three starting CBs will be unrestricted free agents next season.

 Now to the safeties there’s the underrated SS Reed Doughty, SS Dejon Gomes, SS Jordan Pugh and SS Jordan Bernstein, who is coming off a PCL, MCL and ACL tear in his knee. As long as these guys perform when called upon there is no reason we can’t have a top 10 defense in 2013. Now the man that most definitely have the most influence on how good this defense will be is Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett.

            Having a former head coach on your coaching staff is always a plus but having a coach like Haslett as your DC is a bonus. Next to Buddy Ryan and Gregg Williams I haven’t seen so many different types of exotic blitzes before and how effective they are when executed. I know a lot of Redskins Nation may not agree with me but just look at the adjustments he made from the 3-6 start to the 7-0 finish. He recognized that running zone coverage and sending 4 or maybe 5 rushers at the QB was not getting it done, so instead he started blitzing 6, 7 and sometimes 8 rushers with exotic, yet effective blitzes. Sometimes he got burned but a majority of the time he burned the other team
. Coach Haslett said in his presser at the end of mini-camp that its year three and he’s going to add some wrinkles to the defensive playbook. With the addition of the three defensive draft picks and the versatility they bring to the field, I can just imagine the fun he is having devising new formations personnel packages and exotic blitzes to maximize the effectiveness of his returning players and his new ball hawking players. The team forced 31 turnovers last year and 21 of those were INTs. Of those 21, only 11 came via the secondary. This year the emphasis is to get their hands on the ball and take it away from opposing offenses. With an improved pass rush, another solid year from our LBs and improved play of the back end I see no reason why this team can’t have a top 10 defense and a top 5 offense. Just imagine Coach Haslett going with a 3-3-5 formation which is 3 down linemen, 3 LBs and 5 DBs or possibly a 5-1-5 which is 5 down linemen, 1 LB and 5 DBs. Those are just some of the possibilities that will throw off and confuse opposing offenses with those personnel groupings because you can blitz from almost anywhere on the field.  With the addition of younger, faster talent, the coverage aspect shouldn’t be an issue either. With those combinations and few injuries in 2013, the Washington Redskins will be a tough team to beat and will once again rise to prominence and possible dominance.

For all your #Redskins news and info follow me on Twitter @Tattooedscorpio #HTTR #RedskinsNation. Feel free to leave a comment about this article or any article previous.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Keep Following The Tweets, IIWII Has You Covered

Hey Everybody,
FedEx Al chiming in to let you know that IIWII is constantly busy to provide you Redskins coverage.
Right now I am working on some editing on the site so you should be getting a new article in the next day or so from our great new writer @TattooedScorpio. Matter of fact, he's like RGIII, ready to get to the next article and I'm kind of holding him up a bit because of some of my other writing commitments and my work schedule.

But you can get some of the latest news and updates from him on Twitter @TattooedScorpio and from me @SOWSkinsBlog.

Meanwhile, if you'd like to see what I've been up to please check out Son of Washington over at . SOW has a writer down in Richmond covering training camp. So breaking news from camp, analysis, pictures and maybe even a video of two it might be worth checking out.

Thanks for reading. We really do appreciate you coming to IIWII and reading our stuff. Feel free to drop us a line either through an article comment or via our email

Enjoy training camp and if you're in Richmond please don't do this if you don't get an autograph from RGIII or another player.

If I have time, I'll chime in on this later.

Monday, July 22, 2013

How Good Can A Revamped Redskins Defense Be In 2013?

Via Bleacher Report
The next part of the defense that we’ll talk about is the LB corp. which is captained by the future hall of fame ILB London Fletcher. He is a leader, a tackling machine, durable (starting in 240 consecutive games) and a mentor. These young LBs who are trying to find their way, have looked up to the veteran and have learned a great deal from him. They hope to become as good as he is and have such a long and successful career.

One of the LBs that have improved while Fletcher has been here is the underrated ILB Perry Riley. Riley, who has quietly developed into a steady and also consistent LB is also in a contract year. He has something to prove if he’s to get the big money in his second contract. He’s been good but not great and with this possibly being London’s last year, this is a  prime  opportunity for him to step it up to another level this season and show he can be the captain of the defense in 2014 and beyond like his mentor.

We’ve already spoken about Kerrigan and Orakpo and how dynamic they can be. However, it’s worth noting that the two LBs and a few others from the front seven went to a pass rushing camp this offseason so they could improve upon their current skills and learn better techniques to get to the QB. To me that shows that they want to get better and develop the teamwork that can help propel a playoff team to a championship team.
Via Bleacher Report 

 After the starting group, things get a little bit fuzzy. With the talented, versatile special teams  captain Lorenzo Alexander no longer here (Signed with Arizona/FA),  now up to one of the young guys to step up and help make this defense a top ranked one. Also one will have to develop into the defensive quarterback of the team since many thought Alexander would be the guy after London’s retirement.

I like the mixture of veteran players to the youth currently on the roster. With all the competition at camp, I’m sure our LBs will also be a strength in the defense this year. We have a young pass rusher in Brandon Jenkins who is coming off a foot injury which may make him a steal for the Redskins. If he didn’t sustain that injury it’s almost certain that he would have been a first round pick instead of falling to the 5th round. He does have to transition from DE (with his hand in the dirt) to the stand-up, pass rushing OLB. But as we’ve seen with Orakpo and Kerrigan it is possible he can flourish. The word out of Redskins Park from DC Jim Haslett in his last press conference before the break was that Jenkins is making progress. Also, the quiet acquisition of LB Darryl Tapp, a pass rush specialist in his own right, will help with the absence of Rob Jackson. Jackson is suspended for the first four games of the season due towards violating the league’s substance abuse policy (he took some medicine from his girlfriend and it had codeine in it and he didn’t have prescription for it) which I feel in his case is a terrible miscarriage of the CBA.
Via Bleacher Report

The team has also signed a few undrafted free agents (college players that didn’t get drafted) and the word out of camp is it possible for one of the undrafted players to be signed to the practice squad or possibly the active roster. From watching tape, I love the potential of Will Compton out of Nebraska and Coach Haslett has said that Marvin Burdette has impressed him early. But we will see when training camp starts in a few days.

Next time we’ll take a look at the DBs. Last year, without a good pass rush or LB, the secondary had a lot put on their shoulders. With some new additions and more help from up front can this unit be better than they were in 2012? Find out in my next segment.

For all your #Redskins news and info  follow me on Twitter @Tattooedscorpio #HTTR #RedskinsNation. Feel free to leave a comment about this article or any article previous.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

LINEDWEAR: The Future of DC Socks and Sportswear?

(Creative and colorful sock designs have become popular in the DC area thanks to RGIII. Photos via GQ)

Socks have played an important role in Redskins culture over the last ten years. The late Sean Taylor started to wear a multi-striped long sock during his time in DC. It impressed a few of his teammates enough that they also started to wear the odd looking socks until the NFL decided enough was enough and started to fine the players for violating the uniform code.

Today we have franchise quarterback Robert Griffin the third, who likes to show his personality with unique and creative sock designs. From wearing his Superman sock while winning the Heisman trophy, to wearing his self designed burgundy and gold "Go Catch Your Dream" socks at the NFL draft. RGIII knows that he can be a popular and talented role model yet still have a fun side or share an inspiring message to his fans.

Some people seem to have a passion for socks. If you're at FedEx Field for a tailgate prior to a game, you're bound to encounter many Redskin fans wearing versions of RGIII's socks or some unique design of their own to root for the home team. It was this passion for not only the Redskins but DC sports in general and the DC area that inspired Will Simon to create his first line of socks under his brand LINEDWEAR.
(Here's one unique way of saying Hail to the Redskins)

Will moved to the DC area four years ago and fell in love with its variety of people, culture, sights and local sports teams. He wanted to have people be able to represent the DC area all the time during various activities and what a better way to do that than having people wear his design. Inspired by DC's iconic skyline consisting of the Washington Monument, the Capitol and both Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. For his inaugural collection, he decided to highlight his design with the team colors of local DC area teams like the Redskins, Hoyas, Nationals and Caps. To show that DC is not just a beautiful city, but a city with pride.

But Will knew a design wasn't just enough. He needed to find a sock that was worthy of being called LINEDWEAR. He wanted to create a sock for a person who was not just going to a game, but somebody who might be jogging, working out or even going out for a night on the town who wanted to show a little hometown pride.

Using his own money (even tapping into his 401K to provide investment funds), Will found a manufacture that was able to make a sock to his expectations. They had experience making high quality socks of other companies such as J Crew and  the Northface. Simon was able to make a sock with a similar material blend to that of Nike's Dri-Fit that has re-enforced heels and toes, good arch support and were specifically crafted for the right and left feet. He then was able to get a pallet of colors that perfectly matched the teams he was representing on the socks.

Creating a small business isn't easy and although his inaugural line is set to debut in August, Will has started a Kickstarter campaign to help develop and start up his second line which will include other color combinations (including a University of Maryland version) and possibly knee high socks. Will hopes that he can eventually expand his line to support various charities including breast cancer awareness and a camouflage sock to support the Wounded Warriors Project.

So do you like the socks? Would you like to get a pair or like to help see the second line come to fruition? Here's how you can help. Go to the LINEDWARE  Kickstarter page and donate. A donation of just $15 gets you a pair of socks from the inaugural line and Will told me that when future DC colors or styles come out, those who donated $15 will get a free pair of those socks as well.

So what's the future of LINEDWARE? Well, the sky could be the limit for Will Simon. If the line is successful Will may expand from beyond the DC market to other cities. Or he could go beyond socks and maybe other types of LINEDWEAR brand clothing. Could LINEDWEAR be like another local clothing company that expanded worldwide like Under Armour?

But right now Will's goal is to share his love of DC with other people and provide a fun but wearable clothing option to the citizens of the nation's capital.

Interested in helping a local business get to the next level? You can donate to LINEDWEAR's Kickstarter and get some cool merchandise in return. Go to to make a donation.

Monday, July 15, 2013

How Good Can a Revamped Redskins Defense Be in 2013? (Part1)

Washington Redskins defense must be more effective and get better pressure in 2013
           In 2012 the Washington Redskins defense was supposed to be the strength of the team. Unfortunately with injuries and under-performing back up players, the first half of the season wasn’t pretty. With SS Brandon Merriweather, OLB Brian Orakpo, and hopefully DE Adam Carriker (starting the season on the PUP list) the defense will return to their 2011 form. The 2012 defense was ranked 30th in the league last year but did show improvement in the second half of the season during the 7 game winning streak that propelled the team to the NFC East Championship and a home playoff game since 1999. With 3 new draft picks for the secondary, the back end should be much improved from last year.  There are 4 major factors, I’ve noticed that go into the defense’s improvements .and possibly a Top 10 defense in 2013. I’m going to outline my four factors for the defense and if they can excel and are consistent in two out of the four areas I feel we will have a top ranked defense to go along with the top ranked offense from last year and then we will see how far these Redskins can get back to the promise land of a 4th Super Bowl title.
Orakpo must have a double-digit sack total for the D to be effective in 2013

            The most important key to this defense this year is the pass rush. With Orakpo being injured in game 2 last season, I believe that was the incident that caused the Redskins defense to be as bad as it was in the 1st half of the season. He’s coming back from a torn pectoral muscle that he’s had to have surgery on for two years in a row. He’s in the final year of his rookie contract and is scheduled to make 5.1 mil this season. Word from OTAs and mini-camp is that Orakpo is hungry and ready to wreak havoc on opposing left tackles and to punish opposing quarterbacks relentlessly. He will need that type of mindset and determination to show that he can be an elite pass rusher in 2013 and beyond. Barry Cofield said during OTAs that he is a critical piece of the defense that makes everyone else’s job a bit easier because of the attention teams pay to #98.

Speaking of Cofield, he is the unheralded NT that also helps makes this defense go with him, occupying lineman most of the time. He’s been recently rated the top rated NT in a 3-4 scheme by’s Pat Kirwan. It all works hand in hand as the D line occupies blockers and the OLBs Orakpo and the other menace of Pro Bowl OLB Ryan Kerrigan (coming from the other side to attack the backfield. If these two stay healthy I believe they can amass over 20-30 sacks between them alone.

Photo via: Washington Post
 The missing piece and biggest question mark on the D line is Adam Carriker. It was reported earlier this offseason that Carriker had a setback in his rehabilitation and that he had to have a second surgery to relieve some inflammation. Jarvis Jenkins is slotted to take his place in the starting lineup. He is ready to be the next man up and try to duplicate if not improve on the end of his 2013 season which saw him become more comfortable and confident  with his surgically repaired knee. Jenkins was upset at the fact that he didn’t have any sacks in 2013 and vows to improve that number in the upcoming season. Adam Carriker is our best pass rushing DE totaling 5.5 sacks in his last full season in 2011, which is an added bonus from a DE in a 3-4 defense.

With the re-signing of NT/DE Chris Baker who can play DE and with Phillip Merling signing a
reserves/futures contract in January, hopefully with the added depth on the d line if Carriker
isn’t able to start the season or ends up on IR hopefully one of these guys can step up and try to fill the shoes of one of the best DEs on the team. I didn’t feel a need to mention Stephen Bowen because he has been one of the most consistent players on defense since he came over from another NFC East team (A name that I refuse to mention)

. He’s had to deal with a great deal of adversity from the passing of his infant twin son to last year, to playing the end of the season with a torn bicep.  With Bowen fully healed, he should be back on track to have a successful 2013 season.  While the pass rush and the battle in the trenches by the D line is what I consider the most important foundation of our defense, the play of the linebackers is critical in order for the defense to be successful. We’ll take a look at the linebacking corp. in our next segment.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

5 Reasons Why RGIII Running Less Can Still Lead To Success

(Sometimes RGIII doesn't need to run to be effective. Photo:Brad MIlls/USA Today)
 (Editor's Note: IIWII is proud to welcome Tattooed Scorpio as a new writer to the site.
 He'll be providing some great takes and more coverage of the Redskins as the season
 progresses. For Redskins news and info, please follow him on Twitter @TattooedScorpio)

Throughout the off-season there has been plenty of so-called experts saying that RGIII and the Washington Redskins have to stop running the young QB so much. However if he does, the offense will lose something or be less effective. The zone read and pistol formations have come into the league with a vengeance like the wildcat a few years ago and most say it will die like most gimmick schemes but I completely disagree with those opinions. As long as you have a mobile QB you can have an effective offense even if you limit his designed run attempts.
Here's five reasons why:

1. Deception
The zone read option and pistol formations give the offense some added deception and make the defense pick their poison. Usually by doing so, the offense has the upper hand because no matter what the defense chooses the offense has a answer for their attack. If you look at the three divisional games where the defenses had a second look at the offense you can clearly see that the LBs and safeties still had no idea how to stop the zone read. My favorite way to describe it is the LBs were on skates and frozen in quicksand. By the defense having to guess at what's coming, that gives RGIII the open windows in coverage that allow the wide open slants that we saw all last year. In those games we were going against some of the league's premium pass rushers (JPP, Demarcus Ware, Osi, Trent Cole etc.) and they barely got a whiff of RGIII. An added bonus is that RGIII has a great ball fake and is a magician with the football. Many times he fools not only the defense but cameramen shooting the game.

2. Protecting the QB
I hate to even go into to this topic because I'm so tired of hearing it myself, but here we go: RGIII running less will limit the big hits from LBs and hard hitting safeties in the league but as Mike and Kyle Shanahan have said over and over the ZRO allows the QB to see where the hit is coming from and allowing him to adjust by sliding, diving or getting out of bounds. When a QB is in the pocket he is more susceptible to blindside hits which are the most dangerous when setting up to throw not being aware of the impending hit. Now it's ultimately up to RGIII to protect himself when he breaks the pocket on designed runs or broken plays (the 3 plays where he got hurt last season). I believe he has learned from his mistakes last year and saw what happens when he doesn't protect himself. He's smart enough to know what to do in the future. Now you have defensive coordinators such as Gunther Cunningham saying that these young QBs are gonna get hurt running the ZRO in the NFL and its a fad and not gonna last long.....we will see.

3.Potent running game
With the emergence of Alfred Morris last year and putting up the numbers he did we're hoping for a repeat performance but to duplicate it would be a feat in itself now that he's not a surprise to anyone anymore. Roy Helu is coming back healthy along with Evan Royster (who may be a roster casualty if he has an uneventful pre-season like his 2012 performance) and the drafting of the young speedy Chris Thompson and the shifty Jawan Jamison. The Redskins should have a potent running game with the same offensive line coming back that helped lead the Redskins to be the top ranked rushing team in the NFL. With a monster running back in Alfred Morris and the drafting of two change-of-pace backs to spell Morris. I see no reason why the Redskins can't lead the league in rushing for 2 years in a row.

4.Healthy offensive weapons
We all know about the injuries to Pierre Garcon, Fred Davis, Joshua Morgan and Roy Helu. That's a lot of offensive production was not in the lineup last year. With these weapons being healthy going into 2013, a returning healthy offensive line and the drafting of TE Jordan Reed and the aforementioned Chris Thompson, the offense is not short on playmakers or options for Kyle to play with and give defenses a headache trying to game plan. The fact that it is the second year in the offense for Pierre and Joshua should be a automatic boost to production because they are more familiar with the scheme and the timing of their QB. Can't you just imagine how much fun Kyle is having thinkng up new formations and the possible personnel mismatches he's gonna have with all his new toys in his potent offense. I cant wait either.

5. Kyle Shanahan
(Photo: John McDonnell)
Now I know no one wants to think about the 2010 or 2011 seasons, but if you can think back and remember how many times you saw a wounded duck of a ball thrown by Rex Grossman to a wide open Jabar Gaffney or Anthony Armstrong you will realize how good Kyle's offense really can be. Just imagine how potent and explosive its going to be with a legitimate #1 WR in Pierre Garcon, a healthy threat across the middle in Fred Davis and big, fast, yet unproven target down the field in Leonard Hankerson, a good running back in Alfred Morris, and in the rookie Thompson or a hopefully fully healthy Helu. I dont know how defenses are going to their gameplan to stop just one of these players when there are so many weapons available. Not to mention Jordan Reed who can line up on the line or as a slot end. You can just imagine the possibilities that Kyle is designing up at Redskins Park.

I know I'm writing this in terms of a best case scenario but after years of disappointment and false hopes, why not look at the bright side and future that I believe we are in store for in 2013. 

For all your #Redskins news and info you can follow me on Twitter @TattooedScorpio