|(Photo via: The Washington Times)|
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.
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