[Note by Skin Patrol, 06/10/08 7:02 PM EDT ] Promoted, edited slightly, etc. Enjoy and thanks to CptChaosSidekick for the FanPost. I demand more FanPosts from all reader(s). Or else...
Pat Kirwan writes a very interesting article about upcoming defensive position battles around the league. In his article, he hits on the battle that is fan favriote Reed Doughty vs Raider castaway Stuart Schweigert.
Schweigert was just signed as the Redskins continue to beef up the back end of their roster. He had 10 starts for the Raiders last year with 69 tackles, four passes defended and two interceptions. Doughty came off the bench after the death of Sean Taylor and started six games with 53 tackles and two passes defended. Both are close in age, setting up a battle which may be won by the guy who flashes big-play ability in preseason games.
With all of the other starting positions likely decided, this should be the only preseason battle for a starting spot. I love a good position battle and think it brings out the best in players. One knock I've heard on Schweigert is that he had some tackling issues last year so keep you collective eyes on that during the preseason.
Mr Kirwan mentions whomever flashes big-play ability in the preseason will have a leg up in the position battle. I only mention this because our defense, although ranked high in past years, hasn't been exactally big-play. By big-play I mean a high amount of turnovers and interception/fumble returns for TD's.
I like that despite having questionable depth at safety behind Doughty at the end of last season, through the draft and smart free agency we actually have a positional battle for supremacy.
[Note by Skin Patrol, 06/10/08 7:05 PM EDT ] Crowded secondaries are a good problem to have. My additional commentary is as follows: Pat Kirwan took on the mammoth task of addressing the key positional battles for all 32 teams, so he should be applauded for the scope of his endeavor. But his delivery on who will win this particular battle is (understandably due to the scope?) pretty meh. To quote: "Both are close in age, setting up a battle which may be won by the guy who flashes big-play ability in preseason games." If you're going to be boilerplate in your explanation, there's no need to qualify it with "which may." Predictions of the sort that state "the guy with the big-play ability will win" are in desparate need of bolstering, not weakening to the point of uselessness. I don't have to know anything about any particular positional battle to make the same prediction and be right, so long as I qualify it with 'maybe'.
Anyways, I don't know if he's right. Reed Doughty is a good safety for a couple of reasons (sure tackling, familiarity with the coaching staff and at least some chemistry with LaRon Landry) none of which likely include his proclivity for "big-play ability." That's not the kind of player he is. And I think some coaches might prefer a guy who happens to be reliable and will play the way you ask him to play rather than, as an example, a flashy "big-play" type (admitting that this concept is vague, difficult to define, and thus of questionable use in evaluating players) like Roy Williams who may or may not be a one dimensional player that struggles under particular systems -- the kind that face passing offenses, for instance. Which includes all of them.
Because I've said all that, Reed Doughty is going to have big-plays this preseason and win a starting spot exclusively in virtue of that fact, thus making me, as per usual, look like a total dumbass. Not that I needed the help...