Regrettably, it took the loss of a team leader in solid, steady Phillip Daniels. But the Redskins became a better football team yesterday.
I like to think I'm not one for hyperbole, at least in terms of football. But I assert that the Redskins defensive line, its only laughably weak facet just hours ago, is now one of its strongest.
Last year, Redskins defensive linemen recorded 21 sacks (if I can count correctly). Jason Taylor had 11 last year. If he sustains production (no reason to believe he won't), the Redskins DL just increased its production by over 50%. Last year as a team we had 33 sacks -- good for 16th in the NFL. If we add to the Redskins' total 11 sacks, we'd move up to 44 last season, which would put us behind only 4 teams -- one of which beat us in the playoffs, the other our most hated rival who had their best season in recent memory, and the other two that played in the Super Bowl. Coincidence?
As people on this site have been saying for centuries, you need to put pressure on the QB to win. Period. The Giants had a terrible secondary, but shut down the Patriots' offense in the Bowl, literally the best in history. Why? The Big Blue pass rush. Now, the Redskins have one of their own. Call them the Burgundy People Eaters, the Zorn Curtain, or the Salsa-Dancing-Sackmasters (or think of your own goddamn name, alright?), but the Redskins have a pass-rush off the line that can be envied by almost every team in the NFL. When did we EVER, EVER think we could say that this season after drafting 3 offensive players with our top picks?!?!?!
Worries about Chris Wilson? Dispelled. He is literally a secret weapon now, because if he comes on the field with Taylor and Carter, who's going to notice him? Worried if Griffin could withstand another season of double coverage and get pressure? Can't double him now -- Taylor, Carter, and Griffin all are double-cover worthy (Carter had 10.5 sacks last year -- very respectable). Worried about the secondary? Carlos Rogers can now rest a little easier, knowing that when he recovers, he won't have to run for hours as WR's run full routes -- because they won't have time anymore. The Redskins defense just moved into contention for elite status. Just with the trade for Jason Taylor. I said it.
The Redskins can blitz without a blitz package, something Williams could never accomplish with his personnel in Washington. Someone can chase down every QB in the division on any pass play now, whether it's Carter or Taylor or Wilson.
Simply put, I'm ecstatic. This may be the best move of the offseason, assuming the man stays healthy. Way to go, Cerrato.