With the off-season underway for the NFC East Champions Washington Redskins, many have blogged about the defensive issues that need to be addressed. After reviewing the offensive side of the ball (see 2013 Redskins Expectations – Offense), let’s take a good look at my expectations for the Redskins defensive side of the ball.
Secondary Changes: No surprise here that the Redskins secondary needs some TLC. However, after reading many DB-heavy mock drafts for the Skins, I would caution fans to not expect that on draft day. Injuries plagued much of our defense in 2012, including the DB’s.
Let us take an inventory of the additions to the secondary through last year:
- Brandon Meriweather – FS (Free Agent)
- Tanard Jackson – FS (Free Agent)
- Madieu Williams – S (Free Agent)
- Cedric Griffin – CB (Free Agent)
- Jordan Pugh – SS (Waiver Wire)
- Richard Crawford – CB (Draft)
- Jordan Bernstine – S (Draft)
- Jerome Murphy – CB (Waiver Wire)
- Chase Minnifield – DB (Draft)
- Buddy Jackson – CB (Practice Squad)
- Korey Lindsey – DB (Practice Squad)
- Domonique Johnson – DB (Waiver Wire)
That’s 12 DB’s added to the Redskins roster since last year! Now, I’m not saying any of these will be heading to the Pro Bowl in 2013. I don’t expect D. Hall to be back; unless it’s for a substantial savings (contract re-negotiation). M. Williams was a liability in coverage (if we can classify it that). However, there is some talent here to work with, especially if some come back from injuries. I fully expect Brandon Meriweather to be the starting FS for Washington. Also, I enjoyed Cedric Griffins’ hard style of play (which has lacked in our secondary), minus the penalties.
A few surprise up-and-comers could easily be Jerome Murphy, Richard Crawford, Jordan Pugh, and Chase Minnifield. With that said, I would expect the Redskins to add bulk in this secondary to get more physical. However, I don’t see more than two DB’s being selected via the draft. Expect the Redskins to find at least 1 heralded DB in Free Agency or trade (i.e. Leodis McKelvin, Rodgers-Cromartie, etc.) to solidify this group and then add a few more in the draft.
I love the idea of getting a guy like DJ Swearinger (SC, 6’1", 210 lbs.) for SS. He could compete with M. Williams and T. Jackson immediately (most likely one of them would be cut, which is fine with me). Either Xavier Rhodes or Terry Hawthorne would be nice for competition at CB.
Therefore, here’s my projected starting secondary next year:
CB1 – Leodis McKelvin/ or other FA
CB2 – Josh Wilson
CB3 – Cedric Griffin / R. Crawford or Rookie (X. Rhodes / T. Hawthorne) – based on competition/injuries
SS – DJ Swearinger (or other Rookie)
FS – B. Meriweather
Pass-Rusher: I blogged last off-season that the Redskins needed more depth for OLB, in case of injury to Orapko or Kerrigan (see article here http://www.hogshaven.com/2012/4/7/2932279/redskin-draft-needs-after-qb). Most fans mocked that idea. Must hurt to be wrong after the defense suffered from lack of pass rush all season. This added more pressure on our lack-luster and injured secondary. Expect the Redskins to seek another pass rusher from trades, FA and/or the draft. Look at Aldon Smith in S.F. for an example of the type of role-player we need for passing situations. The addition may not be a typical 3-4 OLB.
· D-Line: I don’t expect many changes on the defensive line this off-season. However, I’m not sure about A. Carriker return next year after his injury. J. Jenkins seemed to improve throughout the season, but never lived up to the hype from last year’s pre-season showing. I expect limited changes here unless a solid starter comes available in the draft at NT. I would contemplate moving B. Cofield to DE if we had a bigger NT (H. Ngata like player), but I don’t see that happening this off-season.
Thanks for reading, please let me know your thoughts in the comments section. HTTR!