The Doughty Dilemma - Should He Stay, or Should He Go?

Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

Is Reed Doughty worth keeping over a younger player with a higher ceiling?

Each season there is a Redskins veteran fan favorite who transcends the normal boundaries of time - in other words, this player has obviously lost a step, and has shown declines in play, yet fans are hoping to hold onto that guy for a number a different reasons - some not due to his ability to remain playing the game at a high level.

Santana Moss was/is in this category. The most prevalent player who exemplified the feelings of sentimentality amongst die-hard Redskins fans is Chris Cooley. Although MOST fans have moved on, there are still a few that want to hang on to Cooley, in desperate hope he will resurrect some of the old form that once made him a fan favorite.

The past two seasons we have everyone's darling Reed Doughty. Doughty exemplifies much of what was the Redskins over the past 10 seasons - average ability, limited athleticism, but a good, hard working mentality, and strong locker room presence. There is no doubt that Doughty is a solid character guy, who can mimic a coach on the field, but the soon-to-be 31 year old strong safety has always been a liability in pass coverage, and with the ever-changing NFL, with a direct emphasis on mismatches in the passing game, Doughty has become a target for good offensive coordinators, and quarterbacks whenever he is on the field. If Doughty was 30 pounds heavier, and played ONLY in the box as a linebacker, I may have no issues with him on the field, but his limited athleticism, slow recognition, and questionable coverage techniques make me shutter whenever I see him 10 yards deep in coverage.

The question at hand centers around the value Doughty brings to other aspects of the team, and whether these outweigh the limitations he has at safety.

Below is a look at both the positives and negatives of Doughty's game, and how these can translate to his chances of remaining a Washington Redskin.

Positives:

Doughty comes from the other side of the field, showing excellent range to track down the running back.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-fantasy/0ap2000000090529/RB-Stewart-17-yd-run

Here is where Doughty is at his best. He shows a good burst to the football, and good open-field tackling ability.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-fantasy/0ap2000000123263/Redskins-defense-sack-1-yd-loss

Here we see Doughty as an in-the-box defender, walked up to the line of scrimmage. Doughty is sent on the blitz, and runs down Russell Wilson from behind for the sack.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-fantasy/0ap2000000123270/Redskins-defense-sack-5-yd-loss

Here is Doughty again making a solid open-field tackle on a dangerous running back.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-fantasy/09000d5d81c4b4c7/RB-Johnson-15-yd-run

Special teams is where most fans see Doughty's value the most. On this play he makes a great hit on the returner, causing a fumble that is recovered by the Redskins.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/09000d5d81ad83bd/Alexander-fumble-recovery

Negatives:

In this video, you'll see what I mean by slow reaction time, and being caught flat-footed. This happens against the run when Doughty is in the box - which is supposed to be his strength.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-fantasy/0ap2000000123259/RB-Lynch-15-yd-run

On this play, you see Doughty in off-man coverage against a tight end. He gets completely turned around, and gives up a huge gain.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-fantasy/0ap2000000112808/QB-Weeden-to-TE-Cameron-28-yd-pass

This defense is a man-over. Doughty is lined up as a SS, but bails at the snap to get deep. His responsibility is to help on deep coverage to his half of the field. He's late getting over, and a big play is the result.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-fantasy/09000d5d82226985/QB-Manning-to-TE-Ballard-41-yd-pass

This defense is a two-high safety look. Doughty bails at the snap, and is responsible for deep-half. He gets caught flat footed, and lets his receiver run through his zone, and shows no closing speed to catch him, allowing a 68 yard gain. We know this is cover two, as you see Hall stay underneath, and pick up the short route.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-fantasy/09000d5d82225903/QB-Manning-to-WR-Nicks-68-yd-pass

What are your thoughts on Doughty, and his chance to make the team in 2013?
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