Ryan Clark will be one of the most important additions to the Redskins defense in 2014. Even if Clark, who will turn 35 during the season, has lost a step, he will be a significant upgrade to a secondary that has been inconsistent and underachieving since the tragic death of Sean Taylor. However, Clark's leadership and communication skill will be a huge upgrade for a defense that will be without long-time leader London Fletcher. Clark will also be an asset to the Redskin's young safeties. If I'm the Redskins, I would put Phillip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo's lockers on either side of Clark's. Clark can teach these young safeties how to be a professional, both on and off the football field, and as well as in the film room. Clark will be a huge factor in the improvement of a secondary that has been a weak point for the Skins for years now, and the Redskins will count on Clark to not only be a leader, but a contributor. Although he is getting older (by NFL standards), Clark has statistically improved each of the past six seasons. I'll predict 108 tackles, 1 forced fumble, and two interceptions for Clark who although wont be a flashy player or a star in 2014, will be a consistent starter and upgrade for the Redskins.
Roster Bubble: Makes Roster, Starter
The Redskins opted to sign Clark to be their starting safety rather than sign a big name free-agent like Jarius Byrd or Mike Mitchell. Based on his age and the fact that the Redskins only signed him to a one year deal, the Redskins are hoping the young safeties on the roster can learn under a veteran like Clark and be ready to step into a bigger if not starting role in 2015. Either way, Clark is not the long-term answer, and is just as much a mentor or teacher as a player.
Ryan Clark talked to Sean Taylor's fiance, Jackie, to get permission to use his jersey number during practices as a tribute to his fallen friend. Clark has received some negative attention from this, but he has made it clear that this is something he has done since Taylor's murder as a tribute to make sure people remember S. Dot, and that he will be wearing his own number, 25, during the season.
"Every time somebody asks me why I wear a different number to practice, I get to tell Sean’s story," Clark continued. "I get to tell people about the guy I love. I get to tell people about the guy who was possibly on his way to being the greatest safety to ever play the game. And that got cut short. He never got to realize his full potential. But it gives me the opportunity to remind people of him. And maybe people in Washington don’t need that. Maybe that’s the thing."