Grading the Redskins: Defensive backs

Grading the Redskins: Defensive backs
October 5, 2013, 11:00 am
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Redskins TE coach Sean McVay on depth at the position

Tandler - Tarik

At 1-3, a quarter of the Redskins’ season is already in the books. It’s not the start the reigning NFC East champions had envisioned, but given the sorry state of their division, all hope is not lost, either. As the team enters its Week 5 bye, the players are on hiatus but Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler are grading the team position-by-position. Join the conversation in the comments below.

Like most position groups on defense, there’s been some good and bad in the Redskins’ secondary. The unit ranked 30th in passing yards allowed last season and through four games in 2013 it’s improved to 25th. Better? Yes. Still much room for improvement? Yes.

El-Bashir: Let’s start with the good. DeAngelo Hall has scored on fumble and interception returns, while rookie David Amerson also has a pick-6. (That’s as many touchdowns as the running backs have combined so far.) Now for the bad. Despite an improved pass rush up front, the secondary has allowed nine passing touchdowns (tied for second most), the second most yards after the catch (734) and continues to be plagued by missed tackles. According to, cornerback Josh Wilson has missed a team-high eight tackles, while safeties Brandon Meriweather and Reed Doughty have whiffed five times apiece. Rookie safety Bacarri Rambo has missed four, but he was benched after only two games. It’s unlikely that help will be coming from outside of the organization. So it’s up to the current players (and coaches) to get better.

Grade: C-

Tandler: Going into the year, the defensive backfield was never expected to be a strength of the team given the uncertainty at safety and infusion of new bodies at cornerback. But the performance has been even worse than anticipated. Tarik chronicled the missed tackles, which are both endemic and inexcusable. The unit has suffered from growing pains by Amerson and, before he was benched, Rambo. Problems with rookies are to be expected but the veterans should pick up the slack. The bottom line is that opposing quarterbacks have a passer rating of 111.9 against the Redskins, meaning that the QB’s going against the Redskins are performing at an All-Pro level. Yes, it’s a team game and other parts of the team share responsibility. But the defensive backs own it and the grade that goes with it.

Grade: D+