They say that the sideline is a defenders best friend. Old Man Sideline never missed a tackle or blew a coverage.DeAngelo Hall could be missing his best friend a lot this season.The veteran cornerback, who is entering his entering his ninth season, has been getting a great deal of work at the slot cornerback position after having played on the outside for most of his career.I'm getting a lot of reps out there as the nickel, Hall said. I'm feeling comfortable I'm feeling good.Calling the slot corner the nickel makes it sound like its a substitute position that should be filled by a lesser player. That used to be the case. However, the game has changed with teams going into three-wide sets on first and 10 about as often as they do on third and eight.Greg Cosell of NFL Films wrote the followingKeep in mind teams also run three-wide groups in normal down and distance situations as a regular feature of their offense. What burden does that place on the defense, as it specifically relates to the slot corner? It means he has three responsibilities: cover man (the most apparent), blitzer and run defender (not talked about enough). Those are three distinct skill sets, but they are all required of a slot corner.In short, the position cant be an afterthought. No longer can you get away with throwing your third-best cornerback out there and hoping that he can hold it down. Thats what the Redskins tried to last year by putting Kevin Barnes in the slot. The results were mixed at best. Barnes was benched late in the year in favor of Byron Westbrook, who is no longer with the team.Hall recognizes the challenge involved in the playing the slot including the loss of the reliable chalk line.There's a lot more room out there is the slot, he said. The receiver's got two ways to go, you've got to cover the whole field as opposed to playing corner where you can go, that's the sideline.You can see your friend over there, the sideline, you've got help sometimes. It's definitely a lot easier as opposed to playing nickel but we've got a lot of things with the nickel where you've got a chance to go our and have some fun, too.Among the fun things Hall will get to do if he plays the slot would be, as Cosell noted, blitzing the quarterback.I don't have but one career sack so it's going to be interesting to see if I get around the quarterback, said Hall.It also will be interesting to see how this plays out. The teams of the NFC East and many of the rest of the teams on the Redskins schedule are loaded at receiver and the Redskins are going to need to put their cornerbacks in spots that best utilize their talents. If that means teaching a veteran like Hall new tricks that is what they will need to do.
Just like fans were excited to see Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith and Junior Galette team up for the Redskins to rush opposing quarterbacks this fall, the players were excited too. When news broke that Galette would miss all of the 2016 season with a torn Achilles, fans were stunned. Turns out, the players were too.
"It definitely was shocking," Kerrigan said. "I wasn’t expecting to hear it, especially at the timing of it."
Not that there is ever a good time for a serious injury, but Galette missed all of 2015 with a torn Achilles. For more than a year, Galette posted to social media about his recovery and his excitement to get back on the field. At various Redskins training sessions this offseason, Galette could be seen working out, and he always talked about how fired up he was to get back on the field.
Now, for the second straight year, that won't happen.
"It's just hard because we’ve seen him put in the work to get healthy," Kerrigan said of Galette. "It’s heartbreaking for him, it's heartbreaking for us."
Kerrigan, speaking at a Good Humor event in downtown Washington on Tuesday, explained that he didn't even believe the Galette injury when he first heard it. He said a friend texted him with the news, and Kerrigan thought it was a joke, until he looked around online and saw all of the reports.
Now without Galette, the 'Skins still report to training camp on Wednesday, and the defense will need to adjust.
"Collectively, across the front, we gotta take it upon ourselves," Kerrigan said. "We got to be even more productive."
Washington ranked in the middle of the NFL with 38 sacks in 2015. Even without Galette, that number could improve as the defense should be better on the back end with the addition of Josh Norman and Kendall Fuller. Galette's loss will impact the defense's depth, as the talent drop off behind Smith and Kerrigan will be severe.
"We do have Houston Bates who has some game experience from last year," Kerrigan said. "We all gotta collectively step it up."
As for Galette, Kerrigan said he texted his injured teammate, sending him well wishes as he deals with a second straight season ending injury.
"You wish him emotional strength."
The rankings are determined by who we think will have the most impact on the 2016 Redskins. No consideration was given for past performance or for what a particular player might do down the road. We’ll be revealing the rankings over the next few weeks.
Today we’re updating the list with the players we ranked from 6-10. Here are some of the players in our latest update:
—A second-year receiver who is expected to top a record-setting 2015 performance.
—Two players who will have to produce to make up for a major injury loss.
—A defender who will be in the spotlight after the addition of a free agent at his position.
Go here to see our ranking of the 2016 Redskins, players 6-53.
The Redskins are considering bringing in Greg Hardy as a replacement for the injured Junior Galette, according to Ed Werder of ESPN.
Citing unnamed sources, Werder said that the team's discussions of their options for replacing Galette, who suffered a torn Achilles while training and is out for the season, have included the troubled former Panther and Cowboy.
Werder also said that cornerback Josh Norman, a teammate of Hardy’s in Carolina, would advocate for bringing him in to help the defense.
Hardy had a breakout season in 2013 with 15 sacks. But he served a suspension for a domestic abuse incident and when he was with the Cowboys last year he was caught on camera being disruptive on the sideline during games and according to reports he was chronically late for meetings. In an interview with ESPN earlier this year he did not admit that he had done anything wrong.
Hardy will turn 28 tomorrow and while he is talented he would bring a lot of bad publicity and a media circus along with him. As with many players, the need for quality players must be weighed against the baggage that a player like Hardy carries.
Everyone should be aware that internal discussions don’t mean that a signing is in any way imminent. Stay tuned to see how things play out.
UPDATE 2:36 p.m.:
Redskins aren't considering Greg Hardy as option to replace Galette, source says.— Mike Jones (@MikeJonesWaPo) July 26, 2016