There is plenty of pressure to go around in an NFL organization and the Redskins are no exception. But there is no question that in 2014 the spotlight will be a little brighter and a little hotter on defensive coordinator Jim Haslett than it is on anyone else.
In February, Haslett said that there were four players he wanted Bruce Allen to bring back on defense. He has three of them as DeAngelo Hall and Chris Baker have agreed to new contracts and the team has made Brian Orakpo its franchise player. Only Perry Riley remains unsigned. Even if they are unsuccessful in retaining their Jack linebacker, Haslett can’t complain about getting back three of the four he wanted.
It’s not like Haslett has been talking trash or anything but he has made it clear that he was not allowed to run things his way with Mike Shanahan looking over his shoulder for his first four years in Washington. Without being “handcuffed” (DeAngelo Hall’s word), we will “see more of what we want to do” (Haslett’s words).
And he especially has said he's excited about the prospect of Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan getting after the quarterback and creating all sorts of havoc with sacks and creating turnovers. Well, there they are for, Haz.
Well, OK then, Coach Haslett. You have your players. You have your scheme. Go ahead and get at it. Prove all of those fans and members of the media who had doubts, in many cases extreme doubts, that you should have been retained were all wrong about you. Create that aggressive, quarterback-sacking, turnover-creating unit to be feared that you envision.
He got what he asked for. Now if the defense can’t get it done there will be nobody for Haslett to blame but himself.