For many years, London Fletcher was a tackling machine for the Redskins. Though he lost a step later in his career, his absence will be a void for the Washington defense this fall, and those tackles will need to be replaced. In fact, with Fletcher's retirement and Josh Wilson moving on from the 'Skins, two of the team's top three tacklers from last season are gone.
Good news? Perry Riley. Though the total was low compared with others around the NFL, Riley led the 'Skins with 72 tackles last season. That total doesn't crack the Top 40 in the NFL, Paul Posluszny had 122 tackles to lead the league, but at least with Riley back Washington should have one sure-handed tackler in the linebacking corps.
Keenan Robinson, Akeem Jordan and others will have a chance to make plays too. Someone will emerge to start alongside Riley at inside linebacker, and that player should make loads of tackles. Also, secondary players like Ryan Clark, Brandon Meriweather or corners DeAngelo Hall or David Amerson could emerge as big-time tacklers. In 2012, Hall registered 68 tackles, good for third on the team.
The best talents on the Washington defense, Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo, are not in position to make a lot of tackles; their specialty will be pressuring the quarterback. So who will lead the team in tackling? Riley again? Or will someone else emerge?
Let us know what you think in the comments.