Jim Haslett talked to reporters at the Senior Bowl yesterday and he had a few interesting things to say. The Redskins, he said, will stick with the 3-4 defense as their base. That is not surprising. Jay Gruden indicated that the 3-4 was here to stay during his introductory press conference.
Haslett also talked about the number of free agents the Redskins have on the roster and he named some of the players he’d like to keep. His “priorities” were linebackers Brian Orakpo and Perry Riley, cornerback DeAngelo Hall, and defensive lineman Chris Baker.
Of course, those aren’t the only free agents the Redskins have on defense. And while the Redskins could sign more of their own players than just the four on that list, let’s work on the assumption that they are willing to let the other defensive free agents walk. Let’s take a look at what they would need to acquire via free agency or the draft or through promoting from within.
Line: If Baker, who plays both end and nose tackle, returns the team will have its entire depth chart from last year back. That may not be a good thing as many would like to see more pass rush from the unit and perhaps see them get a bigger nose tackle.
Linebacker: If Orakpo and Riley stay, the Redskins still need to find another inside linebacker to replace the retiring London Fletcher. The only other inside linebackers they have under contract are Keenan Robinson, who missed all of last year with a torn pectoral muscle, and Josh Hull, a special teams player who got one snap on defense so they will need some depth signings. They will need the same on the outside as Ryan Kerrigan and Brandon Jenkins are the only players there who are signed for 2014. If Orakpo comes back they will need to re-sign or replace Rob Jackson and Darryl Tapp.
Secondary: Hall being back could leave the Redskins with, well, one starter back in the secondary. Word is that Brandon Meriweather has a player option in his contract so he could be signed for next year. If he does stay the Redskins still will need another safety as Reed Doughty and E. J. Biggers (who also played corner) are free agents. It’s possible that Phillip Thomas and/or Bacarri Rambo, both 2013 draft picks, could step into starting roles but that remains to be seen. Second-year corner David Amerson should be ready to start opposite Hall but someone would have to step up into the nickel role.
Here is a list of the Redskins’ defensive free agents
- DL Chris Baker
- ILB Brian Kehl
- OLB Brian Orakpo
- ILB Perry Riley
- OLB Darryl Tapp
- ILB Nick Barnett
- OLB Rob Jackson
- CB Josh Wilson
- CB DeAngelo Hall
- S Reed Doughty
- CB/S E. J. Biggers
MOBILE – Jay Gruden provided a glimmer of optimism for Redskins fans freaked out about Kirk Cousins' contract situation.
"I totally anticipate him coming back to the Washington Redskins," Gruden said.
The Redskins coach talked from the sidelines of the Senior Bowl where he and much of the team's staff were scouting college seniors.
Gruden explained he had texted back and forth with Cousins a few times this offseason and looked forward to watching him play in the Pro Bowl.
Since Gruden named Cousins starter in 2015, the quarterback had passed for more than 9,000 yards and twice broken Skins franchise passing records.
Some indications of a long term deal for Cousins land in the $120 million range, but the Washington organization also has the flexibility to use the franchise tag this season at a cost of nearly $24 million.
MORE REDSKINS: Who else might want to trade for Cousins?
As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.
No. 5 worst play of 2016
Redskins at Lions Week 7
0:22 left in Q4, Lions ball at the Redskins 18, 3rd and 10, Redskins leading 17-13
Matthew Stafford pass short left to Anquan Boldin for 18 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
More Redskins: Podcast--All eyes now on Cousins
Tandler: The Redskins had just taken the lead on a nifty 19-yard option run by Kirk Cousins with 1:05 left to play. All they had to do was keep the Lions out of the end zone but the defense was not up to the task. In fact, it was laughably easy for Stafford. The first three times he dropped back he completed passes for 23, 14, and 20 yards and just like that the Lions were in the red zone. It looked for a minute like the Redskins might hang on as two passes went incomplete. But on third down Stafford found Boldin open inside the five and the defense couldn’t get there quickly enough to keep him out of the end zone.
Related: Gruden's fate hinges on Manusky
Finlay: 65 seconds was all the 'Skins defense needed to preserve a win by holding the Lions without a touchdown. 65 seconds away from a five-game win streak, and knowing what we do now, a playoff berth. The Redskins defense couldn't stop Stafford, or Boldin, and lost in Detroit. A gut wrenching loss as the momentum on the Washington sideline seemed incredibly high just minutes before when Cousins ran in what looked like the game-winning score.
10 best plays countdown
10 worst plays countdown
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