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Need to Know: 5 burning Redskins questions on defense

Need to Know: 5 burning Redskins questions on defense

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, June 3, 14 days before the start of minicamp.

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After a 3-13 season there are always plenty of questions surrounding an NFL team. Here is a look at five burning questions facing the Redskins’ defense (we’ll talk about questions on offense later this week).

Can Jason Hatcher get double-digit sacks again? The Redskins’ 3-4 defense is not designed for the linemen to make plays. But they didn’t sign Jason Hatcher to a four-year, $27.5 million deal to do grunt work; they want 10 or more sacks out of him. In what situations will Hatcher play and how will what he does affect the rest of the line? Will responsibilities change?

Can Brian Orakpo perform at an elite level? The Redskins are going to rely heavily on the pass rush to prop up the secondary this year and in a 3-4 the key pass rusher is the outside linebacker coming from the QB’s blindside. That, of course, is Orakpo. If the master plan is going to work he will have to play to his full potential and make some big plays in addition to getting sacks and pressures.

Will Keenan Robinson be ready? The third-year player who has only 69 defensive snaps under his belt is the preferred choice to win the job at inside linebacker. Robinson looks good now but it’s hard to judge without pads. And if he’s not ready, the question becomes who will it be?

Will David Amerson be ready? The second year player seems to be a safer bet. He played almost 700 snaps as a rookie so he has more on-field experience to fall back on. Still, he’s a second-year player coming off of a season during which he, well, looked like a rookie. He’s likely to get burned from time to time but if can he can make enough big plays to compensate his year will be a success.

How will the safety spot sort out? Ryan Clark and Brandon Meriweather are the starters, at least for the time being. Does that mean Phillip Thomas will watch most of the year from the bench, barring injury, or will he get a legit shot at starting? Will Bacarri Rambo even make the team? Can Tanard Jackson be effective after a two-year suspension (if he even makes the team)? Nothing seems to be out of the question at this point in time.

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Timeline

—It’s been 156 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be 96 days until they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Minicamp starts 14; Training camp 51; Redskins @ Eagles 110

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Redskins plan to interview Rob Ryan for defensive coordinator, per report

Redskins plan to interview Rob Ryan for defensive coordinator, per report

Plenty of Redskins fans wanted the team to interview Rex Ryan for defensive coordinator.

Well, a report shows they aren't talking to Rex, but instead, his brother Rob, according to Albert Breer of MMQB

Rex Ryan's track record as a defensive coordinator is very impressive.

Rob Ryan's track record as a defensive coordinator is, uh, less impressive. 

In 12 seasons as a coordinator, first in Oakland and then with Cleveland, Dallas and New Orleans, Rob Ryan has two Top 5 finishes in yards allowed. He also has finished 31st out of 32 teams in the league in yards allowed three times.

Below is a chart from Pro Football Reference showing his defensive ranks from 2004 when he became coordinator in Oakland all the way through his last job as a coordinator in New Orleans in 2015.

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The results aren't pretty.

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It should be noted that in 2016, Rob Ryan served as assistant head coach in Buffalo on his brother Rex's staff.

That team's defense finished 19th in yards allowed. 

Gus Bradley and Mike Pettine have interviewed with the Redskins for their vacant defensive coordinator opening.

Washington is also reported to have reached out to Wade Phillips, who took the same position with the Rams, and Steve Wilks, who took the same position with the Carolina Panthers. Internally, outside linebackers coach Greg Manusky also seems to be under some consideration for the position, and a report last week linked former 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula with the Washington defense.

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

 

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Award Tour: Tandler & JP name Redskins' Defensive Player of the Year

Award Tour: Tandler & JP name Redskins' Defensive Player of the Year

With the 2017 offseason about to kick into high gear, Redskins Insiders JP Finlay and Rich Tandler are going to take one last look at 2016 in the coming days.

That’s right, it’s time to hand out awards for Coach of the Year, Special Teams Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year.

We’ve picked our top coaches and the Special Teams POY. Today we select the Defensive Player of the Year.

Tandler: This is tough because there were no real standouts on a mediocre unit. Ryan Kerrigan was the only defensive representitive to the Pro Bowl and had 11 sacks but his impact plays were few. You could make a case for Chris Baker, who was the only consistently effective player on the defensive line.

The pick here is Josh Norman.

He also was invisible for long stretches for good reasons. The only quarterback to throw his way more than seven times in the last half of the season was the Bears’ Matt Barkley and Norman made him pay with two interceptions. A Norman pick set up the clincher in the Browns game and he forced a fumble that put the Packers game beyond even an Aaron Rodgers miracle.

Outside of that, he set the tone during the week, staying out a minimum of 30 minutes after every practice, working on his craft.

If the defense can get two or three more players just like Norman they’ll be fine.

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Finlay: Norman is a strong pick, but since Tandler stole that selection from me, I will go with Kerrigan.

I've heard the lack of impact plays argument, and don't agree. His strip-sack to end the Eagles game, a win the reeling Redskins desperately needed, was probably a Top 5 defensive play this season. Without that sack, Philly had all the momentum and a chance to knock the 'Skins out of playoff contention. He also played through a number of injuries, starting every game for the sixth straight season.

Baker's name deserves recognition, as does Trent Murphy. The best part of Murphy's eight sack breakout campaign: Excellence is expected of Norman and Kerrigan. With Kerrigan, the expectations are so high that 11 sacks is almost dismissed by some fans and media. Murphy emerged as a viable sack threat for Washington this season, something that he can build upon next year. 

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Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!