Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 4, 26 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.
Redskins’ 2015 starting defense is mostly set
There could be some changes if jobs are truly open to competition or if there is a surprise draft pick but for the most part the Redskins’ 2015 starting defense is set with the possible exception of one position.
When the Redskins open the season, which will happen on September 13 assuming they start with a Sunday game, Terrance Knighton will be lined up at nose tackle, flanked by Jason Hatcher on the right side and Stephen Paea on the left. Chris Baker and Ricky Jean Francois will get plenty of snaps in the rotation.
At left outside linebacker will be Ryan Kerrigan. Keenan Robinson is set at the Mike inside linebacker spot and Perry Riley is likely to be the Jack, unless Will Compton, who played well when Riley was out injured last year, can push him out. If the Redskins don’t draft an edge rusher in the first round later this month Trent Murphy will be the right outside linebacker. And even if they do take, say, Dante Fowler or Vic Beasley, Murphy could still start for the first month or so of the season while the rookie gets his feet under him.
The Redskins finally got the last piece of the defensive puzzle yesterday with the Dashon Goldson trade. He will start at free safety with Jeron Johnson at strong. The cornerbacks will be Chris Culliver and Bashaud Breeland with DeAngelo Hall and/or David Amerson coming in for nickel and dime situation.
A few quick thoughts on this group:
—Goldson did not play well in his two years with the Bucs and Johnson has one NFL start on his ledger. Safety will still be a weak spot in the defense.
—For that reason, the defensive front needs to get pressure on the quarterback and pile up some sacks. Paea will need to match the six he got last year, Hatcher needs to be near the double-digit total that earned him his contract, Kerrigan needs to have another big year and the right side needs to chip in with a dozen or so. It’s a tall order but the chances of it happening are better than those of the safeties holding up if quarterbacks have all day to throw against them.
—This doesn’t look like a bad defense on paper but the depth is suspect (some depth will come via the draft) and it’s likely that there will need to be some more retooling in 2016. They will have to re-sign Kerrigan, Knighton, and Robinson and probably replace Goldson, Hatcher, and possibly Hall.
—It’s been 97 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 162 days until they play another one.
—Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 16; 2015 NFL Draft 26; Redskins training camp starts 117
If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.
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