A couple of weeks ago we wondered what the Redskins would do for depth at inside linebacker. They had just starters Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan and second-year player Brandon Jenkins as likely candidates to make the team.
They now have at least part of the answer. Just when it was looking like they would never pick up the phone and call Rob Jackson, who has been with the team since 2006, the team announced that he had signed to return for an eighth season in Washington.
Jackson gives the Redskins an experienced reserve and perhaps a solid role player. He does a good job in pass coverage as evidenced by his four interceptions in 2012, when he started 14 games in place of the injured Orakpo. Redskins fans will never forget his biggest interception of the year, his fourth-quarter pick of Tony Romo in the 2012 season finale that helped wrap up the game and give the team its first division title since 1999.
Jenkins got just 41 snaps under his belt last year and he is very much a work in progress. His goal this year should be to become a special teams standout, which will keep him on the game day active list and that will allow him to take more defensive snaps.
Are the Redskins done at the position? Last year they carried five outside linebackers on the 53-man roster. Darryl Tapp, who was the fifth OLB on the roster, has signed with the Lions. It’s possible that they will try to add another but here is one thing to keep in mind with the numbers game. They carried four inside linebackers in 2012. This year they have five who are likely to make the team after they re-signed Perry Riley, have Keenan Robinson returning from injured reserve, and signed Akeem Jordan, Adam Hayward and Darryl Sharpton as free agents. Perhaps they will keep nine total linebackers but have four outside and five inside instead of the other way around.
If they do decide to add someone on the outside they could look for one in the draft. Almost everyone says “you can’t have too many pass rushers” but few practice it when they are on the clock during the draft. We will see what Bruce Allen does.
And the possibility of signing former Cowboy Anthony Spencer is still out there. He came to visit early in free agency but he and the Redskins couldn’t agree on a contract. Perhaps if we get closer to training camp they might be able to come to an agreement if Spencer sees his options drying up. That is pending on his recovery from last year’s microfracture surgery.