We are back for the Defensive Edition of "Redskins Most Stable Position!" This time, the focus will be on the Redskins defensive unit. It is difficult to pinpoint the bright areas of a defense that has finished in the bottom half of the league the past few years, but there is at least one position Redskins nation can confide in for 2014.
In 2013, the Redskins defense finished at the bottom half of the league in all areas. This includes points, yards, pass yards, and rush yards surrendered. Hopefully to nobody's surprise, Washington did worst in points and passing yards given up. The Safety positions were the main causes of this dilemma. Those spots were thrown together throughout the season and no one player could be depended on. Have these problems been fixed?
The Redskins signed a familiar name, Ryan Clark, a 35 year old veteran this offseason. Will this kind of signing be enough to warrant consideration for the Redskins most stable position on defense? Probably not. In fact, it won't be nearly enough. Especially because of the other positions on defense that are currently in the conversation.
The Defensive Line certainly has gained some talent over the offseason. The additions of Jason Hatcher and Clifton Geathers add bulk and experience to the line. Geathers may not make the final 53 man roster, but signing him gives Washington good camp competition. Barry Cofield is another solid piece of the puzzle, but his play has been declining in recent past. This group can be depended upon due to experience alone, but they lack the flashiness and playmaking ability that some other NFL D-Lines possess. If Jason Hatcher can improve this entire unit single-handedly, great, but there isn't enough here to set the Defensive Line apart from the rest of the Redskins defensive positions.
What about the other half of the secondary; the Cornerback position? This group has pretty high potential along with experience to boot. Veteran DeAngelo Hall provides leadership for the secondary and he can still make plays, too. He matched up well against some of the league's best receivers in 2013. Behind him on the depth chart, we have players with huge potential such as 2013 second round pick David Amerson, and 2014 fourth round pick Bashaud Breeland. These two youngsters have the potential to be long time starters for the Redskins, and both could contribute in big ways inn 2014. Aside from them, the Redskins still have a decent Cornerback unit which includes Tracy Porter, Richard Crawford, and E.J. Biggers. This unit displays the perfect blend of youth and experience, but it still doesn't earn the title of "Redskins Most Stable Position." Why? It's not so much what the Cornerbacks lack. Rather, it's the depth, potential, and talent of the Outside Linebackers that gets the edge.
The Redskins Outside Linebackers haven't been completely dominant even since the arrival of first round picks Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan. However, this season is a bit different. There is a new coaching regime, new players, and better opportunities for the pass rushers to get after opposing Quarterbacks. It isn't just Brian Orakpo and Kerrigan, either. The team also re-signed Rob Jackson for another year and drafted Stanford product Trent Murphy. If Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett can find a way to get Murphy, Kerrigan, and Orakpo all on the field at the same time, it could be incredibly dangerous for their opponents. You need not look further than the talent of this group to conclude that it is indeed the most dependable unit on the Redskins roster.
The Redskins defense has been in question and still is up until this point, but the team is putting together a solid unit and, let's face it, a lot of the teams woes stemmed off from poor Special Teams performance. This entire group has the potential to become a top half defense in 2014, but look to the Outside Linebackers for the most dominant performance on the field.