With training camp kicking off this week, it's
time to preview the competition by unit. Today, we continue
with the Redskins' linebacker corps.
Earlier this offseason, the Redskins.com staff
reviewed the 2011 play of the
outside linebackers and
inside linebackers. With training camp set to begin
later this week, it's time to preview the current
state of the Redskins' linebackers.
The key to any 3-4 defense is the play of the
linebackers, and the Redskins have assembled one of the
most exciting units in the NFL.
After 2011, there was very little that the Redskins
wanted to do to change this unit, and they accomplished
that by retaining team captain .
With a new position coach and a strong mix of youth and
experience, look for the linebackers to be the straw that
stirs the drink on defense in 2012.
Inside linebacker Rocky McIntosh (free agent)
Inside linebacker Keyaron Fox (free agent).
Inside linebacker (draft)
Outside linebacker (free agent)
Inside linebacker Brian Kehl (free agent)
Inside linebacker (free agent).
CURRENT STATE OF THE UNIT:
Last year, this unit combined for 519 tackles, 20 sacks
and 14 turnovers. In Year 2 with and in the
starting unit, those numbers should increase across the
With Riley and Fletcher patrolling the middle, the
Redskins have a good combination of speed, consistency
and football acumen. Fletcher is coming off a
season in which he led the NFL in tackles.
Riley's speed and instincts were a boost on defense
for the second half of the season, and he will continue
to progress playing alongside one of the all-time greats.
In tandem rushers and Kerrigan, the Redskins have a young
duo that will set the table for the rest of the
defense. Not only can they account for sacks and
forced fumbles at the line of scrimmage, but can also
force errant downfield passes that lead to incompletions
and turnovers in the secondary.
Linebacker depth should be improved this year, following
the veteran additions of and Jonathan Goff. Both
come from a 4-3 background, but figure to see playing
time at inside linebacker and special teams.
In the 2012 NFL Draft, the Redskins got good value in
Texas linebacker Keenan Robinson, who will have time to
develop in reserve. With good size and speed, he
could be the heir apparent, if London Fletcher ever
decides to hang it up. In his rookie campaign, he
should be looked to as an asset on special teams.
The Redskins also retained quality depth and special
teams with , , and the return of Chris Wilson.
Alexander led the Redskins in special teams tackles for
each of the last two seasons, and was widely considered a
2011 Pro Bowl snub. Wilson, White and Jackson each
come from the outside linebacker position, and will look
to battle it out on special teams.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
With all four starters retained for the 2012 season,
continuity should yield improved results. If each
of the starters stays healthy and productive, team and
individual accolades could be in order.
While none of the roster additions are expected to
challenge for a starting job, the coaches have greatly
improved the roster depth and competition for special
teams and reserve roles.
With linebacker coach in Bob Slowik taking over for Lou
Spanos, the scheme and technique could look slightly
different in 2012.
With the talent this team has stockpiled at linebacker,
expect better execution and improved results.