Grading the Redskins on defense

Sports,NFL,Redskins,John Keim

Defensive line

One thing the Redskins must do better next season is generate more pressure from the line, especially in nickel situations. The line combined for 3.5 sacks all season, with nose tackle Barry Cofield (2.5) and end Stephen Bowen (one) the only players to record one. Rookie Jarvis Jenkins needed to help more in that area but has limited moves. He improved vs. the run and made plays when moving diagonally. Still, the front's main job is to occupy linebackers, and for the most part it did that well. Cofield finished strong and makes plays most players at his spot can't. Bowen was consistent all season. Adam Carriker's return in 2013 will help. Grade » B-


The unit lost its best pass rusher when Brian Orakpo was injured, but Rob Jackson filled in well with four interceptions, including one for a touchdown. He was not an every-down linebacker but managed to make plays. Ryan Kerrigan started fine but was too quiet during the middle of the season. He grew as an all-around player, but he will need to improve as a rusher. London Fletcher missed more tackles than usual in the first half of the season but played well in the second half despite injuries. Perry Riley developed and showed excellent instincts vs. the run. His zone coverage skills remain inconsistent. The group needs to cover better, but it made plays: 10 interceptions, six forced fumbles. Grade » B


The Redskins brought Madieu Williams in to be a backup, but he was forced into a starting role because of Tanard Jackson's drug suspension. Williams struggled in coverage and missed too many tackles. There were games he was fine, but overall it was tough for him to play at the level they needed. Reed Doughty stood out vs. Seattle but, like Williams, is better as a backup. DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson surrendered too many big plays early in the season but were better late. Hall finished strong. It would be good if the Redskins found a slot corner, allowing Hall to move back outside. More speed at safety would help. Grade » C-

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