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Need to Know: Five options for the Redskins at inside linebacker

Mar 13, 2014, 5:16 AM EST

Keenan-Robinson-vs.-TB

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, March 13, 25 days before the Redskins start their offseason workouts.

Nickel coverage

All of the talk has been about the lack of a safety acquisition in free agency, and there hasn’t been much about another major need. Here are five options the Redskins have at inside linebacker.

Chris Borland (Wisconsin)—Of the inside linebackers in the draft he might be the only one who will both be available when the Redskins pick at No. 34 overall and who could be ready to start in Week 1.

Keenan Robinson—He was starting to get a regular role when he suffered his first torn pectoral muscle on Thanksgiving in 2012. The second one occurred early in training camp last year. Would three offseason programs, two training camps and a few games as a role player be enough preparation to start?

Adam Hayward—You don’t want him staring 16 games and playing 70 snaps per game. But perhaps he could hold down the fort at the start of the season as a bridge until someone like Borland or Robinson is ready.

Brandon Spikes (Patriots free agent)—Spikes is an excellent run defender. Against the pass, well, he’s an excellent run defender. Jim Haslett would have to deviate from his normal practice of having his ILBs play virtually every snap and substitute situationally.

Nick Barnett (free agent)—The Redskins signed him in training camp last year after Robinson was injured. He’ll be 33 before training camp starts and he has knee issues. But he knows the defense and perhaps could work in a role similar to the one described for Hayward above.

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Timeline

—It’s been 74 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 178 days until they play another one.

Days until: Offseason workouts start 25; NFL Draft 57; Training camp starts 133

In case you missed it

  1. skinsdiehard - Mar 13, 2014 at 8:21 AM

    Shane Skov and Christian Jones will be available in round 3 and are capable to start. I keep saying on your posts that every NFL starter does not have to be 1st or 2nd rounders or veterans. ILB is not a major need with Robonson and Riley on the roster. I just don’t get the media around here. If they spent big on a FA you’d be ripping them for focusing on one need and when they don’t do that folks question why didn’t they revert to their old ways. Unbelievable. And they don’t need 2 safeties. They only need one which will be filled with their 2nd rounder.

    2nd rd – Deone Bucannon SS
    3rd rd – Shayne Skov or Christian Jones ILB
    4th rd – Antone Exum
    5th rd – a rotational DE

    The defense will be set. Calm down people.

    • skinsdiehard - Mar 13, 2014 at 8:23 AM

      Phillip Thomas will be the FS.

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 13, 2014 at 8:35 AM

      Did you read the post here? Did you not see Robinson listed as one of the possibilities? Do you not think that there are legitimate concerns that a guy who has been injured twice and who has played exactly 69 snaps of NFL football can just be plugged in as a starter without a backup plan? Please share what youve seen on film that makes you know more about this than the media (many of us watch film) and the coaching staff, who watch a lot of film.

      And, yes, mid- and late-round picks can often start but its rare for them to do so right off the bat. For every Russell Wilson and Alfred Morris there are dozens taken in the third round on who either take a while to develop into starters or who never start. It would be massively irresponsible to take an ILB in the fourth and say, yeah, hes our starter.

      > >

      • manchild157 - Mar 13, 2014 at 11:37 AM

        I sometimes want to jump in and reply back to some posters but I read your reply and think nevermind Rich has it covered.

  2. savagegun - Mar 13, 2014 at 9:23 AM

    Keenan has got to start showing he’s ready to play. This is his time to shine and get out of town, period. If the man can’t stay healthy he needs to be cut, nature of the business.

    Adam Hayward…. Man… What can you about this guy… He’s what, 29, I think? Played for Tampa for 7 years primarily used as a Run Defender. He stays healthy, which is huge for the ‘Skins, but he’s no sack master nor does he make interceptions. He tackles guys and that’s about it. Reminds me of that gym commercial for Planet Fitness where the Planet Fitness Instructor is showing the gym to a guy who keeps repeating ,” I pick things up and put them down.” to every question. In lieu, he’s a one trick pony.

    Brandon Spikes is not coming to Washington.

    Nick Barnett the old Greenbay Packer. This guy is an idiot… Plain and simple, nothing more is to be said. Keep him in FA.

    Daryl Smith would be a nice addition to the defense. Excellent MLB and really proved himself last year with the Ravens. He could definitely open up some things with his ball hawking and QB hunting skills. He can play multiple positions and is very durable. The only knock I have on Smith is that he’s 31 years old, but a 3 year deal with this guy probably wouldn’t be the worst thing to mentor some of the younger guys coming in.

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 13, 2014 at 9:54 AM

      I guess you’ve never talked to Nick Barnett? One of the sharpest players I’ve interviewed.

      > >

      • savagegun - Mar 13, 2014 at 12:51 PM

        Yes, Rich, I have. In fact I’ve talked with him on several occasions while he was the owner of Club 56.

        The place was a “Thug’s Hangout” that was absolutely atrocious. The kind of place you see in gangster movies filled with guys you’d expect on the FBI’s most wanted list. Finally the city had enough and took away his liquor license, which he got back, then sold the night club shortly after more fights, vandalism, sexual misconduct and gang activity continued. Having a business not that far from the club, I can attest to this first hand.

        As a player he’s always been par to sub-par. I don’t like the person nor the player.

  3. captblood3000 - Mar 13, 2014 at 10:57 AM

    Sign Barnett. If Chris Borland or Christian Jones are available at #66, consider draft. But not at #34.

  4. RussianBreadMaker - Mar 13, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    I would think that Borland’s height would take him to the later rounds. I don’t see him having the athletic ability to cover a tight end like Jimmy Graham…then again, who does?

    I truly believe that Keenan Robinson will come back healthy and contribute. He looked like a beast out there prior to his injury. My only concern is if his little pencil legs can support that frame of his over the course of his career.

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