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Need to Know: Are the safeties better? Five observations on the Redskins’ roster

Sep 7, 2015, 5:47 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Monday, September 7, six days before the Washington Redskins open their season against the Miami Dolphins.

Observations on the Redskins’ roster

1. The safeties are different from last year but are they better? A lot depends on how Dashon Goldson plays. He may not have been better in Tampa Bay last year than Ryan Clark was in Washington. Preseason games are a small sample size but he did not excel during the three that he played in. I think Duke Ihenacho is an upgrade over Brandon Meriweather but not by leaps and bounds. We will see how it turns out.

2. As of this writing, the Redskins are going with just Jordan Reed and Derek Carrier at tight end. Relying on the often-injured Reed and Carrier, who has only been with the team for a few weeks, is a dicey strategy at best. Having a situation where Carrier is one hamstring pull away from being your only tight end is dangerous. Although Jay Gruden did not express any urgency towards getting one, it seems likely that one will be added before serious preparation for the Dolphins commences on Wednesday.

3. The Redskins lost special teams stalwarts Adam Hayward, Niles Paul, Silas Redd, and Logan Paulsen to injuries. There are no obvious replacements for them on the roster. Rookie safety Kyshoen Jarrett can become a good teams player and they kept undrafted rookie Deshazor Everett because of his play in the kicking game. But there are still some major holes that need to be filled and no apparent candidates for them. Perhaps players will step up but even if they do the Redskins could still struggle to improve their special teams from the ranks of the worst in the NFL.

4. I don’t understand why they kept seven defensive linemen. To be sure, it is the number they have usually carried since switching to the 3-4 defense but I thought a new GM and a new defensive coordinator might bring some out-of-the-box thinking here. There are only three spots on the field to cover and Preston Smith, Trent Murphy, and even Ryan Kerrigan can fill in at end in a pinch. Looking back up at the special teams problems, linemen are of limited value there. I like Frank Kearse and Kedric Golston as players but one of those spots should have gone to a more versatile player. It’s one of those “that’s the way we’ve always done it” decisions.

5. It’s pretty clear that at least one defensive back should not get too settled in. There are 10 of them on the roster and when Bashaud Breeland returns from suspension a week from today one of them will have to be cut. Even after that, another one could go if they think they want another linebacker for special teams.


Today’s schedule: Off day

—It’s been 253 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 6 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Rams @ Redskins 13; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 17

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100 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. berniebernard666 - Sep 7, 2015 at 8:11 AM

    am I the only one worried about Joe Barry’s defense? In Preseason he gave us a 4 man rush and off coverage using 7 cover guys. Basically the Redskins were Blitz Free, while other teams were blitzing us like crazy

    So I am wondering, is he playing possum? Or is this what we can expect during the season because pressure creates turnovers and at the rate the Skins create interceptions, looks like we might have about 3 this season. That’s not gonna cut it.

    • troylok - Sep 7, 2015 at 8:29 AM

      You’re not the only one. In the preseason most d-coordinators play plain vanilla defenses, but they occasionally will sprinkle in plays that are an indicator of things to come. I didn’t see anything that excites me.

    • abanig - Sep 7, 2015 at 8:44 AM

      No, you’re not the only one. Knighton & Paea have NEVER played in a 3-4 defense before, and neither has Preston Smith. Knighton has gotten little to no penetration/push on run plays or passing plays. As Cooley said, he’s playing on skates out there and he’s out of shape and is totally gassed by the end of one drive. Paea pretty much the same way from what I’ve seen. Knighton upsets me, he talks too much. Giving the defense a nickname before they even play a regular season game, saying he’s the best NT in the league, it’s too much! He is the defensive equivalent to RG3 before RG3 was benched… Seriously Knighton just shut up and play ball! We see why no one wanted to give you a long term contract now! These are questions I raised all along about Knighton & Paea, but no one would listen to me.

      The injury to Gallette is really, really going to hurt our pass rush and our defense as a whole. We don’t have another hyper energetic and super athletic outside pass rusher on our roster. Kerrigan, Murphy & Smith are all extremely high motor, tough and big pass rushers but their not quick twitch guys with explosive first steps that scare left tackles. I like Jackson Jeffcoat a lot but he’s like a poor man’s Orakpo or Gallette, he’s an average ROLB pass rusher but not a good to great one like Orakpo and Gallette can be. We really didn’t replace what Orakpo “could give us” as a pass rusher that defenses have to key on because of his speed of the edge because of Gallette’s injury.

      The secondary will be better but not “a lot better” like many believe. Golston is past his prime like Atogwe, Madieu Williams, Merriweather and Ryan Clark before him. These 30 year old stop gap FS attempts by our front office just have to stop!

      I believe we’re better off starting Trenton Robinson or Kyeshon Jarrett at free safety so they can learn, and gain experience for a year and hopefully develop into our long term option at free safety by next year.

      Culliver is an upgrade, it’s good to have Hall and Ihenacho back healthy, we missed those two a lot last year but we still aren’t more than what I’d call an average secondary or an average overall defense.

      I predict this defense will rank somewhere in the high teens this year, which is an improvement over 2014 & 2015 but still not where we want to be.

      • berniebernard666 - Sep 7, 2015 at 9:17 AM

        wow, you sure gave the D Line a bad review considering nobody was gaining an inch on them in the run game. Pot Roast isn’t suppose to push the pocket anymore than Vince Wilfork does. All those guys do is what is expected of them: clog the middle and make sure nobody gets through and funnel the backs outside. Pot Roast did that.

        This defense could be top 10 overall simply because of the run stuffing ability and because our offense keeps the ball longer than we did last year. I won’t guarantee that but from what we saw in preseason that is my takeaway. It all depends on whether or not Joe Barry was playing preseason possum.

        • 214hof - Sep 7, 2015 at 9:33 AM

          I agree, I think Washington will be top 10 against the rush, if they can improve the pass to the high teens early 20’s it will be a big difference. I don’t think any team put more then 60 yards rushing against the skins this preseason I could be wrong tho.

        • abanig - Sep 8, 2015 at 5:29 AM

          That’s because our #1 defense never played more than a half….

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 7, 2015 at 10:02 AM

          Pot Roast is known to be a different NT than Vince in that he actually has explosion off the line. He’ll be playing a 2 gay system which gives him opportunity to get push into the backfield. I’m not saying he hasn’t performed well which I actually feel he has done well in stopping the run in preseason. However, don’t be surprised in regular season to see him plow over a running back in the backfield instead of consuming blocks to free up the middle the linebackers.

      • ET - Sep 7, 2015 at 9:43 AM

        We’ll see how Pot Roast fares conditioning-wise (I have my doubts as well), but I’m not concerned about Paea. The rotational depth is stronger as well. My guess is this D will end up in the middle-of-the-pack, with a good showing v. the run and mixed results against the pass.

        The safeties concern me more than the DL. The X factor, once again, will be the pressure the front seven can generate against QBs. If that pressure is consistent, the flaws in the secondary will be much less apparent. We’ll see how consistent they can be. Last year’s results were less than satisfying, obviously.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 7, 2015 at 10:05 AM

          I think Baker could replace Paea as the starter later in the season. Paea has never been known to play the run well. However, our DBs are our biggest concern right now.

        • abanig - Sep 7, 2015 at 10:33 AM

          I wouldn’t be surprised if by the end of the season Ricky Jean-Franscois is our starting LDE and Chris Baker is our starting Nt. They’ll use Potroast’s fat ass in short yardage and goal line situations to get four big bodies along the DL but he’s just way, way to out of shape to be a starting NT. He must weigh 375 or so, he needs to drop at least 20 pounds, if not 40 and maybe he will when he starts playing games, but I doubt it. He can’t even make it through 10-12 plays on own drive w/o getting gassed and pushed around out there.

          Chris Baker is in way enter shape than Potroast. A healthy Cofield was better than what Potroast has looked like this preseason. Cofield wasn’t great against the run because he was about 15-20 pounds undersized and build more like a 3-4 DE, but Cofield was a good interior pass rusher. He pushed the pocket well, had good inside pass rushing moves, used his hands well and I think Cofield was miscast as a 3-4 Nt by the Redskins. They should have used Cofield at DE from 2012-2014 and found themselves a true NT in the draft or FA that was 6′ to 6’3 and 320 to 350 pounds to stop the run.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:10 AM

          Despite appearance of Baker, he may be in better shape than any of our starting D-line right now. I prefer Baker on the end because he is actually a very athletic player. He is a perfect combination of size and athleticism that makes for an ideal 3-4 DE. However, while I’d like to see what he can do playing Hatcher’s side; he should still be productive playing the 2 gap DE. I think he is already better than Paea. I’ll reserve judgement on Pot Roast for the regular season. I saw some things I liked in him during preseason.

        • ET - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:31 AM

          I agree that Cofield (when healthy) made for a good end, but he was really miscast at NT. Way undersized. I’m happy to have Pot Roast for that reason alone. Baker was passable at NT but is best utilized elsewhere, IMO.

          I believe the DL plus Smith will be rotating in and out much more often—as well as switching up positions and packages—which’ll hopefully mitigate Pot Roast’s stamina issues.

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 7, 2015 at 9:58 AM

        “I believe we’re better off starting Trenton Robinson or Kyeshon Jarrett at free safety so they can learn, and gain experience for a year and hopefully develop into our long term option at free safety by next year.”

        The team has made attempts on putting youth in there early but was just as bad results as some of the older vets they acquired in free agency. Rambo and Chris Horton are a few examples where attempts were made to find young starters at safety that failed. The issue with Redskins at safety is that they have failed to make the position a priority in the draft since Landry. So they have been equally poor in drafting safeties as they have in acquiring vets from other teams. If the team is going to continue to look for the starting safety in the 5 rounds and later then the search may continue to be futile.

      • rtcwon - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:41 AM

        I agree 100% there is little pass rush talent at OLB after the Gallette injury. But I think the DL will make up for it. They are easily the strength of the D. I thought Baker would earn the starting job over Paea but Paea has out played him. He has been very disruptive against the run. No sure why so many felt he under performed.

        By the way, Knighton was in a 3-4 his rookie year and has always played the 1 technique which is the same position in both 4-3 & 3-4 so the learning new positions argument is off as well.

        • rtcwon - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:44 AM

          One more correction, they played 2 gap under Haz, this year it is 1 gap.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:53 AM

          I didn’t catch every play on Paea but I found him getting pushed backwards on more than a few plays. The regular season will reveal very different results for guys who were already projected starters. It’s not impossible to suggest starters play off a times in preseason. They are there just to get some work more than making highlight reels in exhibitions.

        • abanig - Sep 7, 2015 at 7:56 PM

          In 09? The Jags may have mixed in some 3-4 but they didn’t play the entire season in a 3-4, Knighton has mostly played 4-3.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 7, 2015 at 8:29 PM

          The defense is a 3-4 Under which a combination of 1 & 2 gaps. The side that Paea plays will be the 2 gap DE. The other side where Hatcher plays will be the 1 gap.

        • abanig - Sep 7, 2015 at 9:09 PM

          It’s the opposite of that. Hatcher will two gap, Paea will one gap.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 7, 2015 at 10:09 PM

          It’s the one gap for Hatcher…

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          The Insider
          Offseason question: Which Jason Hatcher will the Redskins see this season?
          Resize Text Print Article Comments 0

          By Mike Jones July 8

          Defensive end Jason Hatcher warms up before an October game at Dallas. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)
          When the Washington Redskins signed Jason Hatcher away from the Dallas Cowboys in the spring of 2014, giving him a three-year, $27.5 million contract, they hoped that he would serve as a much-needed disruptive force in the trenches.

          However, the 32-year-old Hatcher – plagued by knee and hamstring injuries for much of the season – failed to deliver the impact that he and his bosses expected and needed. Hatcher also revealed this offseason that he came away from the 2014 season with the belief that the version of the 3-4 defensive scheme that then-defensive coordinator Jim Haslett used didn’t best suit his skill set and take advantage of his strengths as a pass rusher.

          Hatcher now enters Year 2 with Washington, and the big question is, which Hatcher will the Redskins see this season? The player that racked up 11 sacks for Dallas in 2013, or an aging lineman continually hampered by nagging injuries and unable to live up to expectations?

          Obviously, all parties involved hope for at least something close to the 2013 Hatcher. And Hatcher believes that is possible for a number of reasons.

          ASHBURN VA, JUNE 18: Washington Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, left, talks to DE Jason Hatcher, who sat out practice during day two of the Redskins Mini Camp at Redskins Park in Ashburn VA, June 18, 2014. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post) Then-defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, left, talks to Jason Hatcher last June, while he recovered from injury. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)
          For starters, he is healthier this July than he was last year. Last summer, Hatcher had arthroscopic knee surgery, and he didn’t complete his rehabilitation program until two weeks into training camp.

          After ending last season on injured reserve, Hatcher fully recovered from his knee and hamstring injuries and was able to spend this offseason training without limitation. He wound up lowering his body fat, while gaining additional muscle, and says he feels stronger, and more explosive.

          Hatcher also believes that new defensive coordinator Joe Barry’s version of the 3-4 is more his style. Rather than being asked to take on blockers, Hatcher now will be tasked with shooting gaps to either get to the quarterback, or stop running backs behind the line.

          “The strongside defensive end position is your pure defensive line pass rusher that rushes from the 5-technique through the strongside C-gap. The Redskins have Jason Hatcher who ranked #3 overall in pass rush productivity by ProFootballFocus so they should continue to rely on his expertise. Although he is aging and should get less snaps, the Redskins have veteran Frank Kearse behind him to rotate in. The Redskins should also look to draft Hatcher’s replacement in this draft or next year as this is a very important position in the new 3-4 Under defense.

          The weakside defensive end position is your only two-gap defensive end position who rushes from the 3/4i-tech position. He is responsible for the weakside A-gap and the weakside B-gap on the defensive line. Corey Liuget played this role for the Chargers and Stephen Paea has the skill-set to play it for the Redskins going forward.”

          No unless something you can point out is different that is how I read it as above from multiple sources and saw it in the game.s

        • abanig - Sep 7, 2015 at 10:38 PM

          I think you’re right and I got mixed up, but I swear I saw an article breaking down the Redskins new defense under Barry and it explained Paea’s & Hatcher’s role on the defense and it was the the opposite of what that Wapo article and you are saying.

          It said Hatcher would be the two gap DE because is his 6’5, 300 pound size and length. Then, the shorter and stouter Paea would be similar to a 3-technique/under tackle like he played for the Bears where he was a pass rushing DT.

          I can’t find that article though, so, you must be right.

        • Trey Gregory - Sep 8, 2015 at 1:33 AM

          I remember reading multiple articles that talked about how Hatcher should be better his year because he was going to play more one gap. I also remember multiple quotes of him being excited about moving away from his two gap responsibilities under Haz and going to one gap under Barry. Maybe the article you’re think of was from last year?

        • abanig - Sep 8, 2015 at 3:09 AM

          No, it was from and it was earlier this year shortly after we signed Paea.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:51 PM

          Is it the one below because it’s hard to follow in some sections.

        • abanig - Sep 8, 2015 at 4:12 AM

          It was similar to that one, they have another one that explained what the entire defense will be doing be doing in the 3-4 under. It seems to me that Paea will have multiple roles depending on down and distance in Joe Barry’s defense so I’m not sure the Wapo article is 100% accurate and I don’t think what I was saying before was 100% accurate either.

          On first downs and run downs, Paea will two gap to stop the run. On passing downs he will one gap and will also rush the passer from the NT position on passing downs if they take Knighton off the field.

          If you look at the chart he displayed in the article and go by the sizes of the players he’s describing there, it looks like to me that Paea will play a lot of 3-technique in the 3-4 under defense. Hatcher will play the 5 technique, Murphy & Smith will play a 6 technique and Kerrigan will be our main pass rushing threat as a 7 technique.

          Here is what’s crazy to me, Cofield seems to fit the 3-4 under better than Knighton does and last year Knighton fit the 3-4 okie (or traditional 3-4 D better). It seems to me our D is being miscast once again with personnel, just as it was when Cofield should have been playing the 5 technique 3-4 DE position from 2011-2014, but was asked to play as a 2-gapping 3-4 NT and take on double teams in the run game at the point of attack, something he sometimes did okay at but more often then not struggled to hold up to.

          One-gap NT: Cofield would have been great at this, but I believe Knighton can do it and Baker can especially do it given their athleticism despite both men weighing over 330 pounds: “6’4″ 300 lb, 1 gap, who is responsible for the strongside A-gap, Typically a quick, bursting defensive lineman attempting to get upfield using more athleticism off of the snap.”

          Weak side DE: This will be Hatcher and Kearse: “6’4″ 300 lb, 1 gap, who is responsible for the strongside A-gap, Typically a quick, bursting defensive lineman attempting to get upfield using more athleticism off of the snap.”

          Strong side DE: this will be Paea and RJF: “Key Difference – 1-gap defender responsible for the C-gap. This is your main pass rushing defensive lineman as his only job is to get upfield penetration. He is your powerhouse defender and having a prototype like J.J. Watt for the Texans allows you to win more match-ups.”

          I guess the Redskins could be flipping this though and you probably are right. They could be using Paea & RJF as the weakside DE who will two-gap in run downs and one gap on passing downs and play a shaded NT on third downs.

          Then, Kerrigan will play a 6 technique next to him. Knighton & Baker will play a one-technique shaded NT.

          Hatcher or Kearse will be on the strong side of the defense and be one gapping the c-gap a lot like JJ Watt does for the Texans. This is why many pundits expect Hatcher to have stats this year that will be similar to his 2013 stars from the Cowboys where he played 3-technique, one gapped and got 11 sacks. Last year on a bum knee which limited him to 13 games and in a two gap system Hatcher still had 5 sacks. I’m not sure that Hatcher can duplicate his 2013 11 sack season but I think the combination of him and Kearse could have that many sacks together.

          Paea or RJF will play on the weakside and two gap on run downs, one gap on pass downs and play a shaded nose/3-technique on 3rd and long.

          Murphy, Smith & Jeffcoat will rotate as the 7 technique. On run downs, Murphy will be in, on passing downs it will mostly be Smith, but we’ll see some Jeffcoat as well.

          I could totally see our front fives sack totals looking like this:

          LOLB/6-technique: Kerrigan (15 sacks)

          Weakside LDE/two-gap DE/3-tech: Paea (5 sacks), RJF (3 sacks)

          Shade NT: Knighton (1 sack), Baker (2 sacks)

          Strong side One-gap/5-technique/c-gap RDE: Hatcher (7 sacks), Kearse (3 sacks)

          Strongside 7 technique/ROLB: Trent Murphy (5 sacks), P. Smith (5 sacks) Jeffcoat (2 sacks)

      • Skulb - Sep 7, 2015 at 12:24 PM

        They did actually only give up 66 yards on the ground this PS though, which was second in the league. I thought they looked good against the run but not quite so good against the pass. We´ll see I guess. But I´m more worried about the secondary right now than the line.

      • YOKi - Sep 7, 2015 at 12:43 PM

        @ibanig – good points

        i just want you to realize that there were not many affordable options at S or draftable S rookie standouts.

        forgot the Rookie who went to NYG, but reports of him struggling at camp… then you got the FA S asking for a ton… Kam is being talked over but he’s for sure out of our price range.

        a lot of Skins fans harp on how we should do things in DC — but they don’t realize it’s not a perfect world.

        FAs are pricey – rookies don’t pan out — and people who don’t want to sign with a non-super bowl ready team.

        the sooner we accept…. i mean REALLY accept that we will be losing many games because we are still rebuilding — the better.

        fans SAY they are ready…. but they sure don’t act like it.

    • rtcwon - Sep 7, 2015 at 12:07 PM

      Everyone blitzes and dogs come regular season but usually not enough for the fans.

      I think this will be a bend but don’t break D, heavy on cover 3 with soft corners and relying on DL for pressure. Fans will be outraged but they have decent chance to be top 15 (top 10 with Gallette) since they will finally have decent safety play.

    • Skulb - Sep 7, 2015 at 12:20 PM

      It´s too early to really tell yet but yes. Good run defense, not quite so good pass defense so far. To me the secondary is the big question.

      • Trey Gregory - Sep 8, 2015 at 1:38 AM

        Ihenacho really worries me because of his cover skills. Going back to his days in Denver, he just looks bad in coverage. Yeah, he likes to get in there and tackle in the run game or after a receiver catches the ball, but he gets beat a lot in coverage. I had high hopes Johnson would solve this problem. But Ihenacho got the start. Who knows though? Maybe Johnson will get going when the games start and solve this problem for us. One can at least dream.

    • lorcanbonda - Sep 7, 2015 at 12:52 PM

      I agree — the one stat that struck me was the lack of turnovers gained by our defense during pre-season. None against Jacksonville, three against Baltimore, none against Detroit, and one against Cleveland. Four turnovers in four games and most of those were 2nd/3rd string. We’ve always had problems in this area, and we have got to get better — but I just didn’t see it.

    • Trey Gregory - Sep 7, 2015 at 7:47 PM

      I can’t get too worries about the defense until I see what they do in a couple regular games. I think there’s a good chance Barry was playing possum. Or at least not scheming specifically for a team, not showing his hand, and just wanted to get the guys some reps in some basic formations. A lot of teams significantly switch up their game plans after pre season, we all know that.

      I think Barry has very good talent up front and he would be a fool to not tailor the defense to their strengths. I have to believe this guy is smart enough to do that. Maybe that’s just me being overly optimistic, but it just makes no sense for him to do anything else.

  2. abanig - Sep 7, 2015 at 8:12 AM

    Golston is NOT better than Clark! We’re better off with Trenton Robinson or Kyeshon Jarrett starting, gaining experience and learning the position over the next year so possibly they could be our long term starter at FS.

    I’ve said all along I’d have Golston playing SS, but not FS and honestly Ihenacho has been the best safety on our roster! We really missed that guy last year when we went out with the injury on his first kick off coverage as a Redskins.

    • berniebernard666 - Sep 7, 2015 at 8:19 AM

      it boils down to poor decision making once again. But you’re right because Goldston and Duke are both strong safeties. Neither one of those will be flying downfield to keep up with deep threats. Even Jeron Johnson would be better at free safety than Goldston…but hey….let’s watch them get burned a few times and maybe the Rambo affect will occur.

      • abanig - Sep 7, 2015 at 12:24 PM

        Jerron Johnson showed absolutely noting this whole offseason. He didn’t challenge Duke or Golston for their starting jobs. If Akeem Davis hadn’t gotten hurt, I wanted them to keep Davis over Johnson.

    • troylok - Sep 7, 2015 at 8:38 AM

      I think you meant Goldson and yeah, he seems slow footed. Fans are going to be disappointed when they see the corners playing off receivers just like they did in Halsett’s defense, but the coach can’t play tight bump and run coverage if he has no confidence in his safeties. I suspect that once Breeland is able to play, the team might start experimenting with moving Hall to safety.

    • bangkokben - Sep 7, 2015 at 8:41 AM

      Both guys you mentioned as potential replacements had major coverage issues as well. One thing is making mistakes because you lost a step and another thing is making mistakes because you don’t know how to play your assignment. The second is much worse because then there is a lack of trust in the defense and you’ve got the whole back seven thinking they need help. You’ve got the David Amerson affect. Robinson or Jarrett will be starting in due time. No need to have Scherff type issues (learn as you go) in the secondary – especially with undrafted or late round draft picks.

      • brucefan1 - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:18 AM

        I just hope they get that Fewell gets that safety issue squared away eventually. (Kinda thought that Mac was bringing in JJ to start, not back up journeyman Duke. Red flag?)

        But the thought of all those tight ends running free down the middle of the Skins’ backfield AGAIN this season makes me queasy.

        • abanig - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:25 AM

          It’s been evident throughout the offseason that all Jeron Johnson is is a back up quality player and special teams player. There was never a real competition between ween he and Duke, Duke beat him out easily early on. Clear reason why JJ wasn’t given a big contract offer from anyone.

          I think our D really missed Duke last year, more than any of us realize because he’s such a solid tackler at safety.

    • rtcwon - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:52 AM

      I’ve been saying TRob is the free safety of the future for awhile, yelling from the top of my keyboard every time Rich’s predicting the 53 put him on the bubble or not even on the roster.

      Also been saying Duke will be the strong all off season. Yes, they brought in Johnson but I live in Denver and know Duke well. He’s a top 10 strong who only lost his job to the best strong in the game, TJ Ward. It is hard to tell since the full 11 tape isn’t available for pre-season but I haven’t seen these coverage issues Rich keeps mentioning.

  3. troylok - Sep 7, 2015 at 8:45 AM

    Rich, I am with you. I don’t understand the defensive line situation, either. The only thing that could remotely make sense is if Barry intends to employ a lot of 4-3 defense. I guess, even in that scenario the outside linebackers could sub in as defensive ends. Or maybe it comes down to the defensive linemen they had were better than the outside linebacker that could have taken their place. I guess in this case it would have been Bates who seemed to be a pretty good pass rusher, but was pretty raw in other aspects of the outside linebacker game.

    • ET - Sep 7, 2015 at 9:26 AM

      The part that’s confusing to me is Preston and Trent. Get two former DL guys, convert them to OLB, and talk about how they can be hybrid players that can move all over the front seven. Isn’t that a built-in positional advantage? I supposed (wrongly) that the inclusion of Preston in particular meant one less lineman was necessary. Guess I was wrong. It’ll be interesting to see if it stays that way, or whether an extra LB, TE, S is added for special teams help.

      • Dcwun - Sep 7, 2015 at 10:35 AM

        Most 3-4 OLBs are former DEs. Kerrigan, Suggs, Orakpo, etc…….

        • brucefan1 - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:22 AM

          Beat me too that reply, Dcwun.

          Gotta have good explosiveness to excel at it tho … something kinda rare in the big bulky guys.

        • ET - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:37 AM

          Yeah, I realize that, but A.) Preston Smith in particular is overly large for the typical OLB; and B.) the coaching staff has stated that Preston will move up to DL in some packages. Trent can do this as well, especially now that he’s added weight and strength. So why keep the extra lineman?

      • abanig - Sep 7, 2015 at 4:04 PM

        99% of 3-4 OLBs in the NFL played 4-3 DE in college. NFL teams usually turn the undersized college DEs who are 240 to 260 into NFL 3-4 OLBs. The steelers, Ravens and other teams that have run the 3-4 have done this for decades.

        I questioned the Preston Smith pick, but he did look “ok” in his first action as a 3-4 OLB, still I don’t see him as a double digit sack guy ever.

        Trent Murphy actually did play 3-4 ROLB at Stanford and had 25 sacks his final two years in Stanford, including 15 his senior year to lead the nation.

        Again though, he looks micast a bit as a 3-4?ROLB in the nfl where he has to go up against LTs and 2 All-pro LTs 4 games a year in the NFCE division.

        I know it’s a crazy prediction, but I still have this feeling one of the two will be asked to gain more weight before next offseason and they’ll be a 3-4 DE, and maybe both will be asked to be that within a few years and we’ll draft a different ROLB who’s more 6’3-6’6 and 250 to 260 pounds.

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 7, 2015 at 9:17 PM

          I think we are transitioning into a 4-3 defense

        • abanig - Sep 7, 2015 at 9:56 PM

          Most Redskins fans say that every year. It’s not going to happen. We will run some 4-3 looks, especially in our nickel defense but our base defense is set up to be and will remain a 3-4.

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 8, 2015 at 12:58 AM

          we Drafted Smith and a linebacker that fit better in a 4-3 and also signed Paea. This year we will run more 4 man fronts next year we will get a couple more players and run the 4.3 of a Hybrid but definitely by 2017 we will be a 4.3 team again

        • abanig - Sep 8, 2015 at 3:12 AM

          I’d bet my life that we don’t switch back.

    • rtcwon - Sep 7, 2015 at 12:14 PM

      Just look at 5th DL snap counts versus 3rd OLB or 3rd ILB and you’ll understand.

  4. berniebernard666 - Sep 7, 2015 at 9:04 AM

    its always interesting how our opinions vary. What I see is not what You see. I don’t understand that. albanig says “We don’t have another hyper energetic and super athletic outside pass rusher on our roster” and he also says that Orakpo was a “GREAT” pass rusher.

    I see Jeffcoat as being exactly like Jr. Galette. Switch the numbers on their jerseys and nobody can tell them apart. They both have the same combine numbers, same speed, same quickness, and they both can get around the end in less than 2 seconds. Maybe its just me, but I think some people buy into the hype that they read from the so called “experts”….and then automatically assign free agents into a catagory as “poor mans this or that”. Just because somebody doesn’t sign a HUGE contract or have past history doesn’t mean they can’t suddenly explode onto the scene.

    And Orakpo was NEVER a GREAT pass rusher. Never was and never will be. He was a one trick pony who was always close….but never quite there. Which is why he had 1/2 sack last year.

    • skinsgame - Sep 7, 2015 at 9:33 AM

      Just wait until redskinsnameishereblahblah gets here. You don’t just have a “difference of opinion” with her. She’ll tell you how how you refuse to see, fail to admit, lead the misinformed, question your intellect, etc etc.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 7, 2015 at 9:37 AM

      Call Jeffcoat a Gelette in the making then that’d be fine! But the same as Galette?

      I think you are just way overreaching about Jeffcoat at this point. You’ve only seen him play what could be the equivalent of maybe 1.5 games exhibition games and he was also cut last year by Seattle. Galette is third in the NFL in sacks in the last three seasons and was never cut by a team. Galette is a proven commodity against elite talent in the NFL. Galette also has a motor that may only be matched by Kerrigan on this team. I don’t see Jeffcoat playing with such a high motor just yet.

      Jeffcoat has only shown that he could outplay a few backups and TC fodder. The sacks I’ve seen Jeffcoat get are where he ran around the tackle. Let’s see him do that against the Trent Williams of this world. It’s not as easy to replicate.

      Combine numbers are really a not good comparisons at this point in either’s career. Combine numbers fail to provide the key attributes or gifts a player has that puts one at Galette’s level.

      Look at the 3:15 mark of this video in how low Gallete’s body gets to gain leverage as he makes contact on the Carolina tackle. I want to see Jeffcoat do something like this in the regular season before I even consider him “Galette in the making” which seems much more sensible than considering him the same player as Galette. Galette also has a spin move in this video that is hard to match. Let’s see Jeffcoat perform either of those in a regular game situation.

      • berniebernard666 - Sep 7, 2015 at 10:52 AM

        highlight films don’t impress me. If they did I would be a Michael Sam fan. Everybody can put together their best plays on film Junior Galette is apparently very quick off the ball and a solid pass rusher. I never doubted that. I look forward to him getting another chance next year. But he only had 10 sacks last season. Don’t make it sound as though that would be impossible for Jackson Jeffcoat.

        Because somebody was CUT, doesn’t mean they have less talent. Ryan Clark was let go by the Skins and got a Superbowl Ring. Walt Harris was let go by the Skins and the next year led the league in interceptions. Antonio Pierce was let go and suddenly became a Pro Bowl linebacker. So just because a team discards a player, as you say Seattle did with Jeffcoat, that is a Crap argument to make. It just means the decision maker is an idiot.

        And if Jeffcoat ends up with only 5 sacks, it may mean that he only plays on occasional 3rd downs because the Redskins decision makers have decided to stuff the run as the main priority on 1st and 2nd downs. There are REASONS for everything, and opinions don’t change facts. And just because you discount combine numbers and preseason play, doesn’t mean that you know anything about how Jeffcoat will perform

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:39 AM

          Your position on highlight reels is found to be true about college players trying to prove themselves NFL ready. Just like the stuff you can pull out from Jeffcoat in preseason. However, the reel on Galette is actually in the NFL against true starters. I clearly pointed out a few examples in those highlight reels to go by. Outside the high motor Galette has shown in games and has been reported endlessly about, there is just too much of obvious facts out there to not know that he has become one of the better edge rushers in the NFL. It’s a crap argument to even start assuming that Gallete and Jeffcoat are equals.

      • YOKi - Sep 7, 2015 at 12:52 PM

        yea – combine numbers cannot provide info on skill.

        if combine numbers were able to produce stars –/ then where are combine elites like christine micheal now.? how about heisman trophy QBs.?

        this is why Marshawn Lynch who have lesser measures than elite combine monsters like CM are still #1.

      • timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 7, 2015 at 1:34 PM

        Great points with video to back them up.

    • abanig - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:01 AM

      You misunderstood what I wrote. I said Orakpo & Gallette are “good to great.” Meaning at times yes, they were great but mostly they have been just “good” pass rushing outside linebackers.

      You find it hilarious that many Redskins fans see Orakpo as some average player or worse. I’ll give you that he was vastly overpaid last year but Orakpo was a good player for the Redskins in his five years in burgundy and gold.

      All I’ve heard from the Tennessee Titants this this offseason is that they’re elated to have Orakpo be Derrick Morgan’s book end and he’s looked great!

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:17 AM

        Orakpo was all over the field making plays for the Titans. The price tag for Orakpo just got too high for the team and for a player that can’t prove he can stay healthy. Yeah, I’d take Orakpo’s performance over Jeffcoat’s six ways until Sunday.

        • ET - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:41 AM

          At $8-10 million per season, you’d still take Orakpo over Jeffcoat? I sure wouldn’t. Clearly the Redskins front office disagrees with you as well.

        • abanig - Sep 7, 2015 at 7:50 PM

          Jeffcoat is a back up OLB, this is a dumb argument. Jeffcoat played well against NFL back ups in the second half this preseason.

          Why don’t fans ever understand the difference between playing in the first half and playing in the second half of games in the preseason?

          Jeffcoat isn’t going to do that much, he’s the 4th OLB to make our roster and will Primarily play on special teams.

          This argument is as dumb as the Rob Jackson was better than Orakpo argument from 2012 & 13 because Jackson used to be a tight end and could catch and caught a few ints but rarely put pressure on the qb.

          Orakpo – if healthy – will get near or over 10 sacks this season and Jeffcoat will be lucky to get 5 in any season he plays in the nfl.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:48 AM

          No, I’m going strictly on performance in preseason between the two. As I stated the cost for Orakpo just became too high to pay for someone who failed to stay health all too often.

        • YOKi - Sep 7, 2015 at 12:54 PM

          $8m for a guy who shows he is another pectoral tear from season ending is way too high — performance means nothing when it comes to this fact.

          you can’t argue that.

  5. redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 7, 2015 at 10:18 AM

    Close your eyes on kickoffs and punts since it could get quite ugly for this team. It could reach the heights of where we start to reminiscence about last season’s coverage group.

    There are still players that can be pulled off the waiver wire but as of right now the team seems to have as many if not more holes this year as the last.

    Regardless, this is where a good coaching staff removes concern about any perceived holes on the roster. I have to hope that is what the staff will do in at least some areas.

    • bangkokben - Sep 7, 2015 at 10:23 AM

      For all the past moaning on this board about not playing the inexperienced guys, here’s an area we get to see a unit being built from the ground up with youth and inexperience. Hopefully they exceed expectations.

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:28 AM

        Don’t misunderstand my comment here: There is a difference in starting young players with inexperience over average vets than just being outright thin in some areas.

    • troylok - Sep 7, 2015 at 10:30 AM

      Unless good things start happening quickly, you might be right. Do keep in mind that because of the mix of players, the true special teams units really don’t get to practice together as a unit until after the last cut, so things might not end up being as bad as we have seen. I think I agree with Rich that it really would have helped the special teams unit if we went heavy on linebackers.

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:26 AM

        That’s the mystery about the special team coverage I’m waiting to be solved. What will this unit look like starting out this season. If the coaches found the right blend of players to at least show improvement from last season then they did their jobs on building this roster. They certainly went heavy on the skill positions but it’s a plus if the special teams doesn’t suffer because of it.

        • troylok - Sep 7, 2015 at 12:52 PM

          I would still like to see Tress Way take over the kickoff duties. With a little practice, that strong leg could get them a lot more touchbacks, or give them some kickoffs with solid hang times. Forbath’s leg just isn’t strong enough. The other option is to carry another kicker on the roster who is guaranteed to give touchbacks.

  6. berniebernard666 - Sep 7, 2015 at 10:59 AM

    we ARE heavy on linebackers. I think you mean BACKUP linebackers. Because there is no reason the Skins can’t have 5 or 6 linebackers play special teams. Seatlle puts starters in and they manage to make the playoffs every single year. Their free safety even has played on special teams and he is a Pro Bowl starter.

    Time to get over this fallacy that starters can only play at certain times and they must be protected and treated like a baby. Here’s a fact: Teams that win only 3 or 4 games don’t need to worry about protecting all their SUPERSTAR players by locking them away in a safehouse. Time to get over that nonsense.

    • rtcwon - Sep 7, 2015 at 12:20 PM

      Murphy & Riley have and will continue to play a lot of teams as starters.

    • kenlinkins - Sep 7, 2015 at 12:48 PM

      Agreed, When you have too many “one trick pony” types (i.e. sub package guys, nickel and dime backs, 3rd & 4th WR’s, pass rushing OLB / DE, 3rd down RB, Speed RB, Power RB, Blocking TE, Passing TE, etc.) that feel THEY should not run the risk of injury for the good of the team (as they think they are your future stars), you end up with a very weak Special Teams unit. But until you start to see NIKE and UNDERARMER making deals with Special Teams stars, that will not change. For the life of me I do not understand how a NFL player can say NO to a coach when asked about Special Teams and still be on the team.

  7. kenlinkins - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:27 AM

    IMO the Safety position has a Plan A, B,C, and D. Ihenacho and Goldson are plan “A”, both have had success in the past but are not “A” type players any more (IMO this plan must work out as the others are very weak). Plan “B” is Johnson, a guy who was sitting behind a very good Safety and the new GM’s figures he could be ready / steady guy to hold the fort until 2016. Plan “C” is using Amerson / Hall at FS if either shows they can not handle CB (this will not happen unless the injury bug bites the DB hard). Plan “D” is a wing and a prayer for Robinson and Jarrett to develop into one of those late round picks who start off as Special Teams members and gain time on defense due to their tackling. So, it is Plan “A” or problems for the defense. The key is Goldson being able to keep the Top on the defense. I look for teams to test the Goldson / Ihenacho duo early and often. If the pass rush is still trying to find its way onto the field, the Redskins are in trouble, but still in a little better shape in 2015. IMO there are a lot of chips bet on Goldson, Ihenacho and the pass rush.

    • gasngo14 - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:36 AM

      I am not sure if Goldson can get it done, defiantly would not bet on him. He was in position but took many bad angles so far this preseason and not impressed with his physicality one bit. Hopefully he can get the job done time will tell?

    • rtcwon - Sep 7, 2015 at 12:33 PM

      In 2010 when he lost a step, they tried Hall at free safety. He couldn’t play it then and can’t possible be better now. Luckily, he accepted the lost step and mastered re-routing techniques. This is why he can still play CB and match up with bigger guys like Dez, Megatron, Andre Johnson, Vincent Jackson, DT, etc. better than most CBs. Hall of course struggles with the speedsters like DJax (ours now!) Cruz, Brown, Nelson, etc. but who doesn’t?

      And Amerson still has too much CB potential to waste him at FS.

      Besides, TRob & Duke will be a solid safety duo for years to come.

      • kenlinkins - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:45 PM

        I do not remember Hall playing FS, was that preseason 2010? While I agree finding a CB is more valuable than finding a FS, to date Amerson is still trying to find his way at CB (one good year, one not so good year). If Culliver, Hall and Breeland can hold down the CB position and there are problems at FS (i.e. Goldson can not keep the top on the defense), then why not give Amerson a shot? He has the speed and likes to “soft play” (play off) people and might be able to play a good “center field”. I agree that Duke will prove to be a OK SS, but I have my concerns about a 5’9″ FS (T. Robinson) even if he can tackle (which he can do) and has the speed (4.46) to keep the top from being blown off the defense). You have more faith in Robinson than I do, but I hope you are right. It would be great to find a good FS/SS that didn’t even cost the Redskins a draft pick.

        • bangkokben - Sep 7, 2015 at 5:47 PM

          There are lots of reports about how poor Amerson’s eye discipline is. That seems like a terrible trait for a free safety. As for Goldson’s weaknesses, these were exposed because of AMERSON’S coverage. Furthermore, on Steve Smith’s TD, Amerson was in position to make the tackle – especially if he was the safety but was smoked before, during, and AFTER the catch.

        • abanig - Sep 7, 2015 at 7:17 PM

          Goldson had one less missed tackle than what Ryan Clark had last year. If he had been any good the past two years, he’d still be playing for Tampa. He had only one int in two seasons in Tampa.

          What you saw on that play was the equivalent of Clark & Amerson playing together last year.

          Amerson would have poor eye discipline, turn the wrong way in coverage or blow a coverage and proceed to miss the tackle. Then, the FS would be no where to be found as he was slow to recognize it also and when he would come up to make the tackle he’s take a bad angle and miss the tackle.

          I hope I’m wrong about Goldson but from the minute we’ve traded for him, I’ve expected him to be a total bust in a Redskins uniform and we’ll be looking to sign a better FS in free angency or draft a starting FS high in next year’s draft like Ramsey.

        • bangkokben - Sep 7, 2015 at 7:26 PM

          I’m not holding much hope out for Goldson either. Especially, since we will miss Galette’s presence in the pass rush. But I have some hope provided Hall and Culliver are playing and the pass rush brings pressure. Goldson back there is like playing with gasoline. Add Amerson and it’s like adding a torch.

  8. redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 7, 2015 at 12:30 PM

    “The Redskins signed tight end Anthony McCoy and released cornerback Deshazor Everett. McCoy was a sixth-round pick by Seattle in 2010. The Redskins now have three tight ends on the roster plus tackle Tom Compton.”

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 7, 2015 at 12:35 PM

      Agility: Won’t make many defenders miss in the open field thanks to his elusiveness. McCoy’s body control is fine, he just doesn’t move around incredibly quickly. Solid leaping ability for a player his size.

      Blocking: Is an NFL-ready blocker. McCoy is great at helping a tackle maintain ends and flush them out of a play. Shows quick feet to move to the outside and take on linebackers. Is very strong. Shows a lot of effort here, blocking along the line and in the open field. Fundamentally sound in his technique. Properly extends his arms and gets a wide base. McCoy’s blocking is what gets him such high rankings.

      Hands: Has very big hands – the third-largest measured at the combine. Snags the ball out of the air with ease. His power base allows him to shrug off defenders while the ball is in the air, so he can make a play. Doesn’t get scared going over the middle.

      • troylok - Sep 7, 2015 at 12:57 PM

        You forgot to mention the fact that the guy has had two torn Achilles tendons in as many years. Given Reed’s fragility and the demolition of the rest of the tight ends on the roster, I think this is a high risk signing that almost smacks of desperation.

        • ET - Sep 7, 2015 at 1:28 PM

          It’s little to no risk (where’s the risk?), but yeah, there’s some desperation—as there should be when two of your starters are out for the season and the third is as fragile as a glass figurine.

  9. timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:13 PM

    I think it’s definitely to early to judge the defense. We’ve only seen them pay in limited action during preaseason. It’s best to wait till the Dolphins game to make a better assessment

  10. kenlinkins - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:50 PM

    So, are the Redskins turning into the “Sea-niners”? or maybe the “Fourty Niner – Hawks”? It seems this new GM really likes guys he has worked with in the past. So, the question becomes: Does this GM really know the NFL talent pool (i.e. know how to grade out talent) or just people he has worked with before? Seems to me the new GM has gone to the West Coast Well early and often to fill holes.

    • bangkokben - Sep 7, 2015 at 5:54 PM

      Valid question. If his last name was Spurrier and he was plucking former Gators or if it was Allen and the guys he signed had Tampa ties, this fan base would be in an uproar. His reputation is buying him good graces and time. Of course when you move into a fixer upper in a dodgy neighborhood, you might want to work with familiar faces too.

  11. goback2rfk - Sep 7, 2015 at 4:20 PM

    Are the safeties better? LoL. Um.. Well considering we had Reed Doughty and comparing to last years squad I would say yes they are better. I am not sure that is saying much however.
    Are they Sean Taylor or Chancellor, No, but will they do better than last year, yes.
    The defense I think will be middle of the road. I am thinking 16th in the NFL.

    • bangkokben - Sep 7, 2015 at 5:58 PM

      Reed Doughty > (OJ Atogwe + Madieau Wiliams + Bacarri Rambo + Phillip Thomas)


      Reed Doughty < average NFL safety

      • goback2rfk - Sep 7, 2015 at 6:13 PM

        I liked Rambo lol.

      • abanig - Sep 7, 2015 at 7:07 PM

        Reed was good in the box, but couldn’t cover tight ends. OJ Atogwe was the best coverage FS we’ve had since Sean Taylor died but when we got him his body was starting to break down because he was in his early thirties. He just couldn’t stay healthy in 2011, but in 2011 when we had Atogwe our pass defense was ranked 12th, just behind Seattle’s.

        Atogwe had 6 passes defensed and 3 ints in 2011 and he only started and finished 8 games.

        It shouldn’t surprise anyone that in 2011 when he we had an average free safety that it was the last time this defense was above average.

        • bangkokben - Sep 7, 2015 at 7:13 PM

          Reed was part of that 2011 pass defense as well. Point is that for so long people thought that Reed was the reason for sucking when in fact we’ve had multiple guys suck and suck worse. None of them could cover tight ends consistently. Sure we had flashes of better coverage with Atogwe and the local guy who never played a down due to drugs but Reed Doughty was a lot like Ryan Clark – didn’t know what we had until we had worse.

        • abanig - Sep 7, 2015 at 7:24 PM

          I love Reed, but when the defense was good in 2011 was when Landry was healthy the first half of the season and Atogwe was mostly healthy.

          When we trotted out those pro bowl caliber safeties – talent wise – in 2011, our defense was good. I believe it was top 10 the first 6 games or so before Atogwe hurt his hamstring and Landry hurt his achillies.

          We could do so much the first half of the season with Landry at SS in 2011 such as run blitzes and blitzing on passing downs because Atogwe was a good enough as a deep coverage safety.

          We haven’t come close to having that since Atogwe was let go in 2012.

        • bangkokben - Sep 7, 2015 at 7:28 PM

          Yeah. That seemed to be the last year we would interview our safety tandem and proclaim: “Best tandem for years to come!”

  12. goback2rfk - Sep 7, 2015 at 4:26 PM

    Fred Davis or a washed up Chris Cooley would have been better than signing McCoy.
    McCoy has caught a total of like 10 balls in his career. I am skeptical of this move.

    • bangkokben - Sep 7, 2015 at 6:00 PM

      They need a blocking TE that is a better pass catching threat than Tom Compton. Neither of the two you mentioned qualify as blocking tight ends. Maybe Doc Walker but McCoy is better than him at this stage of his career.

      • goback2rfk - Sep 7, 2015 at 6:11 PM

        Do you really think Reed is going to last?! He will have a hammy week 1 or 2 wait and see. We will need another catching TE soon enough, Reed has never made it an entire season don’t forget. And with Cousins the TE is going to be doing more catching than blocking.

        • bangkokben - Sep 7, 2015 at 7:08 PM

          Reed not lasting is nearly a sure bet. Cousins needing a pass catching TE over a run blocking TE. That all may be true, but Carrier is a pass catching TE. He basically is a young Chris Cooley light. So we’ve got the back up pass catching TE when most teams just have one. Now we’ve got the blocking TE to fill the set of three. Finding pass catchers that can fill the position is easier than blockers – at least theoretically since there are more of them, but again we’ve got two. For the present.

        • goback2rfk - Sep 7, 2015 at 7:45 PM

          If Reed stays healthy this year he will be beast. I know Cousins can find him. Linebackers can not guard Reed. I just hope he stays upright this year. I would like to see something like 819 yards 6 TD’s from Reed this year. Archives

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