The 2011 Redskins defense was vastly improved from 2010, but there are still a couple of weak spots. Injuries at safety and inconsistent play by the corners left some room for improvement, so I looked at how free agents could make the 2012 defense even better.
As far as defensive line is concerned, I think most Redskin fans would be happy if we just re-signed Adam Carriker, and maybe add a couple of young guys for depth. Cofield, Bowen, and Jarvis Jenkins should give opposing offenses plenty of trouble, so adding a high dollar guy like Cory Redding or Cliff Avril doesn’t make a lot of sense. Chris Nield showed some promise in limited play last year, so the Skins should be pretty much set at defensive line.
Our starters are set at linebacker, assuming we re-sign London Fletcher. The combination of Orakpo and Kerrigan on the outside, with Riley and Fletcher on the inside, looks to be the strongest part of our defense next year. We’ll be saying goodbye to Rocky McIntosh and probably Keyaron Fox, so we should add some depth either through the draft, or with a reasonably priced journeyman free agent like Brady Poppinga or Chris Gocong. There’s no reason to overspend on big names like D’Qwell Jackson or the often injured Mario Williams.
Safety is a HUGE question mark. Is Landry well enough to re-sign? If we give him the big money he’ll definitely want, will we get production out of him? Will Atogwe play consistently? Are Doughty and Gomes good enough to fill in for the starters? We really need some depth and answers in this department. Free safety Michael Griffin from the Tennessee Titans has never missed a game in his five year career, and had a bit of a down year in 2011. We may be able to bring him in at a reasonable price if Landry isn’t an option. Strong safety Bryan Scott is not expected to return to Buffalo next season, and could add some much needed depth to our secondary. These guys are good quality players that won’t break the bank or put the Redskins in the headlines if they end up not working out. That’s the kind of help we need.
There are some very good cornerbacks available in free agency this year, and the Redskins surprisingly have the cap space to sign one. Atlanta’s Brent Grimes will be coveted by every team this offseason, but will most likely earn his team’s franchise tag, so we’ll have to look elsewhere. The Giants’ Terrell Thomas could be an option as he returns from an ACL injury, as well as Pittsburgh’s William Gay and the New Orleans Super Bowl hero, Tracy Porter. Houston’s Jason Allen or the Tennessee trouble-maker Cortland Finnegan could be viable options here as well. We need some competition to motivate DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson. Brandyn Thompson and Byron Westbrook just aren’t good enough to be on the Redskins depth chart. That needs to be fixed immediately! Our corners just don’t match up against the receivers our division foes have been lining up against us.
It’s pretty obvious that most of our free agent money should be used to improve our offense, but some defensive tweaks here and there are badly needed if we want to start winning. Let’s hope Bruce, Shanny, and Danny can get it done!