May 5, 2013; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Redskins safety Bacarri Rambo (29) intercepts a pass in front of Redskins wide receiver Jason Thompson (18) during rookie minicamp at Redskins Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Tomorrow night in Nashville, Tennessee, Washington Redskins fans will get their very first look at what should be a revamped secondary in a football game. Though it is preseason, and odds are both sides won’t be playing 100%, it will give a good taste of what to expect in 2013.
The 2012 Washington Redskins secondary was terrible, and that’s being nice. Finishing 30th in the NFL against the pass, the Redskins gave up 4,511 yards and 31 touchdowns through the air (tied for second-worst with New Orleans and Tennessee).
At the bye week, it appeared the Redskins would be on pace to give up the most yards in the history of the NFL, but thanks to a second half turnaround allowing only 273 yards per game, rather than the first half 303 yards a game, the Redskins managed to escaped having their names in the history books.
The hope is that with the drafting of Bacarri Rambo and Phillip Thomas, along with the returns of both Brandon Meriweather and DeJon Gomes, that the Redskins will not be a runner up for the worst passing defense again, but rather a top 10 defense.
May 5, 2013; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Redskins safety Phillip Thomas (41) pursues the ball during rookie minicamp at Redskins Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Both Phillip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo have been given huge roles, and each could be starters in the league this year if they both continue to grow as fast as they have(according to the current depth chart, Rambo already is). Thomas has the bigger challenge on his hand with Meriweather, a once two-time Pro Bowler in front of him, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the skill to beat him out. The main factor might be Meriweather’s knee, which has been his only detriment the past couple of seasons.
Washington had a top-five defense against the run last year, but the 30th ranked pass is what shot them down to the 28th overall defense in the league during 2012.
With the depth at secondary, the hope is the corners can finally worry about playing corner, rather than playing in between corner and safety in hopes of not being beat deep, such as fans saw last year during the New York, Washington game at MetLife Stadium.
Close to a minute remaining, the Redskins saw a game slip out of their hands after an unfortunate mistake by then safety, Madieu Williams, who stepped up allowing Victor Cruz to run by him for a 77 yard go-ahead touchdown.
The secondary now has younger, more talented players who will either ensure the pass is never attempted, but if it is, can intercept the ball or lay the big hit.
With just one game started last season, and only for a quarter, Brandon Meriweather had a huge impact on the game against the Philadelphia Eagles — breaking up passes, laying big hits and even intercepting the ball once.
On Thursday night this will be the biggest thing to watch, as the Redskins have proven their offense is legit during their seven game win streak, along with a top five run defense. The only question is whether the revamped secondary will be able to live up to their hype.
If they can, the Redskins would find themselves in the top 10 defensive rankings for the first time since 2008 when they finished fourth.