Lanier’s fit in the Redskins D-line rotation
One thing that was clear about the Redskins defensive line under Jim Tomsula is that they like to rotate players in and out. Talented players are still going to see a bulk of the playing time. But on the defensive line, where having fresh players is so important to generating pressure, it’s better to be able to play five guys in order to make sure the defense has well-rested players on the field.
Right now, it seems that the Redskins starting front is going to consist of Allen, Payne, and Ioannidis. It’s possible that Stacy McGee could actually start over Ioannidis, given that his strong suit is defending the run, but the point here is that Ioannidis will probably see more snaps given his ability as a pass rusher.
Either way, Ioannidis and McGee will be the primary rotational duo at one end spot. When Payne tires at the nose, Settle will come into the game, if he’s active. If not, McGee will see time there. And when the Redskins need their best pass rushers on the field, that will be where Lanier comes in.
In obvious pass rushing situations, Lanier will likely see the field in conjunction with Allen and possibly Ioannidis, depending on the formation and situation. In this type of rotational role, with these two flanking him and Ryan Kerrigan playing with Preston Smith outside, Lanier is going to be a forgotten man. And that will allow him to break through the line and continue to use his athletic frame to do damage.
Lanier will probably be the freshest defender on the field, and opposing offenses will be scheming more to eliminate the high-level edge guys. Thus, he will have a chance to sneak through often, especially against weaker offensive lines.
Lanier may not be the biggest name on the defensive line. He may not be the flashiest player. But the fact is that he is one of the better interior pass rushers the Redskins have for the 2018 season. It shouldn’t be out of the question for him to notch another five sacks in an interior role, or possibly increase that with more playing time. He’s going to be a player to watch this season, and it’s possible that he could eventually push McGee for playing time.