Archive for Saturday, August 11, 2007

Redskins look strong in secondary

Washington roster includes four defensive backs drafted in the Top 10

August 11, 2007


Here are some observations on the Washington Redskins and Tennessee Titans after spending a few days with them in camp last week:

Flaw is hard to cover

The strength of the Redskins should be the defensive backfield. Washington can line up four players who were top 10 picks of drafts: cornerbacks Shawn Springs (3rd overall, 1997) and Carlos Rogers (9th overall, 2005) and safeties Sean Taylor (5th overall, 2004) and LaRon Landry (6th overall, 2007).

But there could be a problem up front where there's age in the defensive-line rotation. Phillip Daniels, Cornelius Griffin, Joe Salave'a and Renaldo Wynn are all in their 30s. If Washington can't generate a pass rush, any defensive back would struggle because you can't cover receivers all day long.

That was the problem last season as the Redskins managed a franchise-record low 19 sacks.

As a result, Washington finished 23rd in the NFL in pass defense and allowed a league-high 30 TD passes.

Getting old

I thought the Patriots were an old team when I visited them this summer. New England has 18 players in camp over the age of 30. The Redskins are even older with 19 players over the age of 30.

The Patriots are coming off a 12-4 season with their age. The Redskins are coming off a 5-11 season with theirs.

Still a strength?

The strength of the Redskins last season was their offensive line. Washington finished fourth in the NFL in rushing and allowed only 19 sacks, the fewest in the NFC. But the Redskins lost guard Derrick Dockery in free agency and are trying to replace him with converted tackle Todd Wade. That experiment looks suspect right now.

The tackle combination of Chris Samuels on the weak side and Jon Jansen on the strong is about as good as it gets in the NFL today. But Samuels is going to miss four weeks of training camp with a knee injury. So the Redskins could struggle up front in September.

Veteran presence

The Tennessee Titans signed veteran Pro Bowl wide receiver Eric Moulds on the eve of training camp.

The Titans didn't so much need his hands as they did his veteran presence. Heading into camp, the top three receivers on the Titans had a combined 102 career catches: Brandon Jones (50), Roydell Williams (29) and Courtney Roby (23). Moulds had almost that many in one season when he caught 100 passes in 2002 for the Buffalo Bills.

Moulds brings 732 career receptions to the Titans. Jones, Williams and Roby can get better just by watching Moulds and seeing how a pro works.


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