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Young Defenders Rising To The Occasion

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 9, 2011 – 7:57 pm

AP Image

Much of what the defense does on a daily basis in practice is hard to track in terms of progression and regression.  Games are the only real indication of who is a defender, and who is a pretender.

But with that in mind, here are a few observations about young players finding their form:

1. Ryan Kerrigan is making up for lost time

The knee injury that sidelined him early in camp isn’t fully healed, but he looks comfortable playing in the brace for now.  Kerrigan is going through an adjustment period to the pros, on top of a change of position and responsibility.

Kerrigan was a down lineman in college and didn’t play many snaps in coverage.  He said that he’s been working hard with linebackers coach Lou Spanos to learn his responsibilities in coverage, but it’s still going to take some time to feel natural.  Probably at this point, he’s best suited as a blitzing specialist from the linebacker position, or an extra man with his hand in the dirt.

Today during blitzing drills, Kerrigan was lined up against rookie running back Shaun Draughn.  While there were times that Draughn was able to contain him, there were other times when Kerrigan mauled him en route to the quarterback.

The last play of the drill is one that Draughn won, and is shown below.  In between the players, you can see the battle raging on:

Kerrigan is very talented, and is putting in a lot of time to improve his game.  But especially with the loss of playing time, it may take a while for him to adjust to his new position.

2. Defensive end Doug Worthington is a moose.

Even though he’s only been in practice for two days, Doug Worthington has left quite the impression.  A defensive end that played on the practice squads of the Steelers and Bucaneers last year, Worthington was a standout in one-on-battles between offensive and defensive linemen yesterday.

Twice during the exercise, he beat offensive guard Artis Hicks; once around him, and once through him.  Hicks sat out practice today with what head coach Mike Shanahan called a mild concussion, and it likely happened during this drill.

Wow.  I’m not sure how he fits into the grand scheme of things for the Redskins, but he could prove to be a productive project.

3. The Redskins have some young talent in the secondary

While DeAngelo Hall is the only player in the secondary that has played consistently throughout camp, there have been flashes of brilliance all over.

Several days ago, rookie defensive back Davonte Shannon launched himself several feet off the ground and came down with an interception.  In each of the last two practices, rookie safety DeJon Gomes has jumped a route and come down with an interception.  And Reggie Jones is playing out of his mind in the last three or four practices, blanketing whoever he’s on.

There is no locked-in starter next to Hall this season, and players will need to prove themselves on tape in the preseason.  This could shape up to be a good battle and a position of strength in 2011.


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Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »


6 Responses to “Young Defenders Rising To The Occasion”

  1. By T.J. on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    I thought Josh Wilson was brought in to be the starter opposite D Hall and the competition was for the nickel spot.

  2. By Brian Tinsman on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    @ T.J.-
    In theory, with the nature of his contract, he probably was. However, he also has experience at the nickel spot too. He’ll cover whoever they need him to cover.

  3. By Steve on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    I just hope these young guys have the time to gel in training camp and come together as a defense. I cant wait until Friday night!!

  4. By Redskins24/7Milennium on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    Steve,

    Friday night will be the first real football this team attempts to play in more than 8 months. There were no minicamps and the organized practices didn’t include ant of the new additions.

    The first preseason game normally is ugly to watch. This one will probably be gross.

  5. By Gary Parker on Aug 11, 2011 | Reply

    It amazes me how so much emphasis is put on skilled position players by the media.If teams don’t spend big money on quality offensive lineman then the ships will sink.Our beloved Redskins haven’t really accomplished one solid thing since the transformation was made to overlook the O-Line. Joe Jacoby stated a while back that the success of the Redskins would be the O and D line.In my opinion we have failed miserably at both.Without proper pass protection and rushing blocks,we could have Peyton Manning and Chris Johnson and still not make the playoffs

  6. By Brian Tinsman on Aug 11, 2011 | Reply

    Gary-
    I agree, and it was a surprise to see them not address the offensive line much in the draft, but I do think there’s a plan here. No, we don’t have the big rhinos on the line that the Hogs had, but that’s not Shanahan’s system. Shanahan likes the athletic guards and capable tackles, and I think that you’ll see improvement more from development within the system than you would if you went out and spent gobs of money in free agency. I’m not saying it will work, but I do think that’s the strategy at this point. As far as the defensive line is concerned, I think they did address that concern with the draft and free agency. It all depends on how the new guys fit into the system, but there is no shortage of talent on the D-line right now. I expect big improvements over last year, and I think they’ll grow even better throughout the season. See what you think though–

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