When the 2011 season came to an end, the Washington Redskins' roster began to evolve. The team ended the season with an ailing OJ Atogwe and LaRon Landry, rookie DeJon Gomes and the often overmatched, Reed Doughty as their safeties.
For their corners, the 'Skins had Phillip Buchanon on IR, DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson, Kevin Barnes, Byron Westbrook, and Brandyn Thompson on the roster.
Ten players total, two on IR, and frankly not much to brag about. Productivity was not one of the strong points for the defensive backfield. The team only had 13 interceptions in 2011 and was among the bottom ten defensive units in opponent passer rating.
Sure, the team didn't give up a ton of passing yards, but you've got Rex Grossman to thank for that, not Jim Haslett.
With the 2011 season now in the rearview mirror and everyone–myself included–deliriously giddy over Robert Griffin III, Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen have made it clear that the defensive backfield must improve.
No longer with the team are OJ Atogwe, LaRon Landry, and Phillip Buchanon. The new additions to the DB squad include Brandon Meriweather, Cedric Griffin, Madieu Williams, Leigh Torrance, and Tanard Jackson.
The new 'Skins coverage team has quickly replenished its numbers and may not be done yet. Having spent a lot of time with players at the Senior Bowl and inviting others for a visit to Redskins Park, the front office isn't showing any signs of slowing down.
What I like the most about the DB signings, especially the more recent ones, is that they are all Patriot-esque low risk, high reward signings. Meriweather is the only one with a multi-year deal, two years at $6 million total.
The organization is bringing in talent to compete for starting spots. Thankfully the days of guaranteed spots and fat contracts, at least for the defensive backfield, are gone. Excuses won't have to be made for bad play and lingering injuries won't be catered to. Let your play, not your contract, do the talking.
Now we're not all the way there just yet. DeAngelo Hall's contract is still an eyesore. But if the team adopts the next-man-up philosophy and Hall's play begins to slip, there will be a few proven vets waiting to jump in and take his place.
The Redskins have been able to make a number of small investment signings that will serve to strengthen the defensive unit. Instead of the snoozer that was the Grossman/Beck competition last off-season, we will be treated to a battle between the 12 DBs currently under contract.
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