Washington Redskins: Is There a New Best Defense In the NFL?

Matt CullenAnalyst IFebruary 28, 2009

The Washington Redskins had quite an eventful 2008 season. With a completely new coaching staff, the team appeared to be overlooked early on as they started off 6-2. By the end of the season, opinion had changed dramatically as they finished off 8-8 and dead last in the NFC East.

Part of this is due to a brutal second half schedule, but the Redskins just didn't turn out to be as good as people thought at the halfway point. The offensive line is a mess and the passing game lacks explosiveness despite having Jason Campbell's strong arm throwing to Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El.

There also needs to be caution regarding Clinton Portis. The running back is getting old in “running back years” and has had 340-plus carries in each of the last five years.

But after the Redskins signed free agent defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth to a seven-year deal worth 110 million dollars, they could possibly make one claim—the best defense in the NFL.

The Redskins quietly finished in the top-eight in the league against the run and pass, and fourth overall.

Safety LaRon Landy is on his way to becoming a star and the Redskins run very deep at corner. Locking up DeAngelo Hall to a long-term deal yesterday to go along with Fred Smoot and Carlos Rogers certainly helps.

Marcus Washington is likely gone at linebacker, but the Redskins still have Rocky McIntosh and an absolute stud in London Fletcher.

While games still have to be played, one would likely suspect that this problem is over now that they signed Haynesworth. Haynesworth is arguably the best defensive player in the NFL today, and will command multiple linemen to try and block him.

Look for Haynesworth to get about eight sacks or so.

This should open things up for defensive end Andre Carter, whose four sacks last year were down 6.5 from the year before and maybe even salvaging the Jason Taylor trade whose 3.5 were his lowest personal total since 1999.

So, do the Redskins now have the best defense in the NFL? It may be so.

They have to prove it on the field first, and Pittsburgh Steelers fans might suggest otherwise, but I do know one thing; The NFC East just got a whole lot more interesting!