This is a major blow to the Redskins. Despite finishing the 2011 NFL season ranked 13th in total defense, surrendering an average of 339.8 yards per game, the defense was tied for 30th in the league with a -14 giveaway/takeaway ratio. Simply put, Washington turned the football over too much on offense, forcing their fatigued defensive unit to stay on the field too long.
The Redskins acquired Jackson after he was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in April 2012. In five NFL seasons, Jackson recorded ten interceptions for 196 yards and two touchdowns. He has also recovered five fumbles. It’s easy to see why the Redskins acquired Jackson to solidify a secondary that recorded few big plays in 2011.
The Redskins will have to rely on Reed Doughty, free agent acquisitions Brandon Merriweather and Madieu Williams, as well as untested youngsters Dejon Gomes and Jordan Bernstine at the safety positions. Washington will play thirteen games in 2012 against teams with undoubtedly superior and experienced quarterback play. The other three games include road games against the Buccaneers and the Cleveland Browns , and a home game against the Minnesota Vikings. The acquisition of Jackson gives the Redskins a playmaker in the secondary that could have given them the competitive edge that they needed.
Hopefully, that won’t matter for the Redskins. Washington expects contributions from other members of the defensive unit. Veteran inside linebacker London Fletcher led the NFL in tackles with 166 in 2011. Outside linebackers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan combined for 16.5 sacks in 2011. A consistent effort from the starting defensive front of Adam Carriker, Barry Cofield, and Stephen Bowen wouldn’t hurt either. If the entire defensive unit can match the effort of last season, the loss of Jackson for the 2012 season would become an easier pill to swallow.