Washington Redskins Need Open Competition at Cornerback

By Greg Bradshaw


Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The deficiencies of the 2012 Washington Redskins’ defense have been well documented. The major concern of the unit focuses on pass defense. Starting cornerback DeAngelo Hall is a three time Pro Bowler with a knack for big plays. Oh, and he’s not afraid to tell anyone who’ll listen about his prowess in pass coverage. He’s in the prime of his career, and should be one of the NFL’s best cover cornerbacks.

That isn’t the case. Although Hall recorded four interceptions in 2012, he didn’t have the necessary impact defending opposing wide receivers. More often than not, opposing receivers sprinted by Hall on big pass plays. Washington’s other starting cornerback, Josh Wilson, isn’t even worth mentioning. He recorded a paltry two interceptions in 2012, hardly invoking visions of Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders.

The performance of Hall and Wilson at cornerback in 2012 doesn’t inspire much confidence in the Redskins’ pass defense for 2013. Therefore, Washington head coach Mike Shanahan should hold an open competition at cornerback. Shanahan used the same strategy before the 2012 NFL season at running back. He awarded the starting running back position to Alfred Morris, who at the time was an unheralded sixth round draft pick in 2012. Morris became the NFL’s second leading rusher in 2012, and the rest is history.

It’s unreasonable to expect the Redskins to find a blue chip cornerback. However, this is the opportunity either for Hall and Wilson to improve, or for someone else to step up. The question is who? Cornerback Richard Crawford is a viable candidate. He recorded one interception in 2012, and returned a punt 64 yards in overtime that set up a game winning field goal against the Baltimore Ravens in 2012.

D.J. Johnson and Jerome Murphy will also have the opportunity to prove their worth at the cornerback position. In any event, improvement at the cornerback position has to come from within the roster. That’s because in 2013, Washington will have limited draft picks. They will also have limited cap space to spend on free agents. Unless Hall and Wilson can rebound from a subpar 2012 season, it’ll  be another struggle to stop the pass again in Washington.


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