Much like Washington Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo, Jim Haslett will basically be coaching on a franchise tag deal in 2014. Haslett will have no excuses in 2014, the Shanahans are gone, and the Redskins have added depth on defense now that the cap penalties that hampered the team the past two years have been lifted.
Haslett advocated for the re-signing of Orakpo, Chris Baker, DeAngelo Hall and Perry Riley Jr., and they were all retained by the Redskins even though they were part of an awful defense in 2013. With his players resigned, and the freedom to turn the pass rush loose, Haslett’s unit has to show significant improvement in 2014.
No matter how much Washington improved their offense this offseason, if the defensive unit is as bad as it was last year, the Redskins will never be contenders. That is why 2014 is a make-or-break year for Haslett. If the unit does not improve significantly, I would be surprised if the Redskins hesitated to make a change after 2014.
The Redskins cannot afford to waste a young, talented offense that they have put together with a below average defense. It was a bit surprising that Jay Gruden chose to retain the defensive coordinator in the first place, and Haslett will likely find himself on a short leash with the new signal caller in town. Expect significant improvement from the defensive unit in 2014, or expect significant change after 2014.