It was a move that the Washington Redskins hope will fortify the depth along the team’s inside linebacker position and apply a defibrillator to the kick coverage detachment. The Redskins inked the veteran services of ILB Adam Hayward.
Perfect. An investment at the line backer and special teams unit. It’s been a while since the Redskins knew what special teams was, is or is supposed to be. There has been nothing particular special about Washington’s special teams for the better part of nearly 15 seasons. Although I would be telling a falsehood if I were to say that the club’s special teams unit hasn’t stood out. Oh, the NFL is quite familiar with the special teams of the Redskins. As a matter of fact, the unit’s reputation precedes itself.
Washington only displayed a most disgusting gauge of gridiron hospitality during the return and kicking game. Last season was a particularly bonafide circus. The incompetent detachment was incredibly passive-aggressive and went psychologically AWOL, surrendering miles of field position on kick coverage. The unit allowed an unacceptable four kick returns taken to the house, had their punt protection shield breached and their place kicking operatives misfired on five standard field goal attempts throughout the 2013 season.
That’s about to change. Hopefully. The Redskins have signed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers ILB Hayward to a three-year contract worth $3 million. The club’s scouting department’s hypothesis? The standout inside linebacker will provide the Redskins’ kick return prevention unit with impenetrable insurance coverage.
The 6-foot-1, 240-pound Portland State product has primarily played special teams during his seven seasons as a gunner and ILB in the NFL and has developed something of a reputation for jacking the league’s most explosive return specialists. Having big boys employed on special teams coverage who can run, posses sound tackling mechanics and the discipline, as well as field awareness to contain return games by shutting down running lanes is absolutely imperative.
Hayward’s scouting report would indicate that he is an undeniable force in the run prevention game and will resolutely jack the NFC’s ranking return specialists. That should be music to special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica‘s ears.