The Washington Redskins‘ secondary was one of the NFL‘s incompetent units last season. The outfield allowed 29 touchdowns passes on the season, 3,896 net yards and 244 yards per game, ranking 20th in league play. During the offseason, head coach Jay Gruden naturally decided it would be a good idea to clean house.
The first-year head coach did just that, as Gruden signed seasoned free agent Tracy Porter, drafted Clemson standout Bashaud Breeland, re-signed CBs DeAngelo Hall and E.J. Biggers, acquired undrafted rookie Bryan Shepherd, and then signed veteran safety Ryan Clark.
Wow. That’s quite the eclectic outfield indeed. So after Washington’s secondary suffocated the New England Patriots during its first preseason exhibition game, how does it measure up?
While the unit definitely impressed, it still has a fair share of question marks. The acquisition of the ball-hawking Porter makes him the most valuable asset to the Redskins’ secondary. He brings depth, youth and an intimidating presence. Sophomore David Amerson is being groomed to assume Hall’s role as the team’s principal shutdown DB, and he is well on his way.
Breeland is by no means ready to be a first-string starter, but the kid more than held his own during training camp and has flashed promise.
The jury is still out on Biggers. The sixth-year pro has dazzled during training camp, but struggled in preseason action. His time in Washington may be running out. I have no idea why Hall, Clark and Brandon Meriweather remain on the roster, other than for much-needed depth and experience. All three are well beyond their prime, have been consistently inconsistent, and are liabilities to the Redskins’ defensive backfield.
Shepherd’s game has been apparently MIA, and it has yet to be determined if he even has any. We may see more of him in the next couple exhibition games. Bacarri Rambo‘s mechanics have definitely improved, and given time, he will take Meriweather’s place. Fresno State standout Phillip Thomas is projected to follow suit, provided he can stay healthy.
The Redskins have assembled the pieces to make up the league’s most frightening outfield, but it won’t get there with the likes of Meriweather, Clark and Hall being part of the unit.