Ranking the Redskins Back-ups: Defense
NFL teams may be made up of 22 starters, but due to injury, ineffectiveness and a variety of situations quality backs-ups are extremely important for a team to get through the season. Here are the most important defensive back-ups this season: Offense Back-up Rankings
1. E.J. Biggers–
-The 3rd corner is essentially a starter so this is a bit unfair, but Biggers is easily the most important non-starting defensive player. Not just do to the fact that he will play quite a bit, but also given the fact that Josh Wilson is coming off two serious injuries and DeAngelo Hall has been woefully inconsistent, Biggers might be needed for a bigger role. Given how poor the secondary was last year any upgrade is a major bonus.
2. Kedric Golston–
-With Adam Carriker potentially out for the start of the year and Doug Worthington done for the year, Golston becomes the the 3rd defensive end in a very thin group. It’s a position that is rotational by nature and also has a high injury rate so Golston’s role could expand pretty quickly this season.
3. Keenan Robinson–
-Robinson was being used some on passing downs last season, and may need to be subbed in for London Fletcher again this year as well. Tight ends and running backs ate up a ton of yards versus the Redskins last season, so if he can help in covering them it will be a nice bonus for the defense.
4. Bacarri Rambo (Phillip Thomas)-
-One of the two rookie safeties is expected to start, but they other will likely see his fair share of playing time as well. Last year the Redskins showed they weren’t afraid to platoon their safeties and with Brandon Meriweather coming back from an injury and a rookie as the other starter the back-ups figure to see some time. Also in Rambo’s case the team will likely want him to get extra work to see if he can be a starter going forward for them.
5. Chris Baker–
-Baker is only likely to see roughly 20-25% of the snaps, but he will play on a lot of high leverage 3rd/4th and short or goalline situations, given that he’s the Redskins run stopping specialist. He’s not a guy who could really take on a starting role as he doesn’t offer much in terms of pass rush, but his run defense is highly important and the types of plays that he’ll be involved in will decide a number of games for the Redskins this season.
6. Reed Doughty–
-Doughty isn’t the athlete the other safeties are, but he’s steady versus the run and has nice instincts. He’s also been in this system longer than any other player and will be called upon throughout the season. With a guy coming off an ACL and a 4th and 6th round rookie ahead of him, Doughty is a safe bet to see some snaps this year. If Brandon Meriweather suffers a setback it is unlikely that the Redskins will have two full time rookie starters and they will likely platoon Doughty like they did last season.
7. Brandon Jenkins-
-Jenkins probably won’t be the primary back-up OLB, but he will probably be looked at as a situational pass rusher. Sometimes as a replacement for Orakpo/Kerrigan and sometimes just to add a third guy to the mix. The team sounds very interested in utilizing him as much as possible, so we could see Jenkins play a key role on a solid number of snaps.
8. Rob Jackson–
-If he wasn’t suspended for the first four weeks Jackson would be higher on this list, but losing a quarter of the season does limit your value. When he’s back Jackson will be the primary back-up OLB, especially when asked to defend the run or be in coverage. If there was a case where a starter was injured, Jackson would get the majority of the snaps, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Jenkins ahead of him when it comes to rush the passer.
-Amerson may have been the Redskins highest drafted rookie, but his impact will probably be fairly limited. He’s firmly in the 4th spot among the corners right now and if he doesn’t watch Richard Crawford will jump ahead of him. The fact that he doesn’t have any real slot experience also limits his potential early value. The Redskins rarely went 4 corners last year, and while they might find some additional snaps for Amerson by subbing out a starter, it is likely that his snaps will be limited. Considering he is considered more of a long term project that is probably a good thing.