Bye week grades: Safeties
Through seven games, the Redskins rank as one of the NFL’s most inconsistent teams—from week-to-week, quarter-to-quarter, heck, play-to-play. But at 3-4, they’re still in the thick of things as they catch a breather at the bye. It’s been an interesting couple of months, indeed, and over the next few days CSN Mid-Atlantic reporters Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will hand out their first half grades, position-by-position.
Tandler: The Redskins have tried to solve the safety problem for years and, through seven games this year, they are still trying. Robinson is an asset on special teams but a clear liability in the back end of the defense. He has nine missed tackles and he probably didn’t get some more stops he should have due to taking poor angles. Goldson is the defensive captain but he is a long, long way from the All-Pro form he displayed with the 49ers in 2012. He has 10 missed tackles and has struggled in coverage. The fact that Jeron Johnson has only been able to get into a game to fill in for an injured Robinson speaks volumes about his ability. The safety who is playing the best isn’t playing safety at all; Kyshoen Jarrett is filling in at slot corner and Joe Barry and Perry Fewell need to find a role for him at safety once they get past their injuries at cornerback. Beyond Jarrett’s potential, it looks like it’s back to the drawing board at safety next year for Scot McCloughan and the scouting department.
El-Bashir: It’s tough to argue with Tandler’s blunt assessment at this position. It’s says a lot about Dashon Goldson that he was elected captain just a few months into his tenure in Washington. He’s knowledgeable and he’s a leader. But unless he turns things around on the field over the final nine games, the revolving door at free safety will likely spin once again this offseason. As for Trenton Robinson, he was put in a tough spot after starting strong safety Duke Ihenacho was lost for the season in Week 1. Robinson is a valuable contributor on special teams (he recovered the onside kick that turned the Tampa Bay game) but is best used as a reserve on defense. One player I’d like to see play more is Jeron Johnson, who was brought in to battle Ihenacho for the starting strong safety job. That battle never really materialized in training camp because of a hamstring injury Johnson suffered early on… and the former Seahawks backup has been buried on the depth chart ever since. Johnson is, however, leading the team in special teams tackles (5). He’s also blocked a punt. If the starters continue to scuffle, I’d expect Johnson to get the opportunity to compete for a bigger role.
Grading the Redskins at the bye: