Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, July 25, one day before the Washington Redskins start training camp.
11 Redskins predictions—Defense
Not all of these can be characterized as bold, but here we go with one prediction for each of the 11 anticipated 2017 defensive starters for the Redskins. I made predictions for the offensive starters yesterday.
DE Jonathan Allen—Two words: Sixteen games.
DE Matt Ioannidis—He took a huge leap from his rookie year to his second, going from invisible in 2016 to a force with 4.5 sacks last year. The jump won’t be as dramatic this year, but he bumps that sack total up to eight.
NT Daron Payne—A nose tackle doesn’t generate many stats to use as benchmarks, so this is a tough one. I think he’ll play well enough to get onto some of the recognized All-Rookie teams.
OLB Preston Smith—If you’ve been reading here at all during the offseason you probably know that I am high on Smith’s potential, so you know this will be a bold prediction. In his contract year, he will get double-digit sacks for the first time in his career. Also, Smith will score his first career touchdown.
OLB Ryan Kerrigan—Last year he got 13 sacks, a half sack short of his career best of 13.5, the mark he reached in 2014. This year, in his age 30 season, he will exceed that career record. That would give him 84.5 career sacks and move him past Charles Mann (82) into second place on the Redskins all-time sack list. Dexter Manley is first with 91.
ILB Zach Brown—Last year he was leading the league in tackles before a variety of injuries put him on the sidelines for the last three games. In 2018 he keeps rolling and finishes the season with the most tackles in the NFL.
ILB Mason Foster—He’s more about big plays than racking up a ton of tackles. I’ll say he gets an interception, two forced fumbles, two recovered fumbles, and two sacks.
CB Josh Norman—It will be hard for him to have a big season with interceptions since quarterbacks avoid throwing his way. I’ll say he scores his first touchdown for the Redskins, either on a rare interception or a scoop and score on a fumble.
CB Quinton Dunbar—If they’re not throwing the ball to Norman’s side they have to throw it somewhere, right? Dunbar will be burned from time to time, but he’ll make some plays, too. Put him down for four interceptions.
S D.J. Swearinger—Swearinger’s four interceptions last year were the most by a Redskins safety since Sean Taylor picked off five in 2007. I’ll say he does it again, four INT on the nose.
S Montae Nicholson—Two words: Fourteen games
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Today’s schedule in Richmond: Jay Gruden press conference approx. 4 p.m.
—Training camp starts (7/26) 1
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 15
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 38
The Redskins last played a game 206 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 46 days.
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