The Redskins got an unexpected boost when the team signed free agent Zach Brown to a one-year deal in free agency. Brown earned a Pro Bowl trip last year with his play for the Bills, using his speed to make a ton of tackles. What does that mean for Washington?
True or false: Zach Brown will lead the Redskins in tackles.
With 149 tackles in 2016 Brown almost led the NFL in tackles, ranking only behind Seattle's Bobby Wagner with 167 tackles. The Redskins had no player even approach that figure. Mason Foster led the Redskins in tackles with 123, still an impressive total, especially considering he only started 13 games.
It remains to be seen if Brown is on the field more with Foster or 2016 defensive captain Will Compton. Regardless, Brown will be on the field. He has the speed to cover tight ends and get to running backs catching passes out of the backfield, and he has the strength to stay on the field all three downs.
Brown will also be looking to prove that his gaudy tackle totals were no fluke. In Tennessee, the first four years of his NFL career, Brown never recorded more than 92 tackles. Playing on a one-year contract, if Brown can approach, replicate or even improve upon his 2016 season, the big payday will come.
It should be noted that tackles are not an official stat and there is input from teams into the totals that the NFL presents. Still, 149 tackles is a lot and even if the Bills staff was being generous in granting tackles and assists to Brown that's still a pretty good year.
Also, it doesn't really matter much who leads the team in tackles as long as it's a linebacker. That means that runners are not getting through the front seven. If you have a defensive back leading the team in tackles (S Dashon Goldson and CB Bashaud Breeland were 1-2 in 2015) that means the runners are getting to the second level and they are completing a lot of passes on you.
Although it could be Brown, Foster, or Compton who leads the team's linebackers in tackles in 2017, I'll go with Brown. He has better speed than the other two and that will help him get to a lot of ball carriers.
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