Redskins

Quick Links

Who will be the Redskins' top players on defense in 2019?

Who will be the Redskins' top players on defense in 2019?

It is the season for looking into the future, both to the 2016 season and beyond.

Let’s look at the Redskins three years from now. Who will still be here? Which players will be top performers? Here’s a possible snapshot of the team going into training camp in the year 2019. Yesterday we looked at the offense and today it's the 2019 defense.

To define the terms here, a blue chip player is one who is one of the top four to six players in the league at his position, is a consistent Pro Bowl caliber performer and at least occasionally gets All-Pro consideration.

A solid starter is also known as a red chip player. The team is happy with his level of play and is not looking to upgrade, These players are below the elite level but firmly in the top 10 or 12 at their positions. These players perhaps make an occasional visit to the Pro Bowl.

Potential starters are exactly that, players who could be starting in three years or who could be on the bench or playing elsewhere. Even if they are starting in Washington the team may be on the lookout for an upgrade.

Potential blue chip players: Josh Norman, Preston Smith
Solid starters: Ryan Kerrigan, Su’a Cravens, Bashaud Breeland
Potential starters: Kendall Fuller, Matt Ioannidis, Junior Galette, Will Compton

Norman and Smith are both projections. The cornerback seems to be more of a sure thing, although he has performed at a high level for only about a season and a half. We know how that past performances don’t guarantee future returns for Redskins free agents. Smith is more of a stretch but he has displayed the potential to be a star.

Kerrigan will be 31 by the time the 2019 season starts. There is no reason to think he will be washed up by then, although the team may start looking for an eventual replacement in the draft.

Breeland works hard and keeps improving. It looks like his ceiling will be as a consistent starter but perhaps he could break through to the next level like Norman did.

Cravens will have a lot to learn but once he gets established in a role he should be a valued member of the defense.

Fuller could turn out to be in essence a second first-round pick for the Redskins if he can stay healthy. With the defensive line in flux, Ioannidis will have a shot at establishing himself this year.

For the first time in his career Compton enters the season as the starter. He has been taking on a leadership role as the defensive signal caller. The third-year player had his ups and downs last year and the organization will need some more evidence to determine if he is the long-term answer at Mike linebacker.

Galette may be a near-blue chipper in 2019, when he will be 31, or he might not be on the team. He’s on a one-year contract and if he plays well will the Redskins be able to pay him the premium contract that a star pass rusher commands? Smith will need a new contract by 2019 and between him and Kerrigan there will be a lot of money tied up in pass rushers. If Galette plays just OK, will the Redskins want to move on?

Of the other key performers on defense now, the one I might have included as a potential starter is Chris Baker. He will turn 32 early in the 2019 season. But he didn’t play much early in his career and he could have a lot of miles left.

Contract status

Of the players listed above, Norman, Kerrigan, Cravens, Fuller, and Ioannidis currently are under contract through the 2019 season. Galette will be an unrestricted free agent and Compton will be a restricted free agent after the 2016 season. The contract of Breeland expires after 2017. Following the 2018 season the team will need a new deal for Smith.

Quick Links

Making the Pro Bowl case for Tress Way, D.J. Swearinger

way_swearinger_usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Making the Pro Bowl case for Tress Way, D.J. Swearinger

Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Williams will represent the Redskins in the Pro Bowl next month, which is great news for the team. Combined the two players have 11 Pro Bowl selections and are deserving of their status as stars around the league.

For Redskins fans, two other players generated a lot of Pro Bowl support in punter Tress Way and safety D.J. Swearinger. The good news is both Way and Swearinger got named Pro Bowl alternates, but the bad news is neither man got the Pro Bowl selection. 

Well, do they deserve it? It's easy to make the case. 

In Swearinger's situation, it doesn't require making much of a case. Giants safety Landon Collins made the Pro Bowl team, but he was placed on the injured reserve earlier this month after undergoing shoulder surgery. A pending free agent, it's very hard to see a scenario where Collins plays in the Pro Bowl. 

Swearinger should replace Collins on the Pro Bowl team. Pro Football Focus ranks Swearinger the 8th-best safety in the NFL, and he has the numbers too. The sixth-year safety has started each game for Washington this season and has logged four interceptions and three forced fumbles to go with 48 tackles. He's deserving of the Pro Bowl spot. 

With the safety issue settled, it's time to focus on the punter. 

Let's be clear, Seattle's Mike Dickson has been really good this year. Tress Way deserves to be in the Pro Bowl, but Dickson is a good choice too. 

Here's what separates Way from Dickson: Touchbacks. 

Way has punted 72 times this season with zero touchbacks. He's placed the ball inside the 20 an astounding 39 times and never once has the ball gotten into the end zone. 

Dickson has punted 68 times this season with four touchbacks. He's placed the ball inside the 20 a respectable 29 times, 10 fewer than Way. 

Boil that down: Dickson has 10 fewer punts inside the 20 than Way, and Dickson has four more touchbacks. Fewer times inside the 20, and more touchbacks. 

It's worth pointing out Dickson has a ridiculous 44.2-yard net punting average. That's crazy good. Way's net punting average is 41.2.

What the stats don't show is that Way has been a critical part of the Redskins success this season. When things were going well for Washington, field position was a vital part of the team's winning formula. Way's ability to drop the ball inside the 20-yard-line, if not the 10 or 5-yard-line, played a huge role in that formula. 

Dickson is very good, but Way has been better. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

Quick Links

Redskins get Trent Williams, Ryan Kerrigan into Pro Bowl and another 5 to alternate team

kerrigan_williams_usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Redskins get Trent Williams, Ryan Kerrigan into Pro Bowl and another 5 to alternate team

The Redskins landed two players on the Pro Bowl roster in left tackle Trent Williams and outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan. This marks the seventh and fourth Pro Bowl honors for the players, respectively. 

Williams has been named to the past seven Pro Bowls, a remarkable feat, and joins Ken Houston as the only Washington players to make seven straight Pro Bowls. He trails only Charley Taylor (8) and Chris Hanburger (9) in total Pro Bowl selections.

After a two-sack performance last Sunday in Jacksonville moved him into second all-time on the Redskins sack list, Kerrigan got named to his fourth Pro Bowl and third straight selection. He has 11 sacks on the season, his third straight year with double-digit sacks. 

Beyond Kerrigan and Williams, five other Redskins players were named alternates to the Pro Bowl: D.J. Swearinger, Josh Norman, Jordan Reed, Tress Way, and Adrian Peterson. 

Many thought Swearinger or Way would make the Pro Bowl for the first time in their careers, but both players came up just short. Things look good for Swearinger to make it to Orlando, as Giants safety Landon Collins made the Pro Bowl squad but will miss the game with an injury. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS: