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This Year, Secondary Should Get a Better Jump

One of many experimental iterations ...


The 1st Round Pick
Jul 16, 2009
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Some Redskins defensive backs in recent seasons have privately bemoaned the team's lack of a consistent pass rush.

Media and fan criticism about the secondary's relatively low interception totals irked some of its veteran members, who said it was difficult to jump routes when opposing quarterbacks could sit back in the pocket all day. Well, that shouldn't be a problem for the Redskins this season.

With the addition of defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth - widely considered the league's top defensive player last season - and impressive rookie defensive end/strong-side linebacker Brian Orakpo, the Skins expect to have a much improved pass rush. The increased pressure, in turn, should help the secondary be more aggressive in pursuit of the football.

Last season, the Skins were tied for 17th in the league with 13 interceptions. The Ravens led the league with 26.

Owner Daniel Snyder invested heavily on defense in an effort to improve the turnover total, and Skins corners should be able to jump routes more frequently than they have in, well, a long time. For the cornerbacks to help produce more turnovers, however, there's more to it than just having the help of a big-time pass rush and jumping routes.

"You have to be smart when you're thinking of jumping a route," cornerbacks coach Jerry Gray said. "Just because you think you've got some guys up front who can pass rush, you still have to play the right way. You've got to go through your progressions, too. You have to break and drive, use your eyes and play your leverage.

"If we don't do that, you might as well keep the DBs inside, just let us watch film and have Albert and the guys on the field by themselves. What it comes down to is that if you don't play great DB, they're going to be raining some bombs on you. A QB can take a five-step drop and throw a deep ball. That doesn't mean you're going to get there."

Of course, Gray would rather have Haynesworth in the lineup


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