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Recap: Defensive Position Battle Winners

Posted Sep 4, 2012

With the roster finally set at 53, it's time to recap the position battled that raged through OTA's, training camp and the preseason.

Throughout the offseason, the staff reviewed the position battles to look for in training camp.  Now that the 53-man roster has been finalized, here is a recap of the winners from this summer's Redskins position battles.

Cornerback winners: Cedric Griffin, Richard Crawford, Crezdon Butler.

With DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson entrenched at the starting spots, the Redskins looked to rebuild the cornerback depth with youth (Kevin Barnes, Brandyn Thompson, Crawford, Travon Bellamy, Chase Minnifield) and free agents (Griffin, Morgan Trent, Leigh Torrence).

Griffin (6-0, 203 pounds) is one of the biggest corners on the team, and has the size and experience to line up on the island.  His presence should help the Redskins in obvious passing downs, and give the coaching staff enough flexibility to move Hall inside on the nickel.

Crawford has a bright future in the nickel, showing the ability to blitz, cover and ball-hawk.  He finished the preseason with five tackles, three passes defensed and a pair of interceptions.

Butler is a bit of an unknown, having never played for an extended period of time in Pittsburgh or Arizona, but showing enough on film to earn an active roster spot.  Butler will likely earn his playing time on special teams, but also showed his defensive skills with a preseason interception for the Cardinals.


Safety winners: Madieu Williams, Brandon Meriweather, Jordan Bernstine, DeJon Gomes, Reed Doughty.

This big winner in this competition is the Redskins' defense, which should rebound from a porous effort in 2011.

In Williams and Meriweather, the Redskins have two dependable veterans that should bring stability and leadership to the position.

In Doughty and Gomes, the Redskins have players that can contribute on defense and special teams, and have experience in the system.

Bernstine is a solid developmental pick, who showed intriguing ability with eight tackles, two passes defensed and an interception in the preseason.  Bernstine should be given time to refine his craft on special teams.


Inside linebacker winners: Lorenzo Alexander, Keenan Robinson.

With London Fletcher and Perry Riley firmly entrenched at the two starting positions, the battle was on for backup. 

The Redskins coaching staff added quality free agents Jonathan Goff and Bryan Kehl, but settled on Alexander and Robinson in the end.  Alexander makes his most-recent move from outside linebacker to inside, and will back up Fletcher on gameday.

Robinson comes from the same mold as Riley, bringing speed and athleticism up the middle.  Robinson is well-suited for coverage, and could develop as the heir-apparent behind Fletcher.


Outside linebacker winners: Rob Jackson, Chris Wilson.

After sitting out last season without an NFL job, Wilson was given an opportunity to return to the Redskins and compete with Markus White and Monte Lewis for his old job.

Wilson showed impressive development from offseason workouts and made the most of his preseason opportunities: six tackles, and a sack for the team's first safety since 2007.

Wilson joins Rob Jackson as the team's two reserve outside linebackers, and will be looked to to contribute on special teams.  Wilson backs up Ryan Kerrigan, who has never missed an NFL snap.


Nose tackle winner: Chris Baker.

With Barry Cofield and Baker, the Redskins have an intimidating one-two punch--a tandem that should get better as the year goes on.

Cofield came to the Redskins from a 4-3 and took last year to adjust to the 3-4.  With a year under his belt, coaches have told Cofield he has the ability of some of the top nose tackles in the league.

Baker is the surprise in this equation, rising from the ranks of anonymity to training camp sensation.  Baker fills the role that Chris Neild held last year, and should be looked to for 10-15 snaps per game, to keep Cofield fresh.


Defensive end winners: Stephen Bowen, Adam Carriker, Jarvis Jenkins, Kedric Golston.

With Jenkins recovered from ACL surgery and Golston and Carriker retained as free agents, the defensive line rotation has elite potential.

As it currently sits, Bowen and Carriker will start, with Jenkins and Golston in reserve.  However, with Jenkins's potential and Golston's experience, the Redskins should feel confident with any combination of the four on the field.