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2017 Redskins In Richmond: Inside Linebackers

Posted Jun 29, 2017

With training camp set to begin next month, Redskins.com previews the current state of the Redskins' roster, continuing today with the team’s inside linebackers.

With training camp set to begin next month, Redskins.com previews the current state of the Redskins' roster, continuing today with the team’s inside linebackers.

The Washington Redskins will head to training camp this year with 2016 starters Mason Foster and Will Compton returning along with 2017 Pro Bowler Zach Brown, who was signed in free agency.

ROSTER SUBTRACTION(S):
-Terence Garvin (Free Agent Signed By Seattle)

KEY ADDITION(S):
-Zach Brown
-Josh Harvey-Clemons

CURRENT STATE OF THE UNIT:
The Redskins head into 2017 training camp with their two starting inside linebackers from a year ago – Mason Foster and Will Compton – but a late free agent addition provided the group a Pro Bowler.

In early April, after a majority of free agent activity was completed, the Redskins scooped up Zach Brown off the open market.

Brown, 27, is a veteran of five NFL seasons between the Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills. For his career, Brown has collected 410 tackles along with 17 passes defensed, 14 sacks, seven interceptions, four fumbles forced and two touchdowns.

During his lone season with the Bills in 2016, Brown earned second-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors, as he registered 149 tackles – second most in the NFL – along with four sacks, four passes defensed and two fumbles forced.

As for Foster and Compton, the duo returns for another season together in Washington.

Compton – who was one of five team captains -- finished the 2016 season with the second-most defensive snaps counts for the Redskins, as he collected 106 tackles with five passes defensed, two fumbles forced, a fumble recovery and an interception on 938 plays.

Foster, meanwhile, appeared in all 16 regular season games and registered a career-high 124 tackles with three passes defensed, a sack and a fumble forced.

The Washington product has become one of the Redskins’ most productive defensive players since his signing in Oct. 2015.

2015 fifth-round pick Martell Spaight returned from a season-ending concussion suffered in his rookie debut to appear in 14 games last season with one start.

In his start against the Carolina Panthers in Week 15, the 23-year-old recorded 15 tackles (11 solo). He also tallied an interception against the Green Bay Packers in Week 11.

Rounding out the inside linebackers corps for Washington is Zach Vigil, Pete Robertson and 2017 seventh-round pick Josh Harvey-Clemons.

Vigil joined Washington’s roster off waivers last December and appeared in two games. The Utah State product has previous regular season experience with the Miami Dolphins.

As for Robertson, he was one of the team’s Reserve/Future signings earlier this year. He first entered the NFL as a college free agent signing for the Seattle Seahawks last May but was waived before final cuts.

Harvey-Clemons was one of two seventh-round picks for the Redskins, as he split his college career between Georgia and Louisville.

In 48 career games, Harvey-Clemons registered 228 tackles (12.5 for loss), 11 passes defensed, four interceptions, three fumbles forced and three sacks.

WHAT TO WATCH:
During offseason workouts at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va., Foster, Compton and Brown all worked with the first-team defense with the coaching staff trying combinations with all three.

At one point, Washington also had all three on the field.

One of the biggest keys for the inside linebackers, regardless of which pairing is on the field at any given time, will be how they run the defense.

All three will get plenty of opportunities to show their leadership skills while in Richmond.

“The communication between the front, the back end and everything, that’s obviously the linebackers [who] need to be a catalyst to that,” said inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti. “Those are the things that you work on this time of year and hopefully have them sharpened up.”

As for Spaight, the third-year veteran did not participate in offseason workouts as he continued to recover from a shoulder injury suffered late last season. This is an important year for Spaight to show how far he’s come since being drafted in 2015.

Harvey-Clemons, meanwhile, is expected to play the tweener/dime linebacker role that Su’a Cravens filled last year.

He’s 6-foot-4, 226 pounds and has experience playing all over the field.

“I am very comfortable in it,” Harvey-Clemons told Redskins.com of the dime linebacker role. “This past year was the first year I actually played the linebacker in the dime and I fell in love with it in camp. I really love both positions and I am grateful that I am able to play both. I don’t look at it as a bad thing. I like playing closer to the line to make tackles and I also like being further back and reading the quarterback’s eyes. I am really looking forward to it and seeing how I will be used in the Redskins defense.”

REDSKINS IN RICHMOND:
-Quarterbacks
-Defensive Line
-Running Backs

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