Extending Ioannidis Reflects Redskins' Continued Investment In The Trenches

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Jonathan Allen was beaming as he walked out of the Inova Sports and Performance Center at Redskins Park on Thursday afternoon. One of his fellow defensive lineman, initially set to become a free agent after next season, will remain in Washington for at least a little while longer.

“It’s incredible," Matt Ioannidis said on "Redskins Nation" on Thursday, shortly after inking a multi-year extension with the team. "Really thankful to the owner and the organization."

The signing of Ioannidis reflects the organization's continued investment in its defensive front. The Redskins have selected four defensive linemen over the past three years -- a group that includes Ioannidis (2016) along with first-round picks Jonathan Allen (2017) and Daron Payne (2018).

Ioannidis was the least-heralded pro prospect out of the trio, but his development under defensive line coach Jim Tomsula the past two seasons has transformed the former fifth-round pick out of Temple into a stalwart for one of the Redskins' strongest position groups. Combining 2017 and 2018, Ioannidis recorded 58 tackles, 12 sacks and a pair of forced fumbles in 28 games and quietly became a premier pass-rusher.

A year ago, he set career-highs in total tackles (32) and solo tackles (23) and ranked third on the team with 7.5 sacks, trailing only Allen (8) and four-time Pro Bowler Ryan Kerrigan (13).

“A lot of it has to do with the coaching and teaching of Coach Tomsula and the strength staff down there on the bottom floor," Ioannidis said. "Coach Chad [Englehart] and Coach Kevan [Latham] and Jake [Sankal] have been instrumental in the success of the D-Line.”

Ioannidis also made sure to thank head coach Jay Gruden, who took a chance on the New Jersey native three years ago, as well as defensive coordinator Greg Manusky for his continued assistance, even when Manusky served as the outside linebackers coach during Ioannidis' rookie campaign.

As for Allen, Ioannidis said he's grateful to have an ambitious, supportive teammate and a "great friend" who has raised the bar for the defensive line since being drafted in 2017.

"The room is honestly just pretty selfless, and everyone is out there trying to push each other towards greatness and towards success," Ioannidis said. "Jon is kind of at the forefront of that, just leading the room, so it’s been really good having a room like that.”

Ioannidis, Allen and many of their teammates returned to Redskins Park on Monday for the start of the offseason training program, which will continue until the middle of May. Ioannidis said he'll be mainly spend this time getting faster and stronger. When the season comes, he wants to be in the best possible shape to build on his recent success.

“Any way I can help -- get after the passer, stop the run, improve that defense -- I’m more than happy to do it," said Ioannidis. whose personal goals fall in line with a singular aspiration for the Redskins' defense.

"I want us to perform in the top 5 in all categories across the board."

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