Everyone knows the reasons why the 2012 Redskins defense never lived up to its potential. Season ending injuries to starting strong safety Brandon Meriweather, Adam Carriker, and especially Brian Orakpo early on in the season derailed what was expected to be a strong showing from the Redskins defense last year. Add to those injuries the suspension of projected starting free safety Tanard Jackson and London Fletcher’s severely hurt ankle which hobbled him and required off-season surgery and you can see why the Redskins defense struggled in 2012. You can’t take 5 pro bowl caliber players off of a defense in one season and expect to have great results.
If all those players had been healthy for the 2012 season and Tanard Jackson hadn’t been suspended, I think there is a strong case to be made that the 2012 Redskins would have had a top 10 defense.
Most people don’t know the actual facts of the Redskins defense in 2012, besides that they had a few key injuries which hurt them immensely. Overall, the Redskins defense ranked 22nd in points allowed last season, 28th in yards allowed and 30th versus the pass. But, the 2012 Redskins defense regular-season performance must be broken down by their performance in the first nine games (a 3-6 record) and the last seven (all wins).
To say the Redskins defense started off slow is an understatement.The first nine games: 27.6 points per game (27th in the NFL) and 397.9 yards (28th). The final seven games and especially after London Fletcher got healthier during the bye week, the Redskins defense changed the teams misfortunes around. In the final 7 games the Redskins were: 20 points per game (ninth), 351.7 yards (19th) and one of the top teams in the NFL in turnovers.
It is to be expected that the 2013 Redskins defense will be much improved over the 2012 version. With the return of Orakpo, a healthy Fletcher and upgrades to the pass rush and secondary in free agency and the 2013 NFL Draft, I expect the Skins to be as good as they were the final 7 games of last year, or better.
The Redskins definitely have the potential to be top 10 in points given up per game, top 5 against the run again, top 10 in turnovers and especially sacks with the return of Orakpo and the drafting of Brandon Jenkins in the 5th round. If the Redskins can just find a way to get the pass defense back to the top 15 as they were in 2011, they should have one of the best defenses in the entire NFL.
The potential is there for the Redskins defense to be great in 2013. Let’s hope in 2013 the Redskins defense can accomplish what they believed they would in 2012, be one of the most dominating units in the entire NFL.