Like WR, this unit has a flood of applicants. Daniels, Kemeatou and Carriker could anchor this group. I don’t believe Haynesworth will play a down for this defense, but they have enough bodies to clog traffic. Don’t expect any pass rush from this group, however.
The heart of the new 3-4 defense is a weakness. While star-in-the-making Brian Orakpo and Andre Carter can bring pressure, all of these linebackers will be playing out of position. They have excellent leadership with London Fletcher, but shortcomings in pass coverage will encourage other teams to attack the flat. A lack of honed 3-4 LB instincts will be a drawback all year.
This collection of underachieving 1st round picks will be asked to play a lot of man coverage. They have the potential to become a special unit, but big plays have eluded them for years. D. Hall, C. Rogers and P. Buchanon have coverage skills but need to contribute more in run support.
These two positions will allegedly be interchangeable next year, allowing for disguised coverage. Chris Horton needs to bounce back from IR and Laron Landry must turn the corner this year to become the best player he can be.
Last year, this position was victimized by double moves and should be embarrassed by missed tackles. Expect other teams to challenge these safeties until they prove themselves.Defense Overall: B
Washington’s reasons for switching to the 3-4 elude me. This unit hopes to use deception and surprise to keep other teams off-balance. It is not clear that they have enough pieces in place to dictate such terms to the offense.
Playing to the team’s strengths would be utilizing both 4-3 and 3-4 alignments. In keeping with the coverage disguises, changing up the front seven’s looks could prevent teams from taking advantage of some incipient weaknesses in personnel.
This defense will have to learn on the fly, playing against some of the best offenses in the league during the first half of the season. They should show some flashes, but I don’t see how this unit doesn’t take a step backwards.