NFC East: Red Bryant

Offseason needs: Defensive line

March, 6, 2014
Mar 6
4:00
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The Redskins need to get more of a pass rush and that's not just from the outside linebackers. In the past two years the front three have produced little in this area. That's not their primary responsibility. In their 3-4 system, the ends must stop the run first and foremost. But a little help in the pass game would be nice. Here's a stat for you: The line combined for 5.5 sacks in 2013. You can't expect the linebackers to provide all the pressure.

Why it's a need: The Redskins need to generate more push out of their nickel pass rush, which means finding a lineman who likely can play end and then shift inside in passing situations. The Redskins need more depth here, with Adam Carriker cut and Stephen Bowen uncertain after microfracture surgery. It's hard to imagine Bowen sticking around at his current cap number ($7.02 million). Even if one or both come back later (Carriker said he'll have a shot in June to prove if he's healthy), the Redskins need more help.

[+] EnlargeLinval Joseph and Matt Barkley
Chris Faytok/The Star-Ledger/USA Today SportsThe Giants' Linval Joseph could be an enticing option for the Redskins in free agency.
In-house options: Chris Baker just re-signed, but his contract does not guarantee that he'll start. (It averages $3 million per year; a good sum, but also reflective of his versatility.) Baker will be in the rotation regardless. Kedric Golston is a run-stopper; they need someone who can push the pocket more. Doug Worthington is better against the run.

Free agency: There are some good options available and my hunch is that the Redskins will sign someone up front. The New York Giants' Linval Joseph is a candidate and could make the switch from a 4-3 tackle to a 3-4 end. He often left the field in rush situations, but that's partly because the Giants liked to add speed in the middle and would drop their ends inside. But Joseph has a good reputation in New York as a hard worker and likable kid. The Giants feel they have some depth up front so might be willing to let him walk. I've liked him for a couple of years. If the Redskins just wanted to find someone to help in nickel situations, they could pursue Houston's Antonio Smith. He's small for a 3-4 defensive end, but he can help as a rusher. He's a good locker room presence, too. But he's also 32 and should only be signed to a small deal. Here's what ESPN scout Matt Williamson told our Titans reporter, Paul Kuharsky, about Smith: "Smith is a penetrating 3-4 end that is one of the better interior pass-rushers in the league. However, he is up in age and his best football might be behind him."

Baltimore's Arthur Jones plays with power, using good leverage and long arms to be effective. He can play end in a base package and inside in a nickel. He's played both end spots -- he also had a sack last season against Cincinnati. Jones has a combined 8.5 sacks the past two years, but pass rushing is not his strength. Seattle's Red Bryant could probably play a 3-4 end, but he's a run-stuffer so if they want a pass-rusher, he's not the one.

The draft: I don’t like this for the Redskins. Notre Dame's Stephon Tuitt could go somewhere in the 20s or fall to the early part of the second round, so he might be available at 34. That's tough to see. Minnesota’s Ra'Shede Hageman is another who could go late in the first round. South Carolina’s Kelcy Quarles is a possibility in the third round. There are a couple other options in that third to fourth round range, but I really think free agency is the option this offseason.

Giants want this to be only trip to Seattle

November, 7, 2010
11/07/10
9:35
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The New York Giants haven't fared well in Seattle over the years, so they want to make sure to not return to Qwest Field for a playoff game this season. ESPN.com's John Clayton addressed this topic in his weekly First-and-10 column.

"The Giants have had two bad experiences going cross-country and playing the Seahawks," writes the affable Professor Clayton. "In 2005, they lost in overtime, 24-21. The next year, they lost a 42-30 shootout in which the Seahawks jumped to a 35-0 first-half lead. The games have been marred with false starts and mistakes. If the Giants lose, it could set up a possible return to Qwest in the playoffs. For that to happen, the Seahawks would have to win the NFC West and the Giants would have to get a wild card behind either the Eagles or Redskins. Winning Sunday would put the Giants on a path to win the NFC East and to not have to worry about traveling back to Seattle."

It's a shame the NFC West gets to send a team to the playoffs, but it's something the league refuses to address. And Clayton certainly has a point. The Giants can't afford to lose to an injury-depleted Seahawks team and run the risk of returning in the wild-card round of the playoffs. I think the Eagles are about to get on a little roll, so the Giants need to keep stacking wins.

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