Former exec down on defensive rookies

September, 20, 2013
9/20/13
6:45
PM ET
Former NFL safety Louis Riddick spent seven years in the Washington Redskins’ organization, first as a scout and then as director of pro personnel. Then, from 2008-2013, he worked as a scout and eventually served as director of pro personnel for Philadelphia. So he knows the game from two perspectives: player and front office man. Earlier he provided insight into quarterback Robert Griffin III. Here's what Riddick, now an ESPN NFL Insider, had to say about the Redskins' defense. Warning: He didn't hold back.

Here you go:

[+] EnlargeBacarri Rambo
Rex Features via AP ImagesThere are some concerns about safety Bacarri Rambo's hesitation when covering receivers.
On the defense: “They could use Jarvis Jenkins. He’s a player they really haven’t been able to get going because of various reasons, the injury and the suspension. He’s tailor-made for what they do defensively. And [Barry] Cofield dealing with the club on his hand obviously will hurt his effectiveness. In the preseason he was unstoppable. He made [Pittsburgh’s Maurkice] Pouncey look like an average player. Ryan [Kerrigan] plays his [butt] off. [Brian] Orakpo plays hard. The wall will come for London [Fletcher] at some point. But the problems are in the back end. DeAngelo Hall is below average and that’s just the way it is. He was at one time a very solid player. But he’s a target every week."

On what he’s thought of David Amerson: “I was surprised and hopeful that maybe he’d prove me wrong based on how I graded him coming out of college. I was not high on him at all. He showed promise initially. I thought against Tennessee that maybe Raheem [Morris] and Jim [Haslett] together were having an effect on him. Based off the first two weeks, he is what he looked like at NC State his last year, a guy who doesn’t seem to be able to be trusted to do what he needs to do down after down, series after series, game after game. His lack of competitiveness in that Packers game was evident. When you’re getting stalk blocked by a receiver and he’ s just running downfield … You’re talking about a kid who is put together pretty well at 6-1, 200 pounds. That can’t happen. That’s just want-to. I played the game long enough at that level to know when you want to. That’s just about competing.”

On the safety position: “At safety, I haven’t seen Bacarri Rambo hit anybody yet. Coming out of Georgia there were those questions. Will this guy show up in crunch time? My take was no he won’t. What he looked like at Georgia is what he’s looked like to me thus far. When you’re being cracked, you can turn and look at that receiver and try to light him up to know don’t crack on me again. I saw Bacarri cringe and I saw him do it in college. When you see those kinds of things that’s what makes you go, ‘Hmm.’ No one competes harder than Reed [Doughty], but he’s just not a starter. They need Brandon Meriweather bad. They need that edge and they need his skill set and when he’s not in there it is glaringly evident they are short-handed in the middle of the field. Glaringly evident. Josh Wilson doesn’t look the same either. He doesn’t have the same change-of-direction qualities he showed two years ago.

“This isn’t a problem you can fix. You can’t go on the street and fix it. Those guys just have to summon up something and Jim and Raheem will have to work their magic from a coaching perspective. If Ryan and Orakpo aren’t out of their mind and [Darryl] Tapp and [Brandon Jenkins], it’s just gonna be tough to stop teams that can throw the ball. It just is.”

On Rambo and Amerson: “I couldn’t care less if a guy gets beat. But they don’t compete. That’s what was troubling to me. They’ve got a big hole to dig out of. We’re not talking about fundamental issues. Now we’re talking about, ‘Do we have the right makeup of players that can get it corrected.’ That’s just the truth. This isn’t me trying to rip on their guys. This is what you see. I went down to Georgia and spent two days there. I know all about Rambo. I’m telling you, he’s showing exactly what I had concerns about coming out of college. Maybe he gets it turned around, but that was a troubling performance.”

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter

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