September 20, 2019

Washington Redskins 2015 Season Position Outlooks: Linebackers

The Washington Redskins linebacking core last year was mediocre at best. As fine of a year as Pro Bowler Ryan Kerrigan had with 13.5 sacks, the rest of the unit was pretty underwhelming. The Redskins got nothing out of oft-injured Brian Orakpo and rookie Trent Murphy who was rushed into a starting role that he was not ready for. This year with the addition of talented OLB Junior Galette and a much improved defensive line, the outlook is brighter.

If there is one thing that is a positive out of the linebacking core than probably no other unit on the team has is its youth. Adam Hayward, 31, is the only player projected to make the team that is over 27 years old. It starts with the probable starters Galette and Kerrigan, both 27, on the ends with Keenan Robinson, 26, and Perry Riley, 27, inside. Then the Redskins can fill in young developing role players in second round picks Trent Murphy, 24, and Preston Smith, 22, outside of Will Compton, 25, and Martell Spaight, 22, on the inside.

This is the way that a developing team works, having starters in the prime of their career with younger players getting ready to take over in the years to come. The current format also allows the Redskins to have fresh bodies at all times without missing a beat. Furthermore, they will not be paralyzed if someone goes down with an injury because of the depth they have across the unit.

With bookends of Galette and Kerrigan, two guys who have a combined 44 sacks over the last two seasons, you can expect opposing quarterbacks to have to step up in the pocket to avoid the corner rushes. If teams decide to double the outside rushes, you can expect big sack numbers from Jason Hatcher and Stephen Paea up the middle. In the end, it should be a win-win for the Redskins pass rush if everything goes to plan.

Inside, it is up to Robinson and Riley to shadow backs and tight ends in the passing game while filling gaps in the run game. They will likely reap the benefits of coming unblocked in the running game due to the improved defensive line, but will still have to react quickly to mismatches the other team took advantage repeatedly last year in the passing game. It will also be key for the duo to make sure all the plays are understood correctly by their teammates on a defense that could see up to 6 new starters Week 1. These fundamentals will have to be worked out during the remaining preseason games.

Thanks to the defensive line and addition of Galette, we should see an improvement from the linebackers this season that should lead to more competitive games.

Projected Week 1 Depth Chart:

  • SLB (Strong Side): Junior Galette, Trent Murphy
  • MLB (Mike): Keenan Robinson, Will Compton, Martell Spaight
  • MLB (Jack): Perry Riley, Adam Hayward
  • WLB (Weak Side): Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith
About Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Wizards, and Maryland Terrapins. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland. Neil has loved everything related to the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals, and Terrapins since he was eight years old. However, he favors the Orioles, as he started watching baseball before the Expos moved to DC. You can follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.

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