The vacancies left by departing contributors to the Washington Redskins’ defense haven’t been filled via free agency, but there doesn’t seem to be any panic in Ashburn.
The Redskins had the No. 27 scoring defense (24.2 points allowed per game) and the worst rush defense (134.1 yards allowed) in the league last season. Now, starting cornerbacks Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland are gone, as are Trent Murphy, Su’a Cravens, Junior Galette and Will Compton. Linebacker Pernell McPhee and cornerback Orlando Scandrick signed as unrestricted free agents, and leading tackler Zach Brown re-signed.
Attrition is the norm in the NFL, and linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said he’s eager to see more time for Mason Foster and Quinton Dunbar.
“He started last year, but Mason Foster obviously got his season cut short with an injury,” Kerrigan said. “So I’m really excited to see him with a full season and being healthy, because he’s a heck of a player and he was off to a great start last year.
“But also I’m excited to see Quinton Dunbar in a bigger role. He’s a guy that … started out as a receiver, has come in and really made an impact at cornerback. I’m excited to see him in a hopefully bigger role.”
Foster has been a starting inside linebacker for the past two seasons, but he played just five games in 2017 because of a shoulder injury that sent him to injured reserve. He led the Redskins with 124 tackles in 2016.
Dunbar has played in 40 games and recorded 74 tackles and three interceptions since signing as an undrafted free agent in 2015.
The Redskins began their voluntary offseason workout program Monday, and Kerrigan had praise for another backup expected to see an increase in playing time: linebacker Ryan Anderson. He was a second-round draft pick out of Alabama in 2017 and recorded 15 tackles in 14 games.
“His mentality and his mind-set changed,” Kerrigan said. “He kind of had a better understanding of how he does need to take care of himself and how he does need to work in the weight room and how he needs to eat when he’s not at the facility. I think, just looking at him today, you can tell there’s been a change there in a good way. That’s not to say that he was doing the wrong things before, but I think he’s just doing the right things more frequently and with more consistency. Those daily decisions that he’s making to do things that are taking care of his body, those are paying off and I think will continue to pay off for him.”
Washington has not been a major player in free agency, but it is expected to add at least a defensive lineman and another player to the secondary during next week’s draft.
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