Williams cut off the question about players being a little older by saying: “A little more savvy, a little more intelligent, a little better, don’t need as much coaching and hopefully can get to the quarterback. What else do you want to say?”
How about that Griffin, Daniels, Wynn and Joe Salave’a all have injury histories, the jury remains out on Andre Carter, and Kedric Golston and Anthony Montgomery are in just their second seasons.
“We believe in our guys,” Williams countered. “It’s shown on the production side and how fast they’ve bounced back and how healthy they are now.”
No new defensive linemen means the Redskins will bank on the linebackers and secondary to create plays. That means Fletcher plugging the middle against the run, McIntosh adapting to his starting role and a fully healthy Washington flying all over the place. The linebacker group shapes up to be better.
The big question mark is the secondary. Teams that can’t cover and can’t create takeaways generally stink.
Smoot is an upgrade over Kenny Wright. The Redskins think Landry and veterans Omar Stoutmire and Pierson Prioleau will fare better than Archuleta. A healthy Springs will be an effective Springs. That leaves Rogers and Taylor.
Of Rogers, Williams said: “I thought Carlos had a solid year in terms of his positioning.”
Translation: The Redskins coaches put Rogers in the right spots, he just didn’t perform.
Of Taylor, Williams said: “His body has changed to the point where he’s made a couple breaks on the ball that I’m not sure anybody else in the NFL except him can make and cover that much ground.”
Every time a conversation about the Redskins defense comes up, it usually comes around to Taylor.
If Williams‘ chances of being a head coach again bank on one player, it’s Taylor. He’s the Redskins‘ best athlete. He has unlimited potential. He’s durable. But he needs to create more turnovers and score touchdowns, like the league’s other elite safeties.
If Taylor doesn’t become a franchise player, the trickle down effect will be dramatic and the same problems will crop up. And there will be even more topics Williams will deem off-limits.