- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
Redskins’ secondary of ‘misfits’ putting the pieces together
Retooled group ready to let performance do the talking
Question of the Day
Continuity has been the theme for the Washington Redskins on defense. Barring injury, they should have the same defensive line and linebackers as they did at the end of last season, and coordinator Jim Haslett's 3-4 scheme remains in tact.
But the secondary is where changes have been made. DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson are still around, but the Redskins brought in safeties Madieu Williams and Brandon Meriweather and cornerback Cedric Griffin as upgrades.
From new faces to old standards, these defensive backs feel like they have something to prove.
"We always joke with each other, just saying we have a secondary full of misfits. We have guys that I feel like nobody else wanted in this league," Hall said. "We feel like this group of guys might look bad on paper, and some guys might rank us badly on paper, [but] at the end of the day you have to go out there and play. We definitely feel like we're ready to go. We feel poised, and we feel capable with the guys we have that we're going to make a lot of plays."
The Redskins are counting on different kinds of plays from the secondary. They were 22nd in the league in interceptions last season and in the middle of the pack in terms of passing yards allowed.
As for what this retooled group wants to accomplish, there's nothing set in stone.
"We're not setting any goals," Meriweather said. "We're planning on going into everything looking forward to the season. We're going to take every day as it's our last and try to get better day by day."
It's certainly a new-look secondary, but Meriweather said it didn't take long to jell.
"A day. It takes one day," he said. "All us professionals, we know how to go in and learn the playbook and get into it together."
In reality, it'll take longer for these "misfits" to figure out how to play together. The strength is that they have guys who can play multiple positions, but roles will need to be sorted out.
Meriweather is the hard-hitter with a history of NFL fines. He doesn't hesitate to go hard in practice, but Hall thinks past transgressions have helped the 28-year-old.
"He's probably a little bit more calm and relaxed about doing things. He's real slow to react to certain situations. He's probably not going to be making too many headshot tackles this season," Hall said. "But he's a guy who I feel like has definitely learned from his mistakes and feels like he's ready to go out there and help re-write his history."
Hall's challenge is adjusting his game and covering the slot receiver in nickel situations. But he's familiar with this defense enough to move around.
"I'm probably not a great corner, but I feel like I'm a great football player. To actually go in there in the slot gives me a chance to be a football player and that's what I like to do," he said. "I like to try to use tips and things that are going on with the offense and things like that and use the defensive scheme and try to use it to my advantage."
Williams, a Maryland product like Wilson and cornerback Kevin Barnes, is trying to use experience to his advantage despite this being his first camp with the Redskins. The 30-year-old has to toe the line between being a leader and a newcomer.
"You've just to got to make sure that verbally you're able to communicate, making sure that you speak the same language as the other guys that are here," he said. "Once you do that, I feel like your skill set will kind of take over and playing football becomes more easy."
Playing football starts next week at the Buffalo Bills. Even with Meriweather's confidence, it might take an actual game to see what this group is all about.
"But it's another step for us, as a new secondary, to play in the preseason together against another opponent other than our own team," Williams said. "Hopefully once we get into game-like situations through the preseason, we'll see how we react to live bullets."
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- WHYNO: Tomas Vokoun gets unexpected Stanley Cup shot with Penguins
- Brandon Meriweather, Redskins' secondary ready for bounceback year
- Kirk Cousins embraces role as Redskins' offseason starter as RG3 rehabs from injury
- Capitals notes: Realignment won't prompt roster remake
- Despite Caps' first-round playoff exit, Adam Oates' first season as coach left a positive taste
Latest Blog Entries
- Redskins injury updates (5/23): WR Pierre Garcon, CB Josh Wilson each had labrum surgery
- Capitals 'love' Matt Hendricks, but how much?
- Wojtek Wolski signs in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League
- Tom Poti won't return to Capitals, plans to continue his NHL career
- Is Tom Wilson ready to be a regular for Capitals?
By Michael Widlanski
Leveling the battlefield to aid terrorists enables evil to fight on
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- Cutler wins endorsement from gun control group
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- Man says he shot burglar who said she was pregnant
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
- Obama's empty tough-talk: Gun prosecutions plummet on his watch
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq