by Chuck Carroll

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — One of the biggest question marks surrounding the Washington Redskins defense following last season was their secondary.

Although Jim Haslett’s crew finished a respectable 12th against the pass in 2011, the departure of LaRon Landry and perceived holes at safety have some pigskin pundits hanging on memories of a dismal 2010 campaign. In Haslett’s first season as the team’s defensive coordinator the Redskins finished a dismal 31st in stopping the pass, allowing an averaged of 261 yards through the air each game.

A large part of the lack of success in that year was chalked up to an inherited roster that had been assembled for a 4-3 defensive scheme before Mike Shanahan’s tenure began. Once Haslett came aboard the Redskins implemented a 3-4 scheme.

Much like Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen focused on improving the offense this offseason, Haslett and staff paid close attention to detail in upgrading the defensive unit before 2011, pruning those players who weren’t a good fit for the system. Largely through the draft, the unit was significantly upgraded and re-energized with fresh and younger faces.


The Redskins fine tuned their roster this offseason by signing free agent safeties Madieu Williams and Brandon Meriweather.

In addition, the team brought in Maryland native Tanard Jackson whom defensive backs coach Raheem Morris coached with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The once promising safety out of Syracuse has had a pro career marred by a pair of suspensions for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

The Redskins hired former defensive lineman Phillip Daniels as the Director of Player Development to work with players in need of guidance off the field. Undoubtedly the team hopes Jackson’s time in Washington is far more prosperous and Daniels can help the 26-year-old reach his potential.

Defensive end Adam Carriker believes the additions are off to a good start in Ashburn.

“I watched a little bit of the back end… Chris Wilson looked pretty good,” he said on his weekly pro wrestling podcast, 4th and Pain, recently. “We brought in a new guy, Brandon Meriweather, he was looking pretty good running around out there. . . I’m comfortable with who we brought in, the guys coming back from last year. I think our secondary is going to be a part of the team we can count on.”

Carriker also joked defensive back Brandyn Thompson was still employed after colliding with the head coach during last Tuesday’s full-squad workout at Redskins Park.

Follow @thechuckcarroll, @granthpaulsen and @1067TheFanDC on Twitter for breaking Redskins news.


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