It made sense that the Washington Redskins would pluck a defensive back, Crezdon Butler, to fill the 53rd spot on the final roster. Butler filled the slot that S Tanard Jackson would have had he not been suspended indefinitely for violation of the league's substance abuse policy.
Jackson made some noise this offseason as the most competent free safety, a potential contributor in the defense against the dark arts of shootouts. Washington's secondary are lit up in neon targets as the way for opposing quarterbacks, and the defense faces a murderer's row of opposing quarterbacks this season.
The best defense against the pass will be good pass rushers who can cover, too. OLB Brian Orakpo reinjured his shoulder while he was in coverage in the Bears preseason game. We don't want to see injuries, but Orakpo in coverage is a sign of things to come. We've seen ILB London Fletcher in deep coverage last season. The real defense against big passing plays is to not allow time to set up a deep pass against a suspect secondary.
Washington might have gone anywhere with that slot, running back or offensive lineman, for example. Instead, he invested it in a speedy defensive back.
Head coach Mike Shanahan said nice things about Butler. “We feel like he’s a football player,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. “We liked his speed in Pittsburgh. He’d had an injury but we feel like he’s over that.”
Who could doubt the word of Coach Mike (ahem). Shanahan could not say anything else about Butler, who could not stick with a dreadful Cardinals defense. Investing that slot on a defensive back shows where the coach is focusing his attention. Shanahan filled this slot based on need, and not on best available talent.
Welcome to Washington, Mr. Butler. We need you for defense against the dark arts. We have the rookie quarterback, see. We don't want to ask him to win shootouts.
Guest writer Scott Hirsch ranked Washington's defensive backs in this order:
- josh Wilson, CB
- Tanard Jackson, FS, released
- Richard Crawford, DB
- DeAngelo Hall, CB
- Brandon Meriweather, SS
- Madieu Williams, FS
- Jordan Bernstine, CB
- Crezdon Butler, CB
- Reed Doughty, S
- Cedric Griffin, CB
S. DeJon Gomes did not make Scott's list, but I'm going to set his talent between Bernstine and Butler. That's not a bad place to be for a developing player. The New York Giants won the Super Bowl with a suspect secondary. Why not the Redskins?
Don't answer that. That's my job.