With FS Tanard Jackson being reinstated by the NFL, and subsequently being added to the Redskins’ roster during OTAs, his presence adds a unique dimension to the Redskins’ defense. Prior to the start of the 2012 season, he was projected as a starter, along with S Brandon Merriweather. But Jackson tested positive for a banned substance, and was suspended for the entire season.
Jackson played for current Redskins’ defensive backs coach Raheem Morris in Tampa Bay, and he was good–when he was on the field. His well-documented history of drug problems have caused him to be suspended multiple times. In an interview this week, Jackson stated he realized that he must make a lifestyle change in order to avoid falling back into his old ways.
If he can keep himself clean, Jackson may be able to compete for a starting job in what is quickly becoming a very crowded Redskins’ secondary; Ryan Clark, Philip Thomas, Reed Doughty, Bacarri Rambo and Merriweather are also safeties on the roster. Early reports are that Jackson looks as if he hasn’t lost a step, and that he’s acclimating nicely to the defensive schemes DC Jim Hasslett and Morris want to employ.
As I’ve said in previous articles, the Redskins are looking to add depth at every position; there seems to be a focus in getting good talent and depth at the safety position, an area that was a glaring weakness on defense. Should Jackson be able to return to form, I could see him actually starting a few games this season. For now I see Clark as the front-runner at FS, with Thomas behind him…for now. I think Jackson’s skill set and experience will help in supplanting Thomas and possibly Clark.
With training camp just two months away, we shall see…..