Well my fellow Washington Redskins fans, the 2017-18 season is quickly approaching and our team continues to have many unanswered questions. There’s a level of uncertainty about the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, and let’s not forget special teams. In spite of that, we have no need to panic because there’s still time for all questions to be answered. I’m growing more confident in the team’s decisions and the direction in which the organization is moving, particularly since the NFL Draft and off-season transactions.
One specific position of need that the Redskins must address is who’s going to play the starting 3-4 nose tackle. With additions like Stacy McGee, Terrell McClain and Jonathan Allen, there will be a nose tackle battle in the upcoming Redskins Training Camp. I can’t wait! As a Redskins fanatic, I’m very interested to see these young men demonstrate their skills. It should be a real barn burner of a competition!
A good 3-4 nose tackle possesses three crucial attributes to his game: speed, strength and great hands used to fight off single or double-team blocks. From what I’ve seen thus far, I’m most impressed with McGee and Allen. Too bad we’re not running a 4-3 defensive scheme. It’s this writer’s belief that these two guys on the field together would raise all types of Hail! From Haynesworth (aka, Haynes-ain’t-worth-it) to Chris Baker and even Terrance Knighton (aka, Pot Roast), we’ve been unable to find an athlete who possesses all three necessary characteristics. It’s been strength – no hands, hands – no speed, etc. The uniqueness of this season’s possible nose tackle players is the fact that several fit the mode of your typical 3-4 nose tackle. Redskins Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky finds himself in a very comfortable position, and said he would make a nose tackle out of one of his players on defense. I believe each of the prospects invited to training camp have what it takes to be a successful 3-4 nose tackle. The battles will be very close because of the talent pool. The player showing the most heart will undoubtedly be named the starter.
Will this be the season the Redskins get it right? Or will they still be on the hunt? The 3-4 defensive nose tackle is the anchor of the 3-4 defense. He creates havoc in the backfield and opens holes for blitzing linebackers and safeties by taking on double-team blocking from the opposing o-linemen. He identifies, attacks and stops the football whenever he makes contact with the player having possession. I believe Manusky is quite impressed with the defensive gifts he’s received both from the Draft and off-season pick-ups to aid in his decision of selecting a nose tackle. McGee, McClain and even the rookie Allen all give this defense what it needs to be successful in using the 3-4 scheme.
This year’s defensive talent has potential that is off the charts. Finding a starter and second string nose tackle may not be the struggle many thought it would be, which is in stark contrast to seasons past. The only remaining question I have is what type of teammate will the named starter be? More often than not, in a successful 3-4 scheme, it’s the middle linebacker that’s the vocal leader. McGee and McClain are veterans, so vocal leadership and how it’s obtained isn’t anything new for them. In the case of Allen, I think he should allow his play and on-field production to speak for him during his rookie campaign. Then he will have earned a voice. As Redskins fans, it would be a special treat to see this young man grow and mature into a star player right before our very eyes.
I’d like to wish our glorious Washington Redskins a happy 85th birthday. Happy 85th to our beloved team, its fan base and the organization overall. Here’s to 85 more years of Hailing! Now let’s all take a deep breath and feel confident that Manusky’s 3-4 nose tackle decision won’t be made in a random fashion. I believe this is the season all the proper 3-4 components will be in place and prepared to win. HTTR4LIFE.
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