Redskins look for big improvements on defense

RICHMOND (WAVY) — Looking to string together three straight winning seasons for the first time in more than 20 years, the Redskins have put a lot of pressure on themselves this training camp. The offense put up big numbers last year, now the pressure is on the defense.

Joe Barry was fired as defensive coordinator following last season and he was replaced by Greg Manusky, giving coach Jay Gruden his third defensive coordinator in four years.

Ryan Kerrigan will anchor the linebacker corps, Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland are the starting cornerbacks with former Virginia Tech Hokie Kendall Fuller serving as nickel back. you could argue all three underachieved last year, especially Norman, who did not have a pro bowl season, but was a vocal veteran behind the scenes.

“In that locker room, you have a whole bunch of different personalities,” Norman said. “Being able to gel and mesh with that, and being that force that when you see, you want to see someone of standard and that’s what we bring – that intensity, that fire that you just can’t coach. You either have it or you don’t, and when you step out on the field, that’s what you’re going to bring.”

The Redskins went heavy on defense in the draft, selecting Alabama lineman Jonathan Allen with the 17th pick, and another Alabama player, outside linebacker Ryan Anderson in the second round. Cornerback Fabian Moreau out of UCLA was a third round selection.

With a mix of old and new, Gruden is obviously hoping to see a turnaround.

“With Josh Norman, [Bashaud] Breeland coming back, adding Zach Brown as a linebacker who can really run will help, some defensive linemen, Jonathan Allen obviously,” Gruden said. “I think that we have the pieces in place to be very effective, now it’s about them coming together, playing together, and always playing hard and running.”