Four years ago, the Washington Redskins decided to shift their defensive formation away from the 4-3 and toward the trendier 3-4 scheme. So far not so good for the Redskins defense that has struggled to emulate the dominant Washington defenses of the early 2000’s. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has been on the hot seat for a little while now and his plan relies heavily on a strong pass rush. This all begins up front with newly acquired right defensive end Jason Hatcher. Hatcher has wreaked havoc upon NFC East opponents and will be expected to continue his success.
Clogging up the middle will be veteran nose tackle Barry Cofield. Cofield has been called the best nose tackle in all of football on more than one occasion by Haslett, but has had his share of inconsistencies with the Redskins. The biggest hurdle for Cofield has been the injury bug which caused him to miss time last season. If Cofield’s able to stay healthy and focused he will be a huge piece of the Washington defense.
Easily the weakest link among the front three is left defensive end Jarvis Jenkins. Jenkins has had his fair share of disappointment through his first three seasons, tearing his ACL and failing a drug test. Still, the former Clemson Tiger will look to rebound and help push offenses into passing downs. Jenkins lost significant starting time to up and comer Chris Baker during minicamp and could be the odd man out on the line. What Baker brings to the table will be seen throughout the preseason, but make sure to focus on the defensive line battle set for training camp.