Redskins Position Group Breakdown: Inside Linebackers
The Redskins inside linebacker group, like safety and defensive line, is still a question mark. Will Compton and Mason Foster were the team’s starting inside linebackers last season, but heading into this year’s training camp there’s a competitive environment and the starting role will be earned, mainly due to the signing of Zach Brown, the free agent linebacker who signed a 1-year deal in April. If healthy he can be the team’s Swiss army knife. Again, it is a position where a player has to earn the starting role; however, Brown’s versatility will allow defensive coordinator Greg Manusky to use him not only as a run stuffing backer, but as a pass rusher in situations or can drop back in coverage as well.
Brown, Foster, and Compton are the top three players at this position, and this who everyone will have their eyes on come training camp and pre-season. For me, I’m predicting Foster and Brown will win the starting roles by week 1.
Behind those three, you have Martrell Spaight. The 3rd year linebacker had a moment last year when Will Compton was out with injury late in the year to start. Unfortunately the lights were too bright for Spaight. He and the Redskins defense looked consistently lost and confused against the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football, putting Spaight back in a reserve role the following week. Spaight’s rookie season was lost due to concussion symptoms in 2015, so 2016 essentially was his rookie season. The hope for Spaight is that he continues to develop as a player and in his understanding of the role of play caller, or mike backer, and create more stability at the position.
Chris Carter is a 7 year pro in the NFL, who’s expected to be a solid contributor on special teams. Nico Marley is most notable for who his grandfather is; however the 5’8” 200 pound linebacker is in a position where he has to show he’s worth keeping on the roster. His size alone tells many he can’t play the position, and his speed tells some the positions he may be converted to are limited. Who knows, if the Redskins end up needing a fullback one of these days, Nico may be asked to play that role. Either way, Marley’s weight needs to increase drastically.
You can also find me on Twitter: @_ayymall