Morris and the secondary.

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Morris and the secondary.

Postby SouthLondonRedskin » Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:26 pm

Did anybody else read that piece on Raheem and the secondary in The Post...?

I've got to say it made me smile. I'm really happy about the talent and improvement in depth all over the team; we have quality RBs, WRs, TEs, not one but TWO quality QBs, and a ferocious front seven on Defense. My concerns, like most people, are the OL and the secondary.

When we got Morris to coach the DBs I thought that could be the best signing we make this offseason (RG3 aside, naturally), and I'm excited about the direction he seems to be taking us in.

Here's the article if you haven't seen it:


Raheem Morris implementing changes in Redskins secondary

It doesn’t take long to notice — or hear — a change in the Washington Redskins’ defensive backfield at offseason practices as new secondary coach Raheem Morris barks out instructions and encouragements to his defensive backs.

Morris, hired by the Redskins in January and charged with the task of improving a secondary that produced only 10 interceptions in 2011, also often throws in some trash talk directed at Washington’s receivers.

Cornerback DeAngelo Hall remarked, “I ain’t the loudest one on the defense no more. Raheem probably is. I just love his energy, his coaching style.”

Morris is bringing more than just energy, however. This offseason, he has preached a new philosophy while also and revamping the secondary’s strategies and blending Washington’s holdover defensive backs with new pieces.

“We’ve made some changes to the defense because we had a few questions here and there with certain things we were doing,” says Kevin Barnes, who last season experienced his share of ups and downs while playing primarily at nickelback, but looks to rebound as he enters a contract year. “We got that cleared up. … Different nuances on the safeties being better in the hole and being able to cover more ground so the corners and the nickel can be a lot more aggressive on receivers.”

Safety and nickelback represent the biggest question areas in Washington’s secondary.

The team allowed hard-hitting, yet oft-injured strong safety LaRon Landry to depart via free agency, and released free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe. The team signed free agent safeties Brandon Meriweather, Tanard Jackson, Madieu Williams and drafted Jordan Bernstine out of Iowa to compete with returning players DeJon Gomes and Reed Doughty for the starting strong and free safety jobs.

Starting cornerbacks Hall and Josh Wilson return, as do Barnes and Brandyn Thompson, who spent much of last year on the practice squad. But the Redskins also signed Leigh Torrence and Cedric Griffin, drafted Richard Crawford out of SMU and signed undrafted rookie Chase Minnifield out of UVA to improve depth at corner.

Morris intends to shift some roles and make his defensive backs more versatile this season.

Barnes has taken snaps this offseason at free safety and at one of the outside cornerback positions – a change from last year, where he was charged primarily with covering the opposing slot receiver. Meanwhile, Hall and Wilson, who last season spent the majority of the time covering receivers on the outside, have both been working to learn that nickelback role. Hall also has taken snaps at safety. Meanwhile, Griffin has seen time at both cornerback and safety.

“A lot of the other guys, we’ve just been rotating everywhere,” Hall said. “Raheem’s been stressing guys learning to play everywhere. So, if push comes to shove, with motions, I could wind up playing safety one play, nickel the other. It just gives us more flexibility.”

Says coach Mike Shanahan: “You’re not really sure what an offense may present — three, four, five wideouts — so a lot of times you may have one linebacker in the game. You may have no linebackers in the game. Normally we always have one. Over the last couple of years we’ve had two. There’s a lot of times that will have one linebacker in the game. These defensive backs, they learn to play the inside slot position so regardless of what an offense throws out there, you can matchup personnel-wise. When you talk about those things, that’s what we’re doing.”

Safety isn’t new to Barnes, who has filled in their occasionally in each of the last two seasons. And he says he feels more comfortable at the outside cornerback positions, but will line up wherever he’s asked.

“It’s mostly corner,” he says of his role, “but I know the whole playbook and know what everybody’s doing. Any chance I get to get out there and show them what I can do, I’ll take it.”

Late in the year, Barnes lost his job to fellow defensive back Byron Westbrook. He said coaches told him that they wanted to evaluate Westbrook, who was an impending free agent and remains unsigned.

Barnes, who now is entering the final year of his contract, said the demotion motivated him to spend the offseason working to improve. He has gained 10 pounds of muscle to help him play with a more physical style and hopes the increased strength, along with his height (6-foot-1) will help him cause problems for receivers on the outside.

Meanwhile, Hall says he expects to take on a role similar to that of Green Bay’s Charles Woodson, who lines up all over the field depending on matchups, and covers receivers in the slot, on the outside and occasionally makes plays as a safety.

“You don’t ever see [Woodson] running down the field not looking for the ball,” Hall said. “He’s always underneath, blitzing, having some type of zone coverage underneath so he can see the ball, using instinctive football ability under there, and that’s kind of what we’re doing.”

Hall later added, “[Woodson] got defensive player of the year [covering the slot receivers], so hopefully I can get some of that same kind of buzz and excitement out there, making plays. I’m definitely relishing the opportunity to get in there. It’s hard, it’s different. But I’m down. It’s a lot more space. You definitely have to hone in on your technique and what’s asked of you in that moment, as opposed to just being a free spirit and only checking your guy. It definitely is a little bit different, but it’s part of the evolution.”

Jackson, who played for Morris in Tampa Bay is still working his way back from a shoulder injury and hasn’t yet practiced fully. But Meriweather, who made two Pro Bowl appearances in New England before struggling last season in Chicago, has impressed as he looks to revive his career.

“We’ll definitely miss [Landry and Atogwe], but at the same time, we felt like it was time to move on,” Hall said. “I feel like the guys we got are just as capable. Meriweather has probably go this hand on more balls in the first couple OTAs than I’ve seen in a long time. He definitely prides himself on getting around that ball, but at the same time, he’s not soft. He still wants to go in there and hit you, knock your head off. He gets all those fines, so he’s definitely a head-hunter. I like the guys we brought in. I can’t wait to get Tanard Jackson back. I’ve been a big fan of his ever since he came into the league from Syracuse down to Tampa. I just love the ability we have in the secondary.”

(ends)

So, Hall to the Pro Bowl anyone....???
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Postby SKINS#1 » Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:51 pm

He certainly needs to step up - I think Minnifield will have his job before the end of season.

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Postby skinsfan#33 » Sun Jun 03, 2012 5:26 am

SKINS#1 wrote:He certainly needs to step up - I think Minnifield will have his job before the end of season.


Gotta love your optimism got an undrafted player we have never seen play a down of pro football.
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Postby Countertrey » Sun Jun 03, 2012 10:19 am

skinsfan#33 wrote:
SKINS#1 wrote:He certainly needs to step up - I think Minnifield will have his job before the end of season.


Gotta love your optimism got an undrafted player we have never seen play a down of pro football.
Minnifield is NOT your average "undrafted" free agent.
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Postby emoses14 » Sun Jun 03, 2012 10:53 am

Countertrey wrote:
skinsfan#33 wrote:
SKINS#1 wrote:He certainly needs to step up - I think Minnifield will have his job before the end of season.


Gotta love your optimism got an undrafted player we have never seen play a down of pro football.
Minnifield is NOT your average "undrafted" free agent.


Fair enough. But supplanting Hall by this season's end? I mean, if we were talking about Morris Claiborne, then I could see this statement making more sense. But even granting that he's not your typical undrafted (which he isn't), he also isn't much more than a third round pick. Do we really think Hall is that awful?
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Postby SKINS#1 » Sun Jun 03, 2012 12:06 pm

emoses14 wrote:
Countertrey wrote:
skinsfan#33 wrote:
SKINS#1 wrote:He certainly needs to step up - I think Minnifield will have his job before the end of season.


Gotta love your optimism got an undrafted player we have never seen play a down of pro football.
Minnifield is NOT your average "undrafted" free agent.


Fair enough. But supplanting Hall by this season's end? I mean, if we were talking about Morris Claiborne, then I could see this statement making more sense. But even granting that he's not your typical undrafted (which he isn't), he also isn't much more than a third round pick. Do we really think Hall is that awful?


Yep!

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Postby HarleyHog » Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:07 pm

Hall has tons of talent and athleticism. He has verbalized a willingness to be coached and to change his style of play. I sense he has outgrown "Me-Angelo". He is still a valuable element for our 'D' IMHO.
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Postby Countertrey » Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:17 pm

emoses14 wrote:
Countertrey wrote:
skinsfan#33 wrote:
SKINS#1 wrote:He certainly needs to step up - I think Minnifield will have his job before the end of season.


Gotta love your optimism got an undrafted player we have never seen play a down of pro football.
Minnifield is NOT your average "undrafted" free agent.


Fair enough. But supplanting Hall by this season's end? I mean, if we were talking about Morris Claiborne, then I could see this statement making more sense. But even granting that he's not your typical undrafted (which he isn't), he also isn't much more than a third round pick. Do we really think Hall is that awful?


Awful, no, but...
Do you need a replay of a certain "elite" cornerback giving up cushion and biting on a headfake during a zero blitz... when he SHOULD have been playing off by another 5 yards, and just concerned about preventing a conversion of 25 or so yards... directly resulting in a loss in Dallas???? It's not as if this was not a common Deangelo experience... the man has been beat by similar moves repeatedly...

Hall is a man you want in the game when you are behind, and desperate for a big play... he is not capable of adjusting his play to protect in the opposite circumstance. There is an excellent chance that Minnifield supplants a starter by the end of the year... and the most vulnerable is DeAngelo, mostly because his gambling style of play does not complement the aggressive defensive fronts we want to use in some circumstances...
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Postby ICEMAN » Sun Jun 03, 2012 11:11 pm

I think you guys and gals are being a little too harsh on Dear Ol' De'Angelo Hall. He actually is a phenomenal corner for the Washington Redskins. He has elite hands and pretty good cover skills. He is what you would refer as a High risk...High reward corner back. Whom I relish on this team, because with Hall, it's mostly high reward! I recall him winning three or four games for the B & G in 2010! We ran Carlos Rogers out of town...I do not see the same for D. Hall. He is our best corner and we need him!!

I know we are still upset about the 4th and 25 last year...but truthfully, it was a bad call by our D Coordinator, which exposed our lone D. Hall. It's all good!!

HTTR!!!

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Postby the poster » Sun Jun 03, 2012 11:43 pm

ICEMAN wrote:I recall him winning three or four games for the B & G in 2010!


he did not win 4 games by himself in TWO years in washington. but he IS a frequent contributor to their 20 plus losses.

d. hall is one of the worst corners in all of football.

We ran Carlos Rogers out of town...


oh, now I see. you're one of those fans who just doesnt know anything. rogers wasn't run outta town, he ran outta town. he didn't want to play in dc anymore, he called it what it was.

and as soon as he left, he was playing in a conference championship and going to the pro bowl. he's glad to be gone.

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Postby Countertrey » Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:30 am

y'all know what to do...
Last edited by Countertrey on Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Countertrey » Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:36 am

ICEMAN wrote: I know we are still upset about the 4th and 25 last year...but truthfully, it was a bad call by our D Coordinator, which exposed our lone D. Hall. It's all good!!

HTTR!!!


This is, simply, wrong. The play you note is merely the most glaring of the MULTIPLE examples where Hall got burned by an elite receiver who understood that Hall INVARIABLY bites on a good outside headfake, especially when Hall is maintaining inside position... because, that means he is looking for a route to jump.

There are times to take such a risk...

4th and 25, with the game in hand, and no help deep is NOT such a time. Hall is, indeed, high risk, high reward... on the other hand, Haslett's D requires a cornerback to actually think, from time to time. I love Hall's skillset... but his brain needs much work.
Last edited by Countertrey on Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby SkinsJock » Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:37 am

BIG thanks to SLR for the post about Raheem - I think this guy will help our secondary a lot and he's right, this is an area of concern

we might not see a top 5 defense ranking but it will be close - this defense will be better and it was not horrible last season

:up:
Getting our QB back will help a lot but we still have a lot of issues to address

Players and coaches need to believe that they can be successful - they are not playing with that attitude - big changes are coming

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Postby SouthLondonRedskin » Mon Jun 04, 2012 9:08 am

HarleyHog wrote:Hall has tons of talent and athleticism. He has verbalized a willingness to be coached and to change his style of play. I sense he has outgrown "Me-Angelo". He is still a valuable element for our 'D' IMHO.


I agree, he wants to improve and hopefully Morris will get the best out of him.

And he'll need to improve if he wants to stay here. His salary next year will mean he's under scrutiny, he needs to be a leader in the backfield or he risks losing his job in DC.

Everything is linked. If we have a better season next time and we're not chasing games as much then perhaps the pressure on Hall to come up with a big turnover is less and he can concentrate on coverage more. Maybe.
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Postby Chris Luva Luva » Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:07 am

I'm looking forward to Halls progression into a similiar role that Woodson was in. Hall is best when he can read the QB and make a jump on the ball, Morris is putting him a position that will maximize his strengths.


That's what coaches are supposed to do and has been lacking around here for some time.
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