Top Five Redskins Defensive Players of the 2012 Season
1- London Fletcher
The General of the team and heart of the defense is easy to pick out. London Fletcher is having better seasons in his late thirties than most guys have in their twenties or ever, for that matter.
Fletcher had 139 total combined tackles in 2012 (61 assisted and 78 unassisted), one forced fumble and five interceptions (career high). The untold story is that London played almost the entire year with injuries that kept him from fully practicing.
Fletcher has now played in 240 straight regular season games, a stat that dates all the way back to 1998. He was selected to the Pro Bowl as an alternate but was added to the team last weekend. London was also named 2nd team All-Pro this year and is still deciding whether or not he will play in the 2013 season.
2- Ryan Kerrigan
When Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo went down early in the season with a shoulder injury, many thought the Redskins were doomed. Ryan Kerrigan did all he could this season to try and show everyone he can be a premier pass rusher.
Kerrigan had 54 total combined tackles (12 assisted and 42 unassisted), two forced fumbles and one recovered fumble and one interception which he returned for a touchdown. Ryan also recorded 8.5 sacks this season, which lead the team.
Going forward into next season Kerrigan looks to be breaking out in Jim Haslett’s defense and should only get better when Orakpo returns. Ryan was also added to the Pro Bowl roster this past weekend.
3- Rob Jackson
Brian Orakpo’s injury this year had many thinking Washington was in trouble; luckily the Redskins had a backup that could step in. Rob Jackson is not the same style of player that Orakpo is, but he offers a better coverage player to the mix.
Jackson ended the season with 37 total combined tackles (11 assisted and 26 unassisted), 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery to go along with four interceptions.
The future is cloudy for Jackson as he is a restricted free agent this year and would like to have a chance at being a starter somewhere.
4- Perry Riley
Perry Riley continues to grow as an inside linebacker and appears to be the heir apparent to London Fletcher once he does retire. Riley started every game in 2012 and recorded 129 total combined tackles (56 assisted and 73 unassisted tackles), 3.5 sacks, one forced fumble and one recovered fumble.
The growth in Riley’s game the last two years is obvious, and Perry could look toward 2013 as a real breakout season.
DeAngelo Hall is the most polarizing player on the Washington Redskins roster by far. Many fans can’t stand him while others love the way he plays. One thing is for sure, Hall gets inside of opposing receivers heads for 4 hours on Sunday afternoons.
Hall recorded 90 tackles and at least three interceptions for the third straight year as he had 95 total combined tackles, four interceptions, one sack, and one fumble recovery. While he may not be considered an ‘elite’ cornerback in the league any longer, he is still the best coverage man the Redskins have heading into 2013.
The future is unknown for Hall at this point as he is set to have a cap hit somewhere near the 7.5 million dollar area. The Redskins are harnessed with the 18 million dollar salary cap penalty again this season so Hall may have to take less pay to continue to play for Washington.