New faces are the new norm for the new-look Washington Redskins. Cleaning of the house by Dan Snyder has the fan base excited and energized. My last article, introduced Ron Rivera, as the new head coach. This article is about Jack Del Rio: the new Defensive Coordinator.
Jack Del Rio enters his 22nd season coaching in the NFL. This will be his first as the Redskins’ defensive coordinator in 2020.
Including his 11-year playing career, Jack Del Rio has 32 years of NFL experience under his belt. Before being named the Washington Redskins defensive coordinator, he was the head coach and defensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders (2015-17). He also had tenures with the Denver Broncos (2012-14), Jacksonville Jaguars (2003-2011), and the Carolina Panthers (2002). As a result of his coaching, 28 players have made a total of 56 Pro Bowl selections. From,1999-01, Del Rio influenced a talented linebacker group as the Linebacker coach for the Baltimore Ravens. This group included Peter Boulware, Ray Lewis, and Jamie Sharper. This is where Del Rio’s reputation as a strong defensive coach started to grow.
During the three years with the Ravens, the defense finishes sixth, first, and fourth in the league. His second season with Baltimore ended with a Super Bowl victory; he had what is largely considered one of the best defenses of all time. The Ravens finished the 16 game season only allowing 980 rushing yards and 165 points, both NFL records. Defense seems to flourish under Del Rio.
Del Rio is a former NFL linebacker who had several stints with several teams, including Jacksonville and Denver. Del Rio played 160 games in the regular season, totaling 1,078 tackles, 12 sacks and 13 interceptions.
As a head coach, Del Rio posted a 93-94 record, his teams have made three playoff appearances
New Faces: New Scheme
Jack Del Rio will have the Redskins playing a 4-3 defense. In American football, a 4-3 defense is a defensive alignment consisting of four down linemen and three linebackers. It will be the first time the Washington Redskins have run this defense in a decade. As a coordinator, only, Del Rio’s defenses have finished in the top ten in either yards or points allowed three different times.
His mantra ‘keep chopping wood”, introduced during the 2003 season, was intended to indicate how the team should slowly chip away at whatever obstacle in front of them. Del Rio even placed a wooden stump and axe in the Jaguars’ locker room as a symbol of his rallying cry.
Del Rio has had elite pass rushers at his disposal as a defensive coordinator. Including, Julius Peppers at Carolina via a second-overall pick in the NFL Draft. Peppers had 35 total tackles, five forced fumbles, and 12 sacks his rookie season.
Ten years later, as the Denver Broncos defensive coordinator, he is blessed with Von Miller. Another second-overall pick. The outside linebacker had 11.5 sacks, 64 total tackles, and 29 quarterback hits.
Because of his experience with elite pass rushers, this bodes well for Chase Young. At this time, Young is expected to be the second-overall pick in the upcoming draft for the Washington Redskins. Young, a defensive end, seems to fit in well with Del Rios’ scheme. Young finished his junior season with 35 tackles, 16.5 sacks, and six forced fumbles.
The Washington Redskins defense is bad: last in third-down defense and last in yards allowed. Washington, was near the bottom of the league in most defensive categories. Although there was a belief around the league that potential is there, Del Rio sees plenty of room for improvements. Especially the lack of communications. This was one of the biggest problems for the defense last year. The defense seemed disorganized throughout many plays last season. Players were in wrong coverage or unaware of who was covering who. Without a doubt, Del Rio will address this. His record indicates that change will come, change for the better. Improving the defense improves the offense. The less time on the field for the defense is more time on the field for the offense.
Unlike previous seasons, players are excited about the upcoming season. Furthermore, they are excited about the changes, the new faces. Clearly this is a new era for the Washington Redskins. Obviously, it has been a long time since there has been this much buzz surrounding the team. However, the buzz seems warranted. The new faces must do something that hasn’t happened for this franchise in several decades, create a winning atmosphere and a winning tradition. I believe we are on the right track. I believe in the new faces. Change is here; change for the better. Under Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio, the Redskins are a better team. Watch out NFL, the Redskins are on the warpath. HTTR!
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