Thursday, January 10, 2013

3 Key Redskins Who Outperformed Expectations In 2012 On Defense and Special Teams

I. Jackson - II. Paul/Crawford - III. Williams

Three guys that impressed Redskins this season on the defense and special teams

I.  Rob Jackson – To be completely honest we though Rob Jackson's NFL career was possibly over after this season.  The Redskins linebacking core was full of elite defenders such as London Fletcher, Brian Orakpo, and Ryan Kerrigan and Jackson's previous seasons were subpar.  But when Pro Bowl Linebacker Orakpo went down for the season during Week Two, someone had to step up.

The Redskins didn't look for a trade, or free agent, they simply said “Next man up”, and that happened to be Rob Jackson. Rob responded to the challenge in a big way with 4 interceptions and 4.5 sacks. He was a big reason for the Redskins mid season turnaround and is going to get payed when his contract expires this offseason.

II. Niles Paul & Richard Crawford – To the disappointment of several Redskins fans, Brandon Banks was going to be the main man on special teams in 2012.  But after some injury and/or poor play, Banks was replaced in the punt game by Richard Crawford and on kick returns by Niles Paul.  Paul & Crawford stepped in and made smart decisions on when to take a knee, when to fair catch, and when to return.

Paul never ended up breaking any showstopping runs, but the 233 monster took the ball downfield and gave RG3 solid field position. Crawford did a similar thing with a little more excitement, making one of the biggest plays of the regular season on an overtime punt return against Baltimore that helped the Redskins take home a big win.

III. Madieu Williams – With injury and suspension decimating the Redskins, their secondary was in shambles.  Enter Madieu Williams.

At the start of the season, few knew much about the 31-year-old safety, but he finished 3rd on the team in tackles with 99 and added a big interception.  If you take away his subpar performance in the playoffs, Williams was often a bright spot in a very dark defensive backfield.

Written By Redskins Contributor Ben Gerow

Read Our 3 Key Defensive/Special Teams Players From 2012

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