Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus names Darby as the team’s most underrated player. Darby has spent the past three seasons in Philadelphia where he won a Super Bowl with the club. He showcased the ability to play at a high level, though injuries ultimately headlined his tenure with the Eagles.
Darby appeared in just eight games in 2017 and he tore his ACL in 2018, which limited him just nine contests. He returned in 2019 to play 11 games, though his play wasn’t up to his standards.
He was pretty bad in coverage during 2019, sporting a 39.8 grade in coverage, according to PFF. Although, Linsey can easily envision Darby returning to form, results in coverage are relatively unstable from year-to-year, which means Darby is more likely to return to form than have another year like he did in Philadelphia last year.
Washington’s Revamped Secondary
The franchise released Josh Norman earlier in the offseason, watching him ink a deal with the Bills. The team also traded away Quinton Dunbar, shipping him to the Seahawks for just a fifth-round pick.
Although Dunbar was looking for a new contract, the decision to move on from him was a curious one. Dunbar had a fantastic 2019 season. Richard Sherman was the only cornerback to have a better campaign, per Pro Football Focus. The University of Florida Product played 347 snaps last year, allowing just two touchdowns, and he allowed just 17 first downs across his 52 targets, which is the 10th best rate in the league.
Washington brought back Kendall Fuller, giving him a four-year deal. Behind him is Fabian Moreau and not much else. Darby should have a chance to start across Fuller next season.
Can the Defense Carry the Team?
There’s reason to believe the Redskins will improve over last year’s 3-13 record, as I wrote on Pro Football Action, though expectations should be tempered.
Only the Dolphins had a worse point differential than the Redskins, a metric that is more valuable than the previous year’s win totals when projecting future outcomes in the NFL.
This is a year for Rivera to build in Washington. It’s hard to imagine the coach getting new schemes in place perfectly with the coronavirus altering offseason activities. Still, the defense is expected to be the strength of the team.
Washington’s offense was lacking in 2019. Only the Steelers and Jets had a worse offensive DVOA than the Redskins; No quarterback had a worse DVOA than starter Dwayne Haskins.
That’s just one of the advanced metrics that go against the 2015 No. 15 overall pick. There’s a reason why there was widespread speculation that the club was considering moving on from him this past offseason. Perhaps a major improvement from the team with Haskins under center isn’t in the cards.
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