‘Useful’ Ken Norton Jr. Favorite Named Fit for Commanders

Ken Norton Jr.

Getty A free-agent DE who's a favorite of LBs coach Ken Norton Jr., has been named a fit for the Washington Commanders.

“Useful and versatile” defensive end Rasheem Green, a favorite of linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. earlier in his career, has been named a fit for the Washington Commanders in free agency.

Former Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans and Chicago Bears lineman Green is still on the market, but Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine believes the 27-year-old “should be on a roster.” Ballentine pointed out how “Green’s 6’4″, 280-pound frame and athleticism give him the ability to moonlight as a true edge player who can be a tough run defender but also kick inside and play various alignments in pass-rush packages.”

This level of flexibility makes Green somebody who could quickly get up to speed in the defense the Commanders will run under new head coach Dan Quinn. It’s a scheme based upon rotating roving and disruptive D-linemen onto the field to rush the passer in waves.

Green is the right physical fit, but his experience with Quinn’s assistant Norton would surely prove decisive in Washington. Ballentine noted how “some of Green’s best football was played in Seattle when Ken Norton Jr. was the defensive coordinator.”

There’s a lot to recommend Green to the Commanders, but Quinn may feel he’s already well-enough stocked along the front. Especially after the team added several new linemen via both free agency and the 2024 NFL draft.

Rasheem Green A Good Fit for Commanders’ Scheme

Being able to move along the front is a prerequisite for linemen playing for Quinn and defensive coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. Green fits the bill, something Norton knows well from their time together with the Seahawks, when the player made a career-high 16 starts in 2021.

Norton trusted Green to win inside, the way the defensive end did against Washington and All-Pro guard Brandon Scherff in ’21. The impressive pressure was highlighted by Aaron Day of DLineVids.

A play like this would separate Green from other members of the rotation for the Commanders. New arrivals like Dorance Armstrong Jr., Dante Fowler Jr. and Clelin Ferrell all work better off the edge.

Green’s appetite for destruction from the interior would be more than useful, but it’s not as if he can’t win on the edge. This sack for the Bears against Bryce Young and the Carolina Panthers last season, per NFL on DAZN, showed how well No. 94 can work as an outside pass-rusher.

There’s room for a D-End with Norton’s skills, despite the rotation already being loaded.

Commanders Have Reloaded Up Front

Adding a trio of free agents wasn’t the only move the Commanders made to reload their defensive line. Using a second-round pick on defensive tackle to select Jer’Zhan ‘Johnny’ Newton showed the Commanders’ commitment to staying strong along the front.

Newton’s dealing with a foot injury, but his potential is enough for the Commanders to hand him a four-year contract worth $9.757 million, according to KPRC 2 Houston’s Aaron Wilson.

Putting so many new faces around incumbent stalwarts Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne gives the Commanders what they need to execute Quinn’s schemes. There’s also room for returning depth players like end Efe Obada, along with tackles Phidarian Mathis and John Ridgeway III.

Adding another D-lineman might look like overkill, but Green’s familiarity with Norton makes this a move worth considering. Particularly when Spotrac.com credits the Commanders with still having $42,610,262 worth of space under the salary cap.

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