Redskins take a look at Eric Berry with creating turnovers in mind
We know that Coach Mike Shanahan and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett believe the Redskins must create more turnovers. The emphasis on that area is among the reasons the Redskins are expected to shift from a base 4-3 front to a hybrid 3-4 scheme.
Although the Redskins again had a top-10 defensive unit (they ranked 10th in yards per game) last season, they had only 17 turnovers with 11 interceptions and six fumble recoveries. In terms of turnover differential, the Redskins ranked only 28th in the league at minus-11.
The Cleveland Browns, St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders and Detroit Lions were the only teams that had worse differentials.
And the turnover game also could prompt the team to draft All-American free safety Eric Berry, who in three seasons at Tennessee had 14 interceptions. Berry - honored as the nation's outstanding defensive back last season as the winner of the Jim Thorpe Award - wasn't just a playmaker in terms of having a high interception total - he was at his best after getting the ball.
Berry had 494 return yards and scored three touchdowns. As a junior, he had seven picks for 265 yards and two touchdowns. That's why he has been compared with Baltimore Ravens future Hall of Famer Ed Reed, who arguably is as good as anyone who ever played the position.
In their mock drafts, some talent evaluators have linked Berry with the Kansas City Chiefs at No. 5 overall. The Redskins currently hold the fourth pick. In the 2007 draft, Washington took LaRon Landry sixth overall.
With Sean Taylor at free safety and Landry at strong, the Redskins envisioned having the league's top safety tandem for a decade. After the slaying of Taylor during the 2007 season, Landry eventually moved to free safety, the position he has played the last two seasons.
Landry has not developed as quickly as some in the organization expected. He struggled at times in coverage last season, especially against double moves. In Washington's 33-30 overtime loss to the New Orleans Saints in Week 13, the Saints specifically targeted Landry with double moves.
He was burned for 40- and 53-yard touchdown passes - the latter tied the score at 30-30 with 1 minute, 19 seconds left in regulation. Some Redskins observers believe Landry is better suited to play strong, the position for which he was drafted. But Landry also struggled at times playing in the box, team sources said.
We're hearing Shanahan wants to draft and "raise" a quarterback. If the Redskins fail to maneuver into position to select former Oklahoma star Sam Bradford, expected to be the first overall pick, former Notre Dame standout Jimmy Clausen figures to be available at No. 4. If the Redskins, however, decide to address their defensive backfield, they could do much worse than Berry.
Elsewhere in the NFL ...
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March 30, 2010; 3:30 PM ET
Categories: 3-4 defense , Jason Reid , Jim Haslett , Mike Shanahan
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