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2017 Redskins In Richmond: Defensive Line


With training camp set to begin next month, previews the current state of the Redskins' roster, continuing today with the team's defensive linemen.

The Washington Redskins will head to training camp this year with quite a few new faces on the defensive line, highlighted by first-round pick Jonathan Allen along with veteran position coach Jim Tomsula.




-Chris Baker (Free Agent Signed By Buccaneers)

-Ricky Jean Francois (Free Agent Signed By Packers)
-Cullen Jenkins (Free Agent)

-Jonathan Allen
-Stacy McGee
-Terrell McClain

CURRENT STATE OF THE UNIT:With a focus on revamping the defensive side of the football, perhaps no position group on the entire roster experienced more change this offseason than the defensive line.

After deciding to not retain defensive line coach Robb Akey, the Redskins made a splash hire by bringing in Jim Tomsula to work under defensive coordinator Greg Manusky.

The two worked together for four seasons (2007-10) with the San Francisco 49ers.

"Jimmy is a very good teacher on men," Maunsky said this offseason of Tomsula. "He can teach men how to do things with the ability that they have. There are some coaches out there that can teach but, we don't teach what to do. We teach why. That's the most important. I think Jimmy does that as best as anybody in the National Football League."

Across his eight seasons working with San Francisco's defensive linemen, the 49ers ranked fourth in the league in rushing yards allowed per game (98.4) and second in rushing average (3.72).

San Francisco's defense also ranked third in the NFL in points per game allowed (19.4) and fourth in yards per game allowed (320.9) during that stretch.

Along with the addition of Tomsula, the Redskins brought in two veteran defensive linemen in free agency in Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain.

In four seasons with the Raiders, McGee, 27, recorded 63 tackles with three sacks and two fumbles forced. McClain, meanwhile, is coming off the best year of his career, as the South Florida product tallied career highs in tackles (40), sacks (2.5) and fumbles forced (two).

Washington also signed former first-round pick Phil Taylor to a Reserve/Future contract in January.

Taylor was named to Pro Football Writers Associations' All-Rookie Team in 2011, as he recorded 59 tackles with four sacks and a forced fumble, but injuries have taken away his last two seasons.

Then in the NFL Draft, the Redskins got one of the most talented players in the entire class in Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen.

Considered a top-five talent and even was as high as the No. 2-overall pick in some mock draft, the Redskins selected Allen at No. 17.

During his senior season, Allen collected 69 tackles along with 15 quarterback hits, 10.5 sacks and three fumble recoveries.

Allen was named the Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner, the Chuck Bednarik Award winner and the Ted Hendricks Award winner.


With the 152nd pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins selected defensive tackle Matt Ioannidis of Temple. Take a look at his collegiate career in photos.

With significant turnover, the Redskins will have to use training camp and the preseason schedule to determine a new defensive line rotation.

While Tomsula said during offseason workouts that he doesn't much care for depth charts on paper, any defensive lineman that is active on game days will play.

One of the questions up front with the group will be who plays nose tackle – when the Redskins are in their base package – and Washington has a few options including Taylor and Mbu.

As for Allen, the Redskins slowly brought him along during his first professional offseason workouts, mixing him in with both the first- and second-team defensive units.

"Jonathan is everything we thought he was," Tomsula said. "Coming in, there is a big curve here and I'm not going to throw him to the wolves. …You know, everybody wants to see him walk in and sit in that spot and go. We're not going to do that. We're going to let him learn and understand what we're doing and then go after."

Training camp will also provide extended looks at how much second-year defensive linemen Matt Ioannidis and Anthony Lanier have grown during the offeason.

For Lanier in particular, he's noticeably bigger and has packed on 20 pounds in recent months.

"When I met him in February he was a 271 pounds and not very strong," Tomsula said. "I mean, the other day I saw him at 291 pounds and saw him squatting 600 pounds. So that's what I see with Anthony Lanier. Obviously a big, long, really good athletic guy."


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