I thought these guys were going to a be lot better.
I thought this defense turned the corner over the last five games of 2010.
Three games into 2011 it looks like I was wrong. These guys still haven't turned the corner and they aren't playing as cohesively as their brothers on offensive side of the ball.
Washington ranks 107th in scoring defense and 108th in total defense which is totally unacceptable. So whose fault is it? If you ask Steve Kelly, the majority of posters on Dawgman, and perhaps even the posters here at the Dawg Pound the culprit is defensive coordinator Nick Holt.
I'm not buying into that yet and neither is Steve Sarkisian. I think the defense has considerable upside and things are going to start turning around this week.
Defensive Tackle - Alameda Ta'amu hasn't been able to match his performance from last season. A cast on his hand has hampered him. Semisi Tokolahi played for the first time against Nebraska. His return to the lineup could help down the line but I don't see him threatening for significant playing time until after the byeweek. Much was expected out of Everrette Thompson but he seems to just disappear out there.
Depth: Expect Sione Potoae, Lawrence Lagafuiana, and Danny Shelton to get more playing time in coming weeks to keep the starters fresh.
Looking Forward: These guys really need to start capturing the magic they had at the end of last season. To say these guys have been disappointing is an understatement. You have to think that there will be plenty of upside with these guys.
Defense End - Haouli Jamora is an all conference type of talent with a motor that never stops running. He is having a good season and is probably the most active guy on the entire line. Talia Chrichton isn't having much of an impact on the other side. Everrette Thompson hasn't been spectacular inside or out. Andrew Hudson has seen increased playing time over the last couple of weeks.
Depth : Josh Shirley has seen action in all three games and has made a couple of tackles. He hasn't had much of an impact as a pass rusher but that will change over time. The coaches say he has been lighting it up at practice again. Andrew Hudson has looked good and it seems he is being groomed to be a starter.
Looking Forward : Jamora will continue to play well but the key is finding some success on the opposite side.
Linebacker - Cort Dennison has turned in an all conference performance at middle line backer this season. He plays hard every down and he sacrifices his body on every play. John Timu and Princeton Fuimaono have improved but I am not the only one who is wondering this week if Grant Gilliliand and Thomas Tutogi should be playing with the one's.
Depth: The coaches have been giving Kearse some opportunities here and there. Tucker was moved to fullback and Nick Holt Jr is now back at linebacker.
Looking forward: Folks don't realize that replacing a guy like Mason Foster isn't easy. These guys are talented and will continue to improve. Keeping Cort healthy is key.
Cornerbacks - Desmond Trufant has evolved into a better player this season. Quinton Richardson is coming off a terrible game against Nebraska. An ankle injury that happened in the pre season has contributed to his slow start. "Q" has also played a little nickel when they wanted to have Gregory Ducre on the field at the same time as him.
Depth: Ducre and Gobern represent the only depth that has played this season.
Looking Forward: Richardson has the ability to play a lot better and I think he will bounce back strong. Overall depth and talent is still a serious problem at CB.
Safety - Safety is perhaps the deepest position on the Washington roster. Justin Glenn had the best game any safety at Washington has had this year when he picked up 15 tackles against Nebraska. He started in place of Nate Fellner who was out with an injury. Glenn is more of a role player than a starter and is solid in the nickel. Sean Parker leads the team with 26 tackles on the season. No word yet on when Fellner will be back. He was running stairs on Monday.
Depth : Sample has been slowed by a shoulder injury. Taz Stevenson is dinged right now.
Looking Forward: Justin Glenn and Nate Fellner are going to be 1-A and 1-B at free safety for the rest of the year. Sean Parker continues to improve at strong safety. Plenty of quality depth behind these guys.