Should the Redskins give Tanard Jackson another chance when cleared by the NFL? With problems at safety, how about adding free agent Tom Zbikowski? Discuss at the DC Pro Reddit Page!
The margin of error for the Redskins has been reduced to practically zero. Injuries, suspensions, poor play in all three phases,so where do we start? While a case could be made for any position group on the field, you have to begin somewhere, right? I believe the most glaring area of weakness, which also could be the easiest and quickest ro repair, is the secondary, namely the safety positions.
Rewind to the 2008 season, safety Sean Taylor was a 24 year old safety, coming off a pair of Pro Bowl seasons and one of the most popular, exiting players in the NFL. Excited about the game breaking ability of their young safety, the team had taken another safety, Laron Landry, with the sixth overall pick out of LSU in the 2007 NFL draft.
The ‘Skins appeared set for a decade with a pair of big, fast, hard hitting defensive backs to enforce that entire side of the ball. The tandem never had the chance to really show us, show themselves, what could have been the most dominant duo at their position in the history of the game. Of course tragedy struck, Taylor not only taken away from the game, but lost his life, shot while confronting burglars in his South Florida home. As for Landry, he remained with the team until 2011, but never really reached his potential. Who knows just how negatively the senseless murder impacted his game, his career permanently affected by Taylor’s death.
The Redskins have never really recovered from the untimely death of one of the most unique talents in the game. To this day, Washington continues to grasp and struggle, making every effort to fill the void. Fast forward to 2013, the Redskins brain trust attempted to fix what had been an Achilles Heel during an otherwise magical 2012 season, selecting a pair of safeties in the NFL draft. Jinxed from the start, fourth round pick Phillip Thomas was lost for the season, before it even started with a foot injury. Sixth round pick Bacarri Rambo was practically handed a starting job, but it didn’t last long and he has been banished to special teams. 2012 free agent Brandon Meriweather missed virtually the entire 2012 season, suffering multiple injuries.
Where does the team go from here? There is Tanard Jackson, as 2012 free agency brought not only Meriweather, but another safety, this one from the Tampa Bay Bucaneers. While Meriweather played less than a game last season, Jackson played even less, in fact none at all. In August ’12, Jackson was suspended by the league indefinitely, for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Coaches say Jackson will be welcomed back when reinstated, but despite being eligible for a return since early September, no specific clearance has come down from the league.
It is abundantly clear that changes, additions, something is necessary to facilitate positive change. One possibility is safety Tom Zbikowski. The 28 year old safety was cleared today, after completing a four game suspension for violating the performing enhancing drug policy. Zbikowski was a two time All-American at Notre Dame and is also an accomplished boxer, unbeaten until he was suspended for testing positive for marijuana. Those tests were later deemed false and he was cleared. Zbikowski was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the third round of the 2008 draft, where he spent four seasons. Zbikowski spent a season with Indianapolis and some time in his native Chicago, but is now a free agent.
The Redskins should give Zbikowski a tryout. Jackson should also be given a legit opportunity once he is cleaved by the league. Both players are 28 years old in the prime of their careers. Both Zbikowski and Jackson have some similarities and parallels to those of Taylor and Landry. Everyone deserves a second chance, although some are never afforded the opportunity.
Tom Blaz is a co-owner of the DC Sports Report and The Recruiting Eagle, which focuses on Athletics at Auburn University. You may follow Tom on twitter at #RecruitingEagle