It’s no surprise that Washington is once again dealing with injuries and this week they could be missing a key piece in their rotation at outside linebacker. Second year pass rusher Cassanova McKinzy is currently dealing with a hip injury and his availability is up in the air. Although McKinzy hasn’t officially been ruled out for the Monday Night Football matchup with Chicago, the Redskins wasted no time by signing free agent DE/OLB Noah Spence.
The former 2016, 39th overall selection of Tampa Bay, had a promising rookie season with 5.5 sacks playing in all 16 games. Unfortunately, the last two years in Tampa were injury riddled and Spence only appeared in 18 combined games, registering 1 sack during that span.
After only three seasons, the Bucs decided to move on from Spence. The new Tampa Bay coaching staff felt he was no longer a scheme fit, and most importantly, couldn’t stay on the field. Rumored attitude and performance issues could have also contributed to the timely release of the former 2nd rounder.
Tale of the Tape
As previously mentioned, the former Bucs pass rusher struggled with injuries over the last two seasons, but his 2016 film shows an aggressive pass rusher who displays impressive burst off the line with the ability to effectively convert speed to power. Although Spence only checks in 6’2” 251 lb. he utilizes an effective bull rush. In no way is the former Bucs pass rusher a finished product, but the upside is there.
On the flipside, Spence needs to work on his bend and counter moves. Spence has the ability & talent to grow and change of scenery could be the key to resurrecting his career.
What Can We Expect?
The Redskins’ pass rush has been anything but spectacular thus far, registering only 2 sacks as a team through two games. One of those sacks belongs to second year, outside linebacker, Cassanova McKinzy who could miss the Monday Night Football matchup with Chicago. Mckinzy’s injury led to the signing of Spence, but that doesn’t mean that the third-year pass rusher won’t see meaningful snaps.
The Redskins’ pass rush has been a non-factor thus far. Rookie, Montez Sweat has struggled through two games and although veteran Ryan Kerrigan has one of the teams’ two sacks, his impact has been minimal. As for Ryan Anderson, the former second rounder is increasingly looking like another failed second round selection by Washington.
It’s no wonder Spence’s camp was intrigued by the opportunity to play for Washington, with the chance to get meaningful snaps, particularly on 3rd downs. Many believe that Spence will have more success as a 3-4 outside linebacker and many were surprised that he wasn’t retained by Tampa Bay after their switch to the 3-4 this year.
Monday Night’s matchup versus Chicago presents a great opportunity for Spence to shine. The Bear’s offense is a work in progress and relies heavily on zone reads, RPO concepts and screens that utilize quarterback Mitch Trubisky’s athleticism. Spence has the ability to make plays in open space and could be productive versus Chicago’s sub-par offensive line. Washington’s pass rush needs a boost and Spence could be the spark that the Redskins desperately need to get over the hump.
By Adam Aniba
Follow on Twitter @TheBandGreport
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