Let me start off by wishing our current and former United States servicemen & women a Happy Veterans Day! We owe you our freedom🇺🇸!
Welcome back to the B&G Report, hope you enjoyed the “VictoryMonday Post Game Wrap Up“! This Sunday the Redskins return to FedEx Field to face another tough opponent in the Minnesota Vikings. The “Pre-Game Primer” will follow shortly, but it’s “Rookie Spotlight” time once again! This week the B&G Report will shine the spotlight on rookie Outside Linebacker Ryan Anderson and what to expect from him this year. Let’s do this!
The Washington Redskins selected Alabama Outside Linebacker Ryan Anderson inRound 2 #49th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. This was an interesting draft to say the least. With Anderson’s teammate DE John Allen unexpectedly falling to the Redskins in round 1, this seemed like the start of a decent draft. The Bama Combo seemed like an ideal fit for Greg Manusky’s 3-4 defensive scheme. It was a huge blow to the defense when Allen went to IR, but there remains a chance he could return in December. Allen was starting to shine and looked to be a defensive rookie of the year candidate. The Redskins also dealt with Outside Linebacker Trent Murphy serving a 4 game suspension for PED’s, but he tore his ACL before the season started. The selection of Anderson seemed like a shrewd move at the time. Although Anderson had a 3rd/4th round draft grade due to his 4.73 forty time, the Redskins seem to have a plan for the former Five Star Recruit. Anderson might never be a Pro Bowler, but he has a lot of former Redskin Lorenzo Alexander in him. His recent time at goal the line fullback, made it clear he’s no one trick pony!
Mid Season Contribution
Anderson has been more of a mainstay in the linebacking rotation as of late. Word is Skins coaches love his “Alpha Male Mentality” and his hustle. Ryan Kerrigan & Preston Smith are the current bookend starters at OLB, but Anderson has shown his value in the run game. He uses leverage & brute strength to set the edge and is getting better every week! He just needs more snaps and to step up on Special Teams. Although Anderson isn’t a speedster, he’s extremely strong. His lack of size (6’2 253lbs) was the main issue many draft experts and Skins fans had with his selection. Skins fans need to temper their expectations for the 2nd round OLB, at least for now. Anderson had steady progress every year while playing for Alabama, he eventually became a starter his senior year. His strength at Bama was getting into the opposing teams backfield and setting the edge, not playing in coverage. Anderson finished his senior year with 18.5 tackles for a loss with 8.5 sacks. Somethink Anderson is just a product of Bama’s uber talented & aggressive system.
Kerrigan & Smith continue to provide solid contributions to this defense, so having Anderson has been a luxury and could pay dividends down the line. As for pass rushing OLB Junior Galette, he’s seen his snap count increase with many teams staying in passing formations most of the game. The increase in playing time for Junior Gallete will dictate Anderson’s snap count. Gallete has come on strong as of late and is primarily used in nickel & pass formations. Anderson’s current value is best used in the run game, but that could change. The Skins have been good at stopping the run thus far, but they need to get better against teams who utilize the run game as the focus of their offense.
As previously mentioned, Anderson was used as a goal line full back. This was due to TE/FB Niles Paul being injured. I wouldn’t get used to seeing the Bama product make position switches often, but he’ll be needed with Paul still in the concussion protocol. I do envision Anderson seeing more action on passing downs though, as well as making more impactful plays on defense in the future. A defensive package for Anderson featured as the middle linebacker, needs to be a consideration. This Skins team ranks towards the bottom of the league in fumbles forced & recovered. Alabama’s Nick Sabin routinely used Anderson at ILB on 3rd down and just let him rush the passer. Anderson has great instincts and has a knack for stripping the ball from ball carriers, rather than going for the knockout blow. Preston Smith has been active, but has been nursing a nagging hamstring injury. Subbing in Anderson more often seems like a no brainer, based on his strength and tackling ability. I just love this guy’s attitude and toughness, which epitomizes Manusky’s vision. Anderson is a pure wrap up tackler, who doesn’t miss tackles often and has been steady in his time with the Redskins. Coach Greg Manusky has put his skill players in great position all year, now it’s time to take the cuffs off Anderson and just let him wreak havoc!
Stayed tuned for the next installment of The B&G Report Vikings Pre-Game Primer!