It has been quite a few years since the Washington Redskins boasted one of the better defenses in the NFL. The have finished in the bottom half of the overall rankings five straight seasons. In three of those campaigns (2012, 2015 and ’16), the franchise permitted the fifth-most yards in the league. In each of the last five seasons, the ‘Skins have allowed at least 40 offensive touchdowns. Over the past two years combined, Washington has surrendered a not-so-impressive 23.8 points per contest. Hence, the front office has been very proactive this offseason in terms of securing some help.

More help for the front seven

The club re-upped with veteran nose tackle Ziggy Hood and he’ll now be flanked by newcomers Terrell McClain (Dallas Cowboys) and Stacy McGee (Oakland Raiders). The secondary added a physical component in strong safety D.J. Swearinger via the Arizona Cardinals. But one of this unit’s biggest areas of concern was inside linebacker. And it’s an issue that team president Bruce Allen may have rectified with the club’s latest move. The Washington Redskins have added versatile linebacker Zach Brown to the mix. A one-time second-round pick of the Tennessee Titans, his playmaking skills were evident early in his career.

Along with totaling 90-plus tackles in each of this first two seasons, the former University of North Carolina standout racked up 9.5 sacks, seven takeaways (4 interceptions, 3 fumble recoveries) and 10 forced fumbles.

But in Week 1 of the 2014 season, Brown was lost for the rest of the year following a pectoral injury. He bounced back the following year and played 16 games but made only five starts. Late in free agency last offseason, he joined the Buffalo Bills.

How much better?

Brown wound up leading Buffalo in total tackles in 2016.

But this is a club that has moved on from Rex Ryan. Former Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott is now the new head coach. The five-year linebacker shopped his services around the league and wound up choosing the Washington Redskins courtesy of a one-year deal. And while both the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders could certainly have used Brown, his ability to play both inside and outside and in a 3-4 scheme is a major plus for the ‘Skins.

Not only can he push both Will Compton and Mason Foster, he could also spell both Ryan Kerrigan and/or Preston Smith on occasion. That versatility makes him very appealing to defensive coordinator Greg Manusky and the team in general. And Brown’s presence is a major plus for a team screaming for help on this side of the football.

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