Jason Babin: Why the Washington Redskins Should Take a Chance on Ex-Eagle

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistNovember 27, 2012

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 18: Quarterback Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins stiff arms defensive end Jason Babin #93 of the Philadelphia Eagles in the second quarter at FedEx Field on November 18, 2012 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Washington Redskins should take a chance on ex-Philadelphia Eagle Jason Babin. The recently released defensive end would answer a big need, namely the need for more pass rush.

Before anyone declares "he's a 4-3 player," let's be clear: Babin's use would be as a nickel pass-rusher. In other words, he would only appear in packages where the Redskins use a four-man line.

The Redskins have only 20 sacks this season. That puts them a lowly 26th in the league in that particular category.

Outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan leads the defense with 6.5 sacks. However, Kerrigan is more of an all-rounder, rather than a pressure specialist who is going to scare an offense.

According to teamrankings.com, the Redskins are 29th in sack percentage. They are also 23rd in opponents passing yards per attempt.

That last stat is the key. It reveals opposing quarterbacks are being given too long in the pocket. That's directly contributed to the number of big plays surrendered by the Redskins through the air.

This won't be news to Redskins fans. Stats aside, it's plain to see that this defense has trouble getting to the passer.

The problem is most obvious on the edges, ever since the season-ending injury to Brian Orakpo. 

The likes of Kerrigan and Rob Jackson are often failing to win on the outside. Adding Babin would certainly solve this problem.

He is a constant threat off the edge thanks to a relentless style of play and a naturally quick takeoff. 

At 32, he would bring useful experience to a young team preparing for a playoff push. His age would also justify a reduced workload from his days in Philadelphia.

Many teams have made great use of nickel pass-rushers over the years. In the early eighties the San Francisco 49ers used the great Fred Dean in this way.

A decade later the Dallas Cowboys did the same thing with Jim Jeffcoat. The concept is not unfamiliar to the Redskins either.

In 1991, the year of the team's last Super Bowl triumph, Jumpy Geathers played the role. When the Redskins captured their last NFC East title in 1999, it was N.D. Kalu.

Third-down pass-rush specialists are invaluable weapons for a defense. A proven edge-rusher like Babin would increase the flexibility of coordinator Jim Haslett's nickel packages.

With Babin on the front, Haslett could move Kerrigan around the formation. Teams would also be sure to slide their protection to Babin. Haslett could use that attention to create better blitz lanes from the slot and through the middle.

Babin would also give the Redskins defense one player that opposing teams would fear.

NFL.com's Dan Hanzus reports that Babin's salary won't be prohibitive next season. That should appeal to the Redskins given their cap situation.

It's also not often that player with 53.5 career sacks becomes available during the season. This is an opportunity Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen ought to seriously consider.

Robert Griffin III and the offense are sure to put up points on anyone. So the Redskins only need a few more big plays from their defense.

Babin is the pass-rush threat this defense needs to produce those extra key stops and big plays.