PHOENIX -- They wanted more depth, something they felt hurt the defense a year ago. That’s what Redskins coach Jay Gruden said is an area he hopes is much different in 2015.
“It’s our overall depth, the competitive nature they have,” Gruden said in a quick interview Monday at the owners meetings. “Chris Culliver’s competitive nature will add an extra element to our defense. Anytime you add quality people like that it adds to your depth and only makes you better.”
Last season, the Redskins lost several defensive starters for long stretches en route to a 4-12 season: nose tackle Barry Cofield (eight games), linebacker Brian Orakpo (nine games), corner DeAngelo Hall (13 games), safety Brandon Meriweather (six games), corner Tracy Porter (13 games), among others.
“We needed to get more depth,” Gruden said. “Injuries hurt us last year and they really challenged our depth and it’s something we had to go back to the drawing board and add some pieces to the puzzle to add to our depth. When you add quality defensive linemen like Paea and Knighton it adds to your depth. A good corner, good safety. It helps you out. That’s what killed us last year a little bit was the injuries and lack of depth. We expect the new guys to add an extra element of depth and attitude.”
They also know they have more work to do. Gruden, before ducking into a meeting, couldn’t say specifically what more they’d like to add. But he did say they need more. The Redskins still need to find a starting free safety and could look for more help along the offensive line and depth at running back.
“You’re never done,” Gruden said. “You’re always on the lookout for players that can help your team. The guys coming in for the offseason training program, we’ll see how they are mentally and how in shape they are physically. You can always add pieces that way. But now we’re really focusing on the draft. That’s the big thing and then the free agents after the draft. We’ve got a lot of work to do still, but we feel good about the progress we’ve made.”