Air Quality Concerns Leave NFL Considering Alternate Sites For Raiders Game

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Trenches that crumble t the first sign of a decent push is the main reason Washington has struggled stopping the run the last two years. However, not having a formidable thumper at middle linebacker is a close second.

Neither Mason Foster nor Will Compton fit the latter description, and it showed in 2016. The Redskins ranked 24th against the run last season, allowing 119.8 yards per game, according to the league's official website. The same source also revealed how Washington surrendered 12 runs of 20 yards or more.

It's the last statistic that serves as the biggest indictment of Washington's weakness at inside linebacker. Compton and Foster can cry the blues about runners getting to the second level too easily thanks to a weak line, but that many long runs speaks of too many missed tackles by the linebackers.

Considering this problem also hamstrung the team in 2015, when the Redskins ranked seventh-worst against the run, it's more than a little surprising that inside linebacker was ignored at the start of free agency.

Surprise turns into shock when you consider how many quality free agents at the position were available on the market. Yet, for reasons beyond understanding, the Redskins opted not to make moves for tackling machines such as Dont'a Hightower or Lawrence Timmons.

Fortunately for Allen and Co., the time and resources exist for them to make amends. Those resources include Buffalo Bills linebacker Zach Brown and greybeard hitter Daryl Smith.

If the Redskins aren't enthralled by the remaining options in free agency, this year's draft class is rich in middle linebackers. The crop is headed by Alabama's Reuben Foster, a supremely talented player whose controversial dismissal from the combine could see him fall to Washington at the 17th overall pick.

In fact, Robert Klemko of The MMQB has detailed how one team with a top-15 pick has been put off Foster due to a variety of concerns, including his maturity.

If Washington could be satisfied by Foster's potential, he would be a steal at 17. If not, Florida's Jarrad Davis, LSU's Kendell Beckwith and Vanderbilt's Zach Cunningham would each offer an instant upgrade at a position that must be stronger this season.

Washington's additions along the D-line will count for nothing without improved play at inside linebacker.

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