Do the Redskins have the best set of 3-4 linebackers in the NFC?


In my opinion, yes.

Redskins Ryan Kerrigan London Fletcher Rocky McIntosh Brian Orakpo

It all starts in the middle with London Fletcher.  I’ve gushed about Fletcher since I launched this blog about 5 months ago, and my thoughts on him can be found here.  He’s still an outstanding player that has shown no signs of slowing down, even at the age of 36.  The difference between he and Ray Lewis, in my opinion, is marginal.  Then of course there’s Brian Orakpo, who went to the Pro Bowl in each of his first two seasons in the pros, notching 19.5 sacks, and is still getting better.  This offseason, the Skins drafted Ryan Kerrigan, who very much looks like the real deal as a bona fida play-making up-and-coming star linebacker.  And finally, really the only player in the group that I wouldn’t consider a “great” NFL starting MLB, would be Rocky McIntosh, although I’d probably at least consider him “above average.”  Two games into the 2011 season, McIntosh has 15 tackles and a sack, despite the Redskins leading the league in time of possession.

Impressively, none of the Skins LBs come off the field on defense.  Ever.  Not in nickle, not in dime, not in goal line.  They play every down.

There actually aren’t that many 3-4 defenses in the NFC.  Some have an elite player here or there (think DeMarcus Ware, Patrick Willis, Clay Matthews, etc.), but none have the across-the-board talent that the Redskins do.  In no particular order:

Packers Clay Matthews AJ Hawk Desmond Bishop Erik Walden
Cowboys Anthony Spencer Sean Lee Keith Brooking DeMarcus Ware
49ers Ahmad Brooks Navorro Bowman Patrick Willis Parys Haralson
Cardinals Clark Haggans Daryl Washington Stewart Bradley Joey Porter

While we’re at it, let’s look at the rest of the league.  I think it’s pretty safe to say the Steelers have the best set of 3-4 linebackers in the league, and after that, at least in the AFC, the Ravens, Texans, Jets and Dolphins all have very good ones:

Steelers LaMarr Woodley James Farrior Lawrence Timmons James Harrison
Ravens Jarrett Johnson Ray Lewis Jameel McClain Terrell Suggs
Texans Connor Barwin Brian Cushing DeMeco Ryans Mario Williams
Jets Bryan Thomas Bart Scott David Harris Calvin Pace
Dolphins Koa Misi Kevin Burnett Karlos Dansby Cameron Wake
Bills Chris Kelsay Andra Davis Nick Barnett Shawne Merriman
Chiefs Justin Houston Jovan Belcher Derrick Johnson Tamba Hali
Patriots Dane Fletcher Jerod Mayo Brandon Spikes Rob Ninkovich
Chargers Shaun Phillips Takeo Spikes Donald Butler Travis LaBoy

Where would you rank the Skins?  I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say the Skins have the 2nd best set of 3-4 linebackers in the NFL.


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  3. Fear The Star says:


    Brian Orakpo is no DeMarcus Ware. Not even close. Did #98 realize there was a football game last night? His stats were less than impressive. A pathetic 0 tackles and 1 assist. Orakpo’s tackle total for the year? A whopping 5. It’s not like he’s getting any pressure on the QB either. Dude only has 1 sack through 3 games. Ware has a league-leading 5. Brian Orakpo shouldn’t be mentioned in the same sentence as DeMarcus Ware.

    And yes Jimmy, I’ll take the up-and-coming Sean Lee over the deteriorating London Fletcher any day. Do your homework. Lee is #2 in the league in tackles with 31. Fletcher is #39 in the league with only 21. Lee has 2 picks. Fletcher only has 1. Lee has 2 fumble recoveries. Fletcher has none.

    At least the Redskins won the game, right? Oh wait…

  4. Skinsaholic says:


  5. Brendan says:

    But wait, I thought the Redskins weren’t even as good as the Eagles second team? Aren’t we just the door-mat of the NFCe, that no one will take seriously?

    How quickly one can change their mind.

    1. Haha, wow, that post really got under your skin, huh? All I did was list them side by side. I even said the Skins’ 1s were better. And now I call your LBs the 2nd best set of 3-4 LBs in the game, and I get crap? Geeeeez… can’t win, haha.

  6. KD says:

    Totally and completely wrong.


    Demarcus Ware >> Orakpo
    Sean Lee > Fletcher
    Spencer = Kerrigan
    Brooking/James >> McIntosh

    1. Wow, your delusion is off the charts if you think Lee, at this point in his career, is anything even remotely close to London Fletcher. I hope you’re kidding on that one. Give me Kerrigan over Spencer any day, and Brooking/James are weaknesses at this point, whereas McIntosh is still a nice player.

      Ware is of course one of the top 10 players in the league, but Redskins have the Cowboys at 3 of the 4, handily.

      1. KD says:

        What say you now, Jimmy?
        After the head to head matchup.

        Delusional. Yup. Sure am.

    2. smutsboy says:

      Sean Lee > Fletcher


      Oh man, that’s the funniest sh-t I’ve read today.

      1. KD says:

        Anything else I can educate you on?

  7. Imp says:

    Pfft. Casey Matthews > Redskins linebackers.

    1. Number5 says:

      Steriods>Clay Matthews > Redskins LB’s

    2. Number5 says:

      Oh wait. Ooops

  8. Number5 says:

    Packers are a close second or tied for 1st. That being said, the Redskins have a great 3-4 LB crew and I’d take the Redskins core over Texans, Ravens, and Jets.

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