Landon Collins enters his sixth season in the NFL in 2020 and his second with the Washington Redskins.
Collins, who signed a six-year, $84 million-dollar contract with Washington last offseason, played in 15 games for the Redskins in 2019.
While 2019 was a disappointing season for the Redskins, Collins showed glimpses of his playmaking ability, forcing two fumbles and finishing with one sack. Unfortunately for Collins, he lacked a consistent free safety paired with inconsistent cornerback play and the secondary was an overall mess.
The Redskins haven’t done a lot at cornerback this offseason. Yes, Kendall Fuller signed and he is a big addition. But Washington traded its top corner from a year ago — Quinton Dunbar — after he took his contract demands public. Washington also finally released Josh Norman.
At free safety, the Redskins are taking a gamble on former Maryland Terrapin, Sean Davis. Davis,
Ultimately, the hope is the entire group is improved because of better coaching.
Inside the Numbers:
After flirting with the idea of wearing the famed No. 21 jersey, Collins ultimately settled on No. 20. A fan of Sean Taylor, owner Daniel Snyder gifted Collins a signed Taylor jersey from his personal collection after he signed.
Collins was solid in his first year with Washington. He finished the season with 117 total tackles. It was the second-highest number of his career. His career high of 125 tackles was set back in 2016 with the Giants.
A former unanimous All-American at Alabama, Collins was one of the top defensive rookies back in 2015. He went on to become a first-team All-Pro member in 2016. The Redskins have yet to have one player become an All-Pro under Snyder.
Collins played in three Pro Bowls from 2016-18.
Collins had an overall grade of 69.3 in 2019 from Pro Football Focus. His grade in run defense was a respectable 77.3, but his grade in coverage was a 60.6.
His grade in run defense was ranked No. 15 out of 86 safeties graded. While his coverage was No. 64 out of 84 safeties graded.
The knock on Collins before he came to Washington was that he was more of a box safety. To be fair, Collins wasn’t bad in pass coverage last season. He had some issues, but he also wasn’t always put in the best position.
Per Over the Cap, Collins has the third-highest cap hit on Washington’s roster in 2020 with $14.2 million, behind Alex Smith and Brandon Scherff.
Collins had some big moments last year, especially when he was playing near the line of scrimmage.
Collins proved to be one of Washington’s few brights in 2019.
What They’re Saying:
In his first meeting with new defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, Collins was blown away when Del Rio compared him to one of the all-time greats, per Peter Hailey of NBC Sports Washington.
"When I first walked into his office, he said, 'Bro, I love your mentality, you remind me so much of Ray Lewis, with the mentality of being a leader, making plays, doing what we need to do and having these guys going the right direction.'"
Del Rio even told Collins the tweaks he’d need to make and that impressed Collins.
“And that's what I love about him,” Collins said. “He was straightforward with me. Don't beat around the bush. My best seasons came when I heard that from my coaches."
The safety is also excited about playing for his new head coach, Ron Rivera, per Hailey.
"He's there for his players," Collins stated. "A lot of guys need that because loyalty and trust is a big thing for a lot of us. You get that from your guys, they'll go through a wall for you. That's big-time."
Mike Clay’s 2020 Projections:
ESPN’s Mike Clay is projecting Collins to play a team-high 979 defensive snaps in 2020 and leading the team with 111 tackles. Clay also projects Collins to get back into the interception column in the new season.
Collins is one of several players who will benefit significantly from the coaching changes this offseason.
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Bryan Manning has covered the NFL, MLB, NBA, college football and college basketball for almost 10 years for various outlets such as Bleacher Report, SB Nation, FanSided, USA Today SMG, and others. Bryan has covered the Washington Redskins for different outlets and currently co-hosts a podcast on the Virginia Tech Hokies for SB Nation. For his day job, Bryan works in engineering for a major communications company.