Pete Hailey tells Junkies why Commanders defense 'might just be a mess again'


NBC Sports Washington’s Pete Hailey is not feeling much confidence about the Commanders’ defensive potential this season.

Citing an inability to upgrade during the offseason, Hailey joined The Spots Junkies on Monday and illustrated all of the areas that lead him to believe Washington is headed for another tough year on defense.

“I am excited about the offense moreso than I was before, and I’m petrified with the defense moreso than I was before,” Hailey said.

Hailey says the linebacker group should be Commanders fans’ biggest source of concern this season.

“A group they haven’t touched yet and Ron [Rivera] said they still might add a veteran linebacker, but he’s been saying that for months,” Hailey said. “They refuse to even try to play three linebackers. Jamin Davis is not often the first or second linebacker. David Mayo is still very much a part of this rotation, which is devastating to me because you want Jamin Davis to take that next step forward, and so far, the indications are that he hasn’t.

“They’re trying to make it work by having five down linemen or three safeties instead of three traditional linebackers, and last year, when they were on their four-game winning streak, they appeared to be at their best…but linebacker still seems to be as big an issue at it was last year, and they’re just standing pat.”

Washington allowed the fourth most receiving yards in the league last season, and if anyone in the secondary goes down, Hailey worries that it will be a long season.

“The secondary, the starters I believe them, but the guys behind them…are really, really thin,” Hailey said. “I think this defense might just be a mess again.”