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Redskins lowest-ranked defense not executing

After allowing 469 yards to Indianapolis on Sunday night, the Redskins solidified their standing as the NFL's last-ranked defense. Over the first six games, they have allowed an average of 420 yards per game - nearly 10 yards more than the 31st-ranked team, Houston. And that doesn't sit well with some prominent defensive players.

"It bothers me a lot," inside linebacker London Fletcher said. "I'm not used to being on defenses that are ranked last in the league. That doesn't sit very well with me."

Through six games, the Redskins have played the second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-ranked offenses in the league in Indianapolis, Dallas, Philadelphia and Houston, respectively. They are tied for fifth in the league in turnover margin (plus 5), and might have had more had they secured catchable interceptions against Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. But Fletcher said creating turnovers wouldn't be enough to settle the defense down.

"I want to have both turnovers and yards," Fletcher said. "I'm greedy. That's the mindset that I have and I think that's the mindset that we all need to have...

"Obviously, we've played some dynamic offenses to start the season off, played some dynamic quarterbacks. To be naïve and think that we're going to hold Peyton Manning and that offense to 200 yards? That's not realistic. But should they have 469 yards on us? No. That's not something we accept, either. We've got to go out and work at it. We can't week-in and week-out give teams 400-plus yards, 500 yards. That's just ridiculous."

Much has been made of the Redskins' shift from a 4-3 base defense to the 3-4 they're using now. That wasn't as big a factor against the Colts, because the Redskins mostly played their "dime" package, which features six defensive backs. "It was a one-game type of thing," outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said.

But there are still some bumps getting accustomed to defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and his system.

"One thing about this scheme is if somebody's out of place, it can set that particular play off balance," outside linebacker Andre Carter said. "That's why we always mention 'detail your week', 'know what you're doing', 'know where your assignment is' and things of that nature. It's still a process."

That process will continue in coming weeks against offenses that don't have a reputation for moving the ball as well. Indianapolis averages 409 yards per game, but this week's opponent, Chicago, averages just 285.2, 29th in the NFL. Detroit, where the Redskins travel Oct. 31, ranks 14th at 337.7 yards per game.

Fletcher's point of view: The Redskins just have to play better within the scheme, and the numbers will come.

"Our comfort level's pretty good," Fletcher said. "We know what we're doing. We know the scheme. We know what our responsibilities are within each defensive call. It's a matter of executing our stuff. We still got to go out and execute the stuff.

"If you've got a run gap, what's your run gap? If you've got a coverage responsibility, play that coverage responsibility -- and tackle. So I don't care what scheme you're playing, that's fundamental football. That's across the board from little league to professional level. Everybody has a run-gap responsibility. Everybody has a pass responsibility from a coverage standpoint."

By Barry Svrluga  | October 18, 2010; 2:27 PM ET
Categories:  3-4 defense  
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Next: Phillip Buchanon's best game yet

Comments

Redskins lowest-ranked defense not executing


Our defense has also faced every top quarterback in the league except TBrady, Big Ben, Flacco, and Rivers.

Posted by: MistaMoe | October 18, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse


looking at the world from the bottom of a well

Posted by: hessone | October 18, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Over the first six games, they have allowed an average of 420 yards per game.....

WOW

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | October 18, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Our secondary reminds me of the Wizard of Oz.

CR22-Is toto. You can expect him to catch the ball with those little paws.
KM41-Is the cowardly Lion because he's too afraid to tackle.
DH23-Is Dorothy beause he's usually way over in Oz instead of back in Kansas where the heck he belongs.
LL-Is the scarecrow because nobody that bites on that many double moves and pump fakes can possibly have a brain.
PB31-Is the tin man because he's old and starting to rust.

Posted by: PAskinsfan17 | October 18, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I just looked at nfl.com and they didn't have the play. I have it home, though. I was extremely surprised no one brought up that theory during the telecast...

That was the longest I ever saw CR22 hold onto a ball....I replayed that play at home too many times....3 Steps and fumble caused by ground....................

This wasn't an instance that involves the Calvin Johnson Rule, which was originally the Burt Emmenaeulle Rule (which never would've happened if we would have stopped Alstot from running 30 yards horizontally and 2 yards vertically the previous week or if the Turk brother (RIP) snapped the ball correctly)....

Posted by: 4thFloor | October 18, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Over the first six games, they have allowed an average of 420 yards per game.....

WOW

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | October 18, 2010 2:32 PM

...and with the teams the skins have faced this season...along with a rather anemic offense so far...3 and 3 is pretty remarkable.

Posted by: PlayAction | October 18, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Moe,

Flacco is not a top QB in the league by any measure. Zorn has worked his magic, Flacco has regressed this season.

Posted by: PortisPocketsStr8 | October 18, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

The only saving grace for this defense is that it's causing turnovers on occasion. I only recall one 3 and out, and Manning being hit once last night.

Posted by: TWISI | October 18, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I would be upset if the Redskins do not try to make this team better, at least with one position before the trade deadline. A big WR, a Center or Right Guard, DT, and corner all needs to be considered. Maybe even another RB. But they need to at least attempt to make this team better before the deadline.

Posted by: roccoskins | October 18, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

4thFloor:
"This wasn't an instance that involves the Calvin Johnson Rule..."

What distinguishes it from the Calvin Johnson Rule in your mind? It seems to me, his TD and CR22's INT were removed for the exact same reason... after catching the ball, they went to the turf and quickly let the ball go.

Posted by: Alan4 | October 18, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Who gives a rat's azz where our D ranks. We are 3-3 and have beaten 3 solid teams and were on the verge of winning 2 of the 3 losses to teams universally agreed as being solid as well.

The last half decade the 'Skins have had top 10 defenses. How'd that end up working out?

I like my team. I like the changes at the top. I like the schemes and I like the second half adjustments lately. I like that young PS players are making it and Shanny promotes from within.

This may or may not be a contending team now but they will be in every game, they'll bust you in the mouth and the right personnel will be in there over the next season and a half.

Color me pleased.

Posted by: No_Punt_Intended | October 18, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse


looking at the world from the bottom of a well

Posted by: hessone | October 18, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Mike Doughty reference? Was a big Soul Coughing fan back in the day...he has some good solo stuff too.

Posted by: WaitingGuilty | October 18, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't surprise me at all. We give up huge amounts of yards on the ground and in the air. But The defense has stepped up at the right times. With that being said if the offense could sustain some more drives and the d could hold on to interceptions we might be 4-1. Haslett hasn't helped with his one man front either. Looks like we are running a 1-10 defense at times instead of a 3-4

Posted by: RealOne1 | October 18, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Sadly, all we have to do to get Rogers to hold onto the ball is trade him. He'll catch EVERYTHING then. That said, I had expectations of 8-8 this year. It is both encouraging to see us win close games we would have lost last year and disappointing to see us lose close games but nobody could expect Shanny to get all his pieces in place in one off season. I look forward to BIG things next year!!! HTTR!

Posted by: vegasskinsfan | October 18, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Let's not forget the goal line stand against Greenbay. Yes they are allowing a lot of yardage, but the teams are not scoring a lot of points. Yardage doesn't mean win...just look at the Cowgirls.

The defense made the plays last night when it counted and put it in the hands of the offense to win or lose. The fourth down play was a head scratcher. All in all, I'm happy to be at 500 after the teams we have played. HAIL!

Posted by: rodskin | October 18, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

This wasn't an instance that involves the Calvin Johnson Rule...

Posted by: 4thFloor | October 18, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

--

No, but this was clearly an instance of the Carlos Rogers Rule. As in, "If the ball is in his hands, he must drop it."

The referees only conferred to get a better interpretation of the rule from the guys upstairs. And after consulting the official rule book, they concluded the Rogers Rule is as certain and uncompromising as the Law of Gravity.

Posted by: Vic1 | October 18, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

They have faced some good offenses, but they have been lit up. They couldn't stop St. Louis. They gave up 6.9 yards/play to Indy, significantly above Indy's average. They failed to get any pressure at all on Manning, except for the one Orakpo sack/strip. Would they have been better going to exotic blitzes and at least getting some hits on Manning? Maybe, maybe not. Two dropped INTs and a missed FG were killers, but Indy also gave up three fumbles, which is unusual. Face it, we came close, but we were lucky not to lose by three TDs.

Chicago is a matchup that should favor them. They have trouble protecting their QB and their skill players are average at best. Kind of the exact opposite of Indy.

Posted by: Iamhumongous | October 18, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Flacco is not a top QB in the league by any measure.


Flacco has an incredible arm.

He makes the best throws and does so effortlessly.

Brees is the most accurate all over the field.

In fact, the young'n Sam Bradford is another guy who spits out pretty spirals.

Tampa's Josh Freeman is ssomeone to watch, too.

Manning looks efficient, but Brady, to me, is the better thrower.

Roethlisberger can make great accurate throws on the run or with some dude trying to pull him down.

Rivers throws a great deep ball, but McNabb is the best deep ball thrower.

And now that he's changes his change, Mike Vick is another guy with a great arm.

MSanchez has a good deal of help and he tosses a pretty ball, too.

Point?: there are a lot of very good quarterbacks in the league right now.

A few years ago, folks whined that the quarterback play wasn't all that.

Now, just about every team has 3 solid ball catchers and a golden boy to throw them passes.

The NFL is indeed a passing league.

And everywhere you look ('cept Oak, Buff, Cleveland, Carolina), there are a lot of good passers.

Posted by: MistaMoe | October 18, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Beep-Beep

New post, not the fry-guy.

Posted by: monk811 | October 18, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Last night was the game plans fault, not necessarily the players.

That was the WORST game plan for a game I have ever seen. All LB's, DE's, and safeties??

"Hey everybody lets stand up and jump around on the d-line, that'll fool Payton!"

Yeah, right.

Haslett sucks as a d-coordinator.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | October 18, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Yards don't mean squat. It's the score. And we've done fine. We're @ .500. And we look competative against the team that went to the stuporbowel. I have nothing but good feelings about this D. We're not great. We're .500. Awesmoe!

Posted by: DikShuttle | October 18, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse


Our defense has also faced every top quarterback in the league except TBrady, Big Ben, Flacco, and Rivers.


Posted by: MistaMoe | October 18, 2010 2:31 PM |

moe,

I wouldn't put any QB's we've faced on this list with the exception of Manning, Schaub, and Rodgers . Vick, Kolb, and Romo, not so good. Bradford, we just don't know yet.

Posted by: hessone | October 18, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Those are a lot of yards because we give up a lot of big plays playing a risker style of defense and player being out of position still learning a new scheme. However, after having face some really good offenses, our D is 14th in league in points per game at 19.7. Most all the games will be close this year, 8-8.

Posted by: gatsu | October 18, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Kareem Moore has yet to hit anyone, is he a sissy or does someone need to teach him how to tackle?

Posted by: twpw | October 18, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

1. I really admire London Fletcher, as a leader, player, and member of the community.

2. Re: the yards differential: I think Dallas may have one of the best yardage differentials in the league. I think they have out-gained their opponents in all 5 games! So yardage can be a misleading statistic.

3. I am not convinced about the balance of our game play calling. We need to have about 20% more running plays.

4. The toughest game the rest of this season will be in Dallas. The Cowboys will try to salve their frustrations by trying to rout us. We would do the same.

Posted by: supattapone | October 18, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

The hardest working man on defense is Mr. Albert Haynesworth. Did you see him up in the suite work his little girl friend? Danny boy, cut that man another check!!!

Posted by: SorrySkins | October 18, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

In case anyone is interested, 12 teams have given up more points than the Redskins.

I think that should be how defenses should be ranked. Yards is OK, but the true test of how good a defense is, is points.

And quite a few of the points that they've given up (119 if I'm not mistaken) are field goals, so take the above analysis for what it's truly worth.

Posted by: jwash4472 | October 18, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Two glaring observations from last night and past games. Kareem Moore seems to whiff at far too many tackles and just doesn't make any plays.

The Skins pass rush seems to be very one dimensional. Remove Orakpo from the equation and you can enjoy a nice comfortable pocket from which to get real comfy.

While this defense is clearly in a state of transition to the 3-4, it is also becoming just as clear that it is going to take a year or two to acquire the type of personnel necessary to run it.

Posted by: ddgibson | October 18, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Skins fans should not be surprised at this

When you are near last or last in any defensive catagory, you WILL suffer at some point

Unless the Skins turn it around, they will lose more and more games b/c of their pathetic D

Posted by: Bious | October 18, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Overall, Haslett's defense has been more creative and entertaining than Shanny Jr's offense. Watching Skins' games is starting to be fun again.

Posted by: coparker5 | October 18, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Why Haynesworth was not playing is a mystery to me...Shanahan said he played well in the Philly game and he did. If it's about missing practice then Shanahan is an a hole. The mans brother was killed for Christ sake! This pathetic defense needs all the help it can get.

Posted by: skins91r | October 18, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

consider this. chargers have the #1 offense AND the #1 defense in the nfl. their record is 2-4.

yardage gained or given is not the most telling statistic.

that being said, there's a lot of room for improvement for the redskins on both sides of the ball.

but i'll take the redskins stats over the chargers', because the only stat that really matters is win-loss.

Posted by: zatoichi77 | October 18, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

@zatoichi77
~~
Good post.I will keep your point in mind.

In fact, your point makes one wonder what's going on in San Diego.

Posted by: ArmchairGM | October 18, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

The chargers have had atrocious special teams play. Redskins have been very much improved in that area. It has been a life saver for them really.

Posted by: Iamhumongous | October 18, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

@lamhumongous
~~
Sure has, kudos to Danny Smith(I didn't think you had it in you champ), Banks and Lorenzo Alexander, who if the NFL gave out Sixth Man of the Year awards would win it hands down.

Posted by: ArmchairGM | October 18, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

I totally agree that the defense is giving up far to many yards, I don't place the blame totally on the defensive players. I place a great deal of the problem on the coaching staff and the offensive unit. I really believe its time the coaching staff let go of their egos and play the players who are best suited to get the job done. I speak particularlly of the handling of Haynesworth. You have paid the man all that money to play, but they find everything they can think of to keep him off the field. So, who are they hurting by not playing him. His money is secure in the bank and play or not he still gets his game check PUT HIM ON THE PLAYING FIELD!!!! Then the offense needs to do a little more to give the defense a little breather. Perhaps a plan of five or six ysrd passes and runs mixed in move the chains rather than all the time trying to hit the home run might be the thing for this unit and this quarterback. This defense overall has played much better than what the stats indicate and they have kept the games close and given the offense a chance to win the games late ine then games, that is except the rams game. One more thing! to those of you who damned Campbell stating he it was all Campbell who caused the poor offensive showing, swearing on McNabb ang crediting Mcnabb th improvement of the team, please take off your blinders and shades. If McNabb had been playing up to the standards of an average NFL quarterback this team might be four and two or five and one. Well anyway thank you for allowing the time to ventilate my thoughts. HAIL TO THE SKINS....

Posted by: rabanathey | October 18, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

I totally agree that the defense is giving up far to many yards, I don't place the blame totally on the defensive players. I place a great deal of the problem on the coaching staff and the offensive unit. I really believe its time the coaching staff let go of their egos and play the players who are best suited to get the job done. I speak particularlly of the handling of Haynesworth. You have paid the man all that money to play, but they find everything they can think of to keep him off the field. So, who are they hurting by not playing him. His money is secure in the bank and play or not he still gets his game check PUT HIM ON THE PLAYING FIELD!!!! Then the offense needs to do a little more to give the defense a little breather. Perhaps a plan of five or six ysrd passes and runs mixed in move the chains rather than all the time trying to hit the home run might be the thing for this unit and this quarterback. This defense overall has played much better than what the stats indicate and they have kept the games close and given the offense a chance to win the games late ine then games, that is except the rams game. One more thing! to those of you who damned Campbell stating he it was all Campbell who caused the poor offensive showing, swearing on McNabb ang crediting Mcnabb th improvement of the team, please take off your blinders and shades. If McNabb had been playing up to the standards of an average NFL quarterback this team might be four and two or five and one. Well anyway thank you for allowing the time to ventilate my thoughts. HAIL TO THE SKINS....

Posted by: rabanathey | October 18, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

The Skins just do not have the personnel for a 3-4 base defense, and the insistence on using it is puzzling. It's okay to use it now and then as the situation dictates but it is clear they lack the big linebackers, ball hawking secondary, experienced OLB (other than Orapko) and penetrating lineman to make it work. It also takes a few seasons for personnel to get used to it.

Be wary of coaches who have a "system" and try to force personnel to adapt to the system, vice adapting the system to the strength of its personnel. Last nght was a good example. Indy figured out the Skins are still tentative and uncomfortable with the system, which is why they rushed to the line. It takes a few hundred years to figure out the complex defensive patterns and substitute appropriately, so Manning simply denied them the option. The defense looked confused and chaotic a good number of plays. The Colts were also able to run it at will.

The Skins may end up getting value out of the 3-4 in a few seasons, after they get personnel that are suitable to it. That may take 2 or 3 more drafts and free agent classes. In the meantime, we should expect huge yardage games against this defense to continue, although kudos to the D for overcoming structural flaws in the system and misplaced personnel to hold teams to field goals.

Posted by: haunches | October 18, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

"

Our secondary reminds me of the Wizard of Oz.

CR22-Is toto. You can expect him to catch the ball with those little paws.
KM41-Is the cowardly Lion because he's too afraid to tackle.
DH23-Is Dorothy beause he's usually way over in Oz instead of back in Kansas where the heck he belongs.
LL-Is the scarecrow because nobody that bites on that many double moves and pump fakes can possibly have a brain.
PB31-Is the tin man because he's old and starting to rust.

Posted by: PAskinsfan17 | October 18, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse "

Do not forget Jim Haslett as the Wizard himself, performing all those tricks with smoke and mirrors. Unfortunately, like the real Wizard of Oz, he will eventually be exposed, if not already. The Redskins are lucky to have turnovers to keep the opposing scores manageable. Imagine once the turnovers stops, then what happens? It might be a free for all to the end zone by opposing teams!

Posted by: JohnWWW | October 18, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

"We" are NOT last in defense! Only 13 teams have given up less points per game.
The Cowboys, Texans, Patriots, Dolphins, Colta and Eagles ARE ALL giving up more points per game. When yards count instead of points THEN I care.

Posted by: mrcomptech | October 18, 2010 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Any other team in the league that was last in the NFL in anything would be eyeballing their coaching staff. Lets see what happens if the team goes south the next ten games and ends up lets say 6 and 10 or 5 and 11. Way to many holes on this team for it to be anymore than an after thought for respectability.

Posted by: dandyhuffman | October 19, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

The defensive scheme the Redskins used against the Colts looked like something you would see on the sandlot.

Another thing: who runs a pitch out in the NFL on 4th and 1?

Posted by: whitaker200 | October 19, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

People you can tell yourselfs that yards dont matter just the number of points you give up.. Ask your self this question has there every been a team that was ranked last in defense consistantly week after week giving up the number of yards that the BumSkins do and has had a winning record, won a playoff game or won the super bowl. NO. Fletcher knows that is not good. There are 10 more games to go...Enjoy Fans

Posted by: opmeco | October 19, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Considering who we have played...and the state of the team last year at this time.....

I'll take the 32nd ranked New Defense against some 5 of the top offenses but still have a record of 3-3....

New Coach, New Offense, New Defense, New QB.....the best review of this team will be at the END of the season not the beginning.

Posted by: GoonieGooGoo | October 19, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

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