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Old 10-24-2009, 02:45 AM   #1
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Redskins-Chiefs Defensive Review

One thing that you can point in trying to find a place where the Redskins have met their expectations this year is the pass rush.

After not playing up to his potential for the first three weeks of the season, Andre Carter has been on an absolute tear the last three games. His low sack total of 4 last year was very much a product of a conservative-blitz heavy gap defense. The Redskins defense is playing with pride this year, and it's also making plays in the opponents backfield with regularity. Carter, well, he's just a good player doing his thing. Finally.

The biggest difference from last year in the pass rush has not been Albert Haynesworth, though he certainly has helped. It's been Brian Orakpo. The lighting-quick rookie is a disruptive backfield force who teams must account for in their protection schemes. And the offenses we have played have simply been slow to adjust. He's been a dynamic threat from the OLB position, when the Redskins use him in that matter. I think they're doing a good job mixing up his role so he's tough for defenses to find, as the Chiefs never were able to isolate Orakpo. Which is good, because he's giving up 10.3 yards per attempt against the pass this year. How bad is that? Fred Smoot has only given up 7.9 YPA this year, and he plays corner, and he's been benched.

DeAngelo Hall, remarkably, is right in line with his career numbers. As is Carlos Rogers. And London Fletcher. And Rocky McIntosh. In fact, there's not one player on the Redskins who is underachieving an expectation for their ability to cover receivers and defend passes. While you could argue LaRon Landry might be underachieving, he wasn't challenged much last year, so we didn't have an idea of how great his cover skills were.

But they are playing bad team defense against the pass. Why is this?

A lot of it has been some struggling with the zone schemes that they are moving towards this year. The Redskins have had no specific issue defending receivers outside the numbers this year, and no issue at all since Fred Smoot has taken a seat. But between the numbers, they've been scorched for a whole bunch of plays worth more than 15 yards. This is troubling because if a team cannot defend the interior routes, it's really hard to have sustainable pressure on the quarterback. You don't need much protection to hit the slot receiver or TE on a 12-yd square in. And considering that all of the Redskins big plays have happened when they've forced an errant throw or a fumble by a quarterback, they need to tighten up the zone defense.

One of the things they've tried to do is to play man with the eligible receivers in the box, and then cover three behind it, but this is the defense where DeAngelo Hall and Justin Tryon get picked on the most by alert quarterbacks.

I didn't think the Redskins did a particually good job defending Larry Johnson this game, but they have not let any running back beat them this year, and this week was no exception. Johnson had runs of 11, 17, 10, and 12 yards, but Johnson's final 11 carries in this game went for a paltry 17 yards. The Redskins also did this without perhaps their most dynamic run defender, Chris Horton. The Redskins defense sometimes struggles to read and react, but overall this year, they've been one of the very best run defenses in football. The Redskins have always been a good run defense, but this is where the addition of Albert Haynesworth has already paid major dividends. When the Redskins do get gashed by the run, it's because they get out of their run fits, but they've been able to get a stop in the running game whenever it has been needed, which hasn't been the case with the pass.

Put simply, the Redskins against the pass are as good as their pass rush allows them to be. And it has really been a ferocious pass rush. But it's not like the Redskins can stop teams from keeping seven or even eight guys into protect against their pass rush. In the final ten games of the season, wins and losses might come down to the Redskins ability to defend tight ends and slot receivers, and they'll have to be up to the challenge to be an elite defense.

I think they can do it. They have the talent, and the depth, and this season, Greg Blache has outschemed his opponents at a 1:1 rate (vs. being outschemed). So he hasn't been a liability. But now the going gets tough with strong, well coached quarterbacks on the schedule every week for the rest of the year. It's going to be a tough test, but the defense has passed it's first test, which was a powerful running game in every week of the season up to this point. The Eagles do not have a running game. The Falcons running game is struggling. Considering those facts, it's going to be fun to watch them tee off on opposing QBs, even if the Redskins offense is doing it's best to make games completely unwatchable.
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Old 10-24-2009, 02:52 AM   #2
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Re: Redskins-Chiefs Defensive Review

Struggling mightily with the formatting of my tables, but the post over at Hog Heaven has way more coverage and pass rush information:

Redskins-Chiefs Defensive Review | Hog Heaven

Otherwise, it's the same article I have here
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Old 10-24-2009, 03:51 AM   #3
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Re: Redskins-Chiefs Defensive Review

Lord willing we can keep Orakpo hungry and healthy
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Old 10-24-2009, 03:54 AM   #4
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Re: Redskins-Chiefs Defensive Review

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Lord willing we can keep Orakpo hungry and healthy
Lord willing we can build a team around him before he chooses to leave via FA. Thats a while from now but time flies.
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Old 10-24-2009, 08:46 AM   #5
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Re: Redskins-Chiefs Defensive Review

i sat about 15 rows off the field. i was really impressed with how creative Blache was with our lineman, and schemes. when putting Haynesworth and Orakpo on the same side of the ball, they were virtually unblock-able. and that Daniels is basically done. he brings nothing to a pretty decent d line
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Old 10-24-2009, 09:50 AM   #6
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Re: Redskins-Chiefs Defensive Review

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The biggest difference from last year in the pass rush has not been Albert Haynesworth, though he certainly has helped. It's been Brian Orakpo. The lighting-quick rookie is a disruptive backfield force who teams must account for in their protection schemes. And the offenses we have played have simply been slow to adjust. He's been a dynamic threat from the OLB position, when the Redskins use him in that matter. I think they're doing a good job mixing up his role so he's tough for defenses to find, as the Chiefs never were able to isolate Orakpo. Which is good, because he's giving up 10.3 yards per attempt against the pass this year. How bad is that? Fred Smoot has only given up 7.9 YPA this year, and he plays corner, and he's been benched.
I'm glad to know this.. Although I still believe it would do us better when we put Orakpo down on the scrimmage line every play.. But once again, who takes over the SLB? I certainly hope we will try to find someone to take over the position during the off-season.. I sort of still want Horton to be the candidate but it's obviously that it's not possible.. So..

Some people keep saying that Haynesworth haven't really played up to the par we paid him to.. The reality is he's been playing pretty well; it's just that we are overpaying him to just play as DT..

Orakpo, Haynesworth, and Carter to pro bowl this year? Or will they be snubbed along with Fletcher?
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Old 10-24-2009, 12:48 PM   #7
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Re: Redskins-Chiefs Defensive Review

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I'm glad to know this.. Although I still believe it would do us better when we put Orakpo down on the scrimmage line every play.. But once again, who takes over the SLB? I certainly hope we will try to find someone to take over the position during the off-season.. I sort of still want Horton to be the candidate but it's obviously that it's not possible.. So..

Some people keep saying that Haynesworth haven't really played up to the par we paid him to.. The reality is he's been playing pretty well; it's just that we are overpaying him to just play as DT..

Orakpo, Haynesworth, and Carter to pro bowl this year? Or will they be snubbed along with Fletcher?
Chris Wilson and HB Blades both know the SLB position, and could combine to play it at least as well if not better than Orakpo is.

The problem is, a defensive line of Haynesworth, Griffin, Orakpo, and Carter doesn't give a whole lot of gap discipline, and could be gashed against the run. It's a lot better to have a defensive line with Daniels/Jarmon holding down one position. You could rotate Orakpo and Carter in, but I'm thinking as long as Blache can make it difficult for quarterbacks to find Orakpo, you're best off with him at SLB.

It's when you sit back in the same cover two and cover three zones on every play that teams start to pick him apart.
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Old 10-24-2009, 12:51 PM   #8
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Re: Redskins-Chiefs Defensive Review

For the record, Orakpo has been targeted 8 times this season, plus 3 or 4 times where he wasn't "targeted" but teams threw into a seam in the zone that perhaps shouldn't have been there (thanks to Orakpo). But that's only about twice a game.

He's a terrible coverage player, but he plays a position where it's hard to gameplan against finding him without giving up the run game completely. So, in the short term at least, he's been working at SLB.
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Old 10-24-2009, 01:28 PM   #9
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Re: Redskins-Chiefs Defensive Review

I see, alright thanks man.. So, obviously Blache knows what he's doing..
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Old 10-24-2009, 02:09 PM   #10
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Re: Redskins-Chiefs Defensive Review

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I see, alright thanks man.. So, obviously Blache knows what he's doing..
With what he has to work with at least.
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Old 10-25-2009, 11:40 PM   #11
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Re: Redskins-Chiefs Defensive Review

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With what he has to work with at least.
True..

GTripp or anybody else, know what's up with Kevin Barnes? I have heard nothing of him ever since the preseason.. I know he was lost sometimes but I thought coaches said that he's better at man to man coverage? If so, use him.. Put him on slot receivers.. Tryon seems to be just alright so far, but nothing big.
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