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Where has the Redskins' Pass Rush Gone?

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Old 11-11-2010, 10:28 AM   #1
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Where has the Redskins' Pass Rush Gone?

Housekeepin': Individual defensive and OL stats are up, updated through the Detroit game.

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I've talked extensively in the game reviews about the weaknesses in the Redskins coverage units. Carlos Rogers' numbers are taking a hit as the slot corner, obviously, while Philip Buchanon sure seems to be outplaying DHall (perhaps not so much in the last two games).

But those coverage units are getting better. I think the safeties have a long way to go to make this a good coverage unit, but we're starting to see the effects of our talent in the back seven come through. Fletcher has shut down opposing tight ends this year, and backs are having trouble ever getting into the passing game because of our multiple fronts and formations, OCs error on the side of caution and keep them in. This is good, since Rocky can't much cover them anyhow.

What absolutely has not improved from the first game to now is the lack of any team pass rush. This scheme has been good for Orakpo who has enjoyed plenty of opportunities to go after the quarterback, and is on pace to set career highs in every pass rushing stat I could keep.

But outside of Orakpo, the rush has been non-existent. We're not a big blitzing team, in that most of Haslett's pressures are of the four man variety, but rely on angles to break down protection. It works often enough, I think, but the problem is that the Redskins often rush guys who are showing no ability to get to the quarterback.

Haynesworth has been our second most effective rusher, and he didn't even appear in four games. Landry is our third most effective rusher and only rushes 4 or 5 times a game. Kedric Golston and Adam Carriker don't get to the quarterback with any consistency despite their chances. Both Lorenzo Alexander and Andre Carter need to be better in their situational usage patterns.

I think the group would benefit from a second full-time pass rushing option, but to complement Orakpo, it needs to be someone who can rush inside and outside effectively. That may be Chris Wilson. The way our defense has been, I think we can afford to send Rocky to the bench, and start Lorenzo Alexander at ILB. This would allow us to get Chris Wilson on the field for as many snaps as Carter gets without changing Carter's role at all. I thought we'd use McIntosh more in pressure schemes, but I've never seen anyone get cut block so consistently and go flying through the air so hilariously.

But I think that one more every-down pass rusher would really make a big difference in how often we get to the quarterback. Haynesworth is tied for second on our team in both QB hits and sacks. He's a good player, but he's played in what, 20% of our snaps this year as a team? It's the other 80% that are a problem when Haynesworth is out and Rocky is in. We just lose that pass rush without gaining any coverage ability.
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:42 AM   #2
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Re: Where has the Redskins' Pass Rush Gone?

Anyone remember what our pass rush was before AH came, anemic I believe. We need to see continued play by AH, which I think we will, and that will open it up for whoever lines up at the other End/OLB spots. I think the biggest change for the last 7 games, will be AH's continuous play without distraction. Golsten, Keamouto, etc all are ok, but not elite players, if we rely mainly on them we will not see much improvement in the rush.
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:45 AM   #3
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Re: Where has the Redskins' Pass Rush Gone?

I think we can be tough to throw on in the second half, but only if we pressure QBs a lot more than in the first half.
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Old 11-11-2010, 11:03 AM   #4
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Re: Where has the Redskins' Pass Rush Gone?

GTripp, wouldn't you say our pass rush has been very effective against poor and injured OLs? I would say it hasn't really "gone" anywhere; it was never really there.
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Old 11-11-2010, 11:27 AM   #5
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Re: Where has the Redskins' Pass Rush Gone?

We only have 1 good rusher and thats Rak.. AH helps when he actually tries
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:14 PM   #6
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Re: Where has the Redskins' Pass Rush Gone?

I don't really understand our defensive scheme to be honest. Haslett talked about getting more turnovers w/ his scheme. That has certainly been the case but I wonder if over time the turnovers will gravitate back toward average levels. And if/when that happens this defense has what to offer exactly?
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:34 PM   #7
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Re: Where has the Redskins' Pass Rush Gone?

Excellent analysis. I've often thought that Chris Wilson is underutilized in this defense kinda like Lorenzo Alexander was previously. We should be using Wilson more like Cameron Wake (another former BC Lion) and get him attacking the QB which is his forté...
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:49 PM   #8
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Re: Where has the Redskins' Pass Rush Gone?

I'm surprised we don't scissors blitz the ILB more often b/c its been a staple of the Pittsburgh 3-4.
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:00 PM   #9
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Re: Where has the Redskins' Pass Rush Gone?

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Originally Posted by 30gut View Post
I'm surprised we don't scissors blitz the ILB more often b/c its been a staple of the Pittsburgh 3-4.
"Scissors Blitz"? Is that a technical term? I have never heard it called that before. I know what you are talking about though.

BTW when I read scissors the first thing that popped in my mind was Mrs. Garrison with the Persian Prince.

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Old 11-11-2010, 01:53 PM   #10
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Re: Where has the Redskins' Pass Rush Gone?

The more that Haynesworth is in the game, the better that our pash rush will be. He has looked unblockable for much of the last two games.
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Old 11-11-2010, 02:43 PM   #11
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Re: Where has the Redskins' Pass Rush Gone?

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GTripp, wouldn't you say our pass rush has been very effective against poor and injured OLs? I would say it hasn't really "gone" anywhere; it was never really there.
Last year it was a legit pass rushing line, top quartile in the NFL, and more or less with the same personnel.

You can tell where the sack production is lacking vs. last year: Andre Carter. But Carter's thing is not the level of his performance, but that he's not an every down player in this defense. Between him and Carriker and Alexander and whoever else plays that position in the defense, we're getting but a fraction of what Carter provided all by himself last season.
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Old 11-11-2010, 05:47 PM   #12
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Re: Where has the Redskins' Pass Rush Gone?

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Last year it was a legit pass rushing line, top quartile in the NFL, and more or less with the same personnel.

You can tell where the sack production is lacking vs. last year: Andre Carter. But Carter's thing is not the level of his performance, but that he's not an every down player in this defense. Between him and Carriker and Alexander and whoever else plays that position in the defense, we're getting but a fraction of what Carter provided all by himself last season.
The problem is that the the pieces were put together by the previous FO to be a top 4-3 D-line. In that formation, Haynesworth's presence was huge, as was Orakpo's emergence as a pass rushing SAM, all but guaranteeing that Carter faced a single blocker on passing downs. Everyone knew that Carter would be a weak link as a 3-4 OLB, and I credit Haslett for adjusting after Carter's rough start, and converting him to a pass russ specialist the last few games.
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Old 11-11-2010, 06:31 PM   #13
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Re: Where has the Redskins' Pass Rush Gone?

It left with the 4-3 defense.
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Old 11-11-2010, 06:56 PM   #14
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Re: Where has the Redskins' Pass Rush Gone?

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Originally Posted by SouperMeister View Post
The problem is that the the pieces were put together by the previous FO to be a top 4-3 D-line. In that formation, Haynesworth's presence was huge, as was Orakpo's emergence as a pass rushing SAM, all but guaranteeing that Carter faced a single blocker on passing downs. Everyone knew that Carter would be a weak link as a 3-4 OLB, and I credit Haslett for adjusting after Carter's rough start, and converting him to a pass russ specialist the last few games.
Well, the most common four man line this year is Haynesworth, Holliday/Golston, Orakpo, and Carter. That's last year's most common line except with Griffin instead of Holliday. So the nickel personnel isn't really different at all.

The standard downs personnel is a lot different, namely, that Carter isn't on the field and hasn't been since week three, really. You have Kemo in the middle, Carriker and Golston at the "ends" with Orakpo coming off the very edge. It's that group that needs to get to the QB more often. Perhaps with that group, we need to bring more guys? Kemo can eat a block or two, but if Carriker and Golston can't beat one on ones, it's just Orakpo with no help in the standard downs pressure unit.

We do a lot more 3 man rushes than we did last year, which is another reason for the decreased sack rate = more guys in coverage. But that's not the whole difference. We just don't rush anyone consistently besides Orakpo.
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Old 11-11-2010, 07:00 PM   #15
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Re: Where has the Redskins' Pass Rush Gone?

Alexander's a good pass rusher, but we seem to prefer to drop him into coverage in most downs, so that's one reason our pass rush is down: coverage-first mentality.

Still, any team rushing four should get there more than the Redskins are.

The best hypothesis is that Carter's performance from 2009 was just irreplaceable, no matter what you think of the 4-3/3-4 situation. We just weren't going to be able to replace that performance with a replacement or an older version of Carter. We were going to have to find that sack production elsewhere, and we just havent yet.
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