A Look At the Redskins Defense


Total Defense – 7th (298.3 yds per game)
Scoring Defense – 10th (18.6 pts per game)
Run Defense – 25th (127.9 yds per game)
Pass Defense – 1st (170.4 yds per game)

The Redskins’ defense has been a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season. The offense for the Redskins has let them down most of the season. In a week 13 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, the Redskins defense held the dangerous Cowboys offense to just seven points and over 100 yards below their season average. The offense failed to convert on several scoring chances, including two missed field goals and a late interception to seal the loss.

The unit features several playmakers including veteran MLB London Fletcher, who leads the team with 102 tackles on the season. Brian Orakpo has made the successful transition from a college lineman at the University of Texas to a hybrid DE/SLB for the Redskins. He is second on the team with 7 sacks on the year.

The return of All-Pro Albert Haynesworth to full strength from an ankle injury should help bolster an already solid defensive line. Haynesworth, the Redskins’ key acquisition this summer, is strong and agile for a tackle his size and creates matchup problems for most teams. Expect the Saints guards and center to be double teaming him most of the day. Andre Carter has benefited most from the signing of Haynesworth.

Haynesworth’s push up the middle has forced quarterbacks to have to step up into the pocket and towards the defensive ends. Carter has exploded this year, recording 9 sacks after only collecting 2 all of last year. The Saints will use a lot of double team and chipping him with a tight end to give Drew Brees more time to dissect the Redskins secondary.

The secondary is the wild card in this matchup. How will they perform against the talented and deep corp of Saints receivers? This unit features DeAngelo Hall, one of the premier shutdown corners in the league. He leads the Redskins with 4 interceptions on the year.
However, he did not practice with the team Tuesday due to a knee injury. The unit lost impact All-Pro rookie safety Chris Horton due to injury. Fred Smoot, Carlos Rodgers, Justin Tyron and hard hitting safety LaRon Landry round out this tough and talented unit. Despite the units’ talent, this group has trouble tackling. Expect a lot of yards after the catch from the Saints’ receivers.

Expect the Saints to run more this game than they did against the Patriots. The Saints must establish the run game in order to keep the Redskins honest and be able to open up the pass game. Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell should have a larger workload this week. Beware of Thomas on ball screens! The lack of a running game last season was a big reason the Redskins defense gave the Saints offense fits in their early season matchup last year.

Sean Payton knows the strength of the Washington defense is the secondary. Expect to see some misdirection in the passing game and a lot of combination plays to get Marques Colston and Devery Henderson open. The Redskins secondary struggles to cover slants and screens and this could be a source of big plays for the Saints. The deep ball will probably not be as open as it was against the depleted Patriots secondary.

Overall, while the Redskins defense has been playing solid the last few weeks, expect the Saints to still put up a few points against them. Drew Brees may not have the numbers he had against the Patriots,but he will still be effective and spread the ball around. He must be careful in the Red Zone, where the Redskins have allowed the fewest possesions and conversions thus far this year.

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