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Redskins struggling vs. quick passes

Sep 26, 2013, 4:11 PM EST

Orakpo-vs.-TEN

The last two games, the Redskins have been able to get to the opposing quarterback early. London Fletcher sacked the Lions’ Matthew Stafford on the very first snap from scrimmage last Sunday. In Green Bay a week before that Ryan Kerrigan got to Aaron Rodgers on two consecutive snaps to stop the Packers’ first drive to the end zone and then Brian Orakpo sacked Rodgers on the first play of the next drive.

But, in both games that was it as far as sacks go. The offenses focused on getting rid of the ball quicker, before Orakpo or Kerrigan or any of the other pass rushers were able to get to the quarterback.

“It’s a different game,” said Orakpo. “You get to the quick game you eliminate the pass rush, you eliminate the guys up front.”

It’s not as though the Redskins’ pass-rushing duo has been totally silent. According to Pro Football Focus, Orakpo has 13 quarterback pressures to go with his one sack and Kerrigan has three sacks, seven pressures, and has knocked down two passes.

On some plays, the knock down might be the best outcome the defense can hope for.

“We’re trying to get there before one hitch,” said Kerrigan. “That’s all you really can do is that or get your hands up as quick as you can because when the ball’s coming out so quick you’re kind of limited in your options. You either have to get there right now or you have to get your hands up to knock a ball down.”

One way to help out can be to get some push up the middle with Barry Cofield leading the charge and perhaps an inside linebacker getting in on a stunt.

“It becomes a timing thing,” said Orakpo. “You can get so much push but at the end of the day the ball is coming out.”

Another key to being able to defend the quick passing game is through sure tackling by the players in coverage. If you can force the other team to dink and dunk its way down the field they eventually will commit a penalty or a turnover or something else to kill the drive.

But although the Redskins’ tackling was somewhat better against the Lions than it was the previous two weeks (13 missed tackles vs. a combined 30 in the first two games) it remained a major issue. Add in misplays such as David Amerson’s decision to play the ball rather than the receiver that led a long gain by Nate Burleson and the short passing game served he Lions well.

  1. rg3knees - Sep 26, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    I was reading an article somewhere about how NFL offenses are trying to quickly throw slants towards the middle of the field because the defense is not allowed to hit a defenseless receiver when trying to make a tackle. When an offensive player tries to cut towards the middle of the field it forces the defense to take different angles on the ball catcher. Unless of course you are Brandon “The Hammer” Meriweather and then you just take the offensive players head off!

    Maybe the skins should try more bump and run, or non obvious hands to the face on the line of scrimmage.
    I know if Sean Taylor and Landry were still in there teams would think twice about throwing that quick one.

    What I have really been watching is who is going to start at QB for the Raiders. Who do you think would give the Skins a better shot at winning? Pryor or Flynn ? If you had to pick who would you wanna face.

    I do not know much about Flynn, all I remember is that one game where he set all those Passing and TD records for the Packers.

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