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Need to Know: A lot to be determined on Redskins defense

Jun 11, 2016, 5:38 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, June 11, 47 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.


—The Redskins last played a game 153 days ago. It will be 93 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 47; Preseason opener @ Falcons 61; Final roster cut 84

Hot topics from the Redskins week that was

The Redskins have completed their OTAs and they just have to get through minicamp next week before the long offseason vacation commences. Here are some of the most popular posts from last week from here and from

Barry on Cravens: ‘He’s a special one’—I understand fans who want to know right now what role Su’a Craves will play when they line up in September. But the simple fact is that his role has yet to be determined and it probably won’t be until at least a few games into the season. Sit back and enjoy watching it unfold.

Jackson present and accounted for at OTA—I know that the inclusion of this link will prompt some of you to comment that nobody cares whether or not DeSean Jackson is at OTAs. But the fact that it’s included here means that a great number of people checked out what the post had to say about Jackson and his OTA attendance. There are many fans who are interested.

Redskins’ Long still ‘finding his way’ while learning center—There were some who were anxious to project Spencer Long as the Week 1 starting center. This post shows that perhaps these fans should pump the brakes on that thought. Besides, I think he’ll end up being the starting left guard.

Gruden trying to make things difficult on Cousins—The coach wants Kirk Cousins to be ready for anything that comes up so during team drills he had the quarterback working out of situations like third down deep in his own territory and on two-point conversions (which essentially is fourth and goal at the two). You know, as they say, no pressure, no diamonds (oh, wait, that was the other guy).

Depth chart at safety written in pencil, not Sharpie—Right now it’s DeAngelo Hall and David Bruton with the first team at safety. But whether or not they stay on top of the depth chart and who might back them up and get playing time in different packages remains to be seen. Like with Cravens (who will be part of the picture) relax and watch it unfold.

Stat of the day

Yesterday I posted on the Redskins’ stellar offensive performance on third down in the red zone. How did the defense fare? In 33 snaps they gave up an average of 3.1 yards per play (20th in NFL) and 10 touchdowns (T-22nd). They did pick off two passes, recover two fumbles, and get a sack in those situations.

In case you missed it 


  1. redskins12thman - Jun 11, 2016 at 6:13 AM

    From the OTAs, I have heard positive points for all positions except for defensive line. The coaches have stated on various occasions, however, that with the conversion of Murphy and the acquisitions of Reyes, Hood and Ioannidis, that the team has the players to not only replace Pot Roast and Hatcher but also to improve upon the team’s overall performance. Is the fact that we have not heard reports of strong play from anyone but Baker due to the fact that the drills are non-contact / without pads? Hopefully, this will change during next week’s mini-camp and during Richmond.

    My questions are: if the defensive line has the least amount of quality players, why would the team want to go from a 3-4 to a 4-3? Wouldn’t the team want to have a more impactful player on the field like an extra LB or Cravens on the field in lieu of a DT? By moving to a 4-3, is the team trying to find a way to get Paea to contribute effectively? I have seen various reports that Golston is penciled in as a starter, but when he couldn’t establish himself in this role in any recent prior year, how is this a sign that the defensive line is improving?

    • Joseph Howell Jr - Jun 11, 2016 at 6:26 AM

      They aren’t moving to a 4-3…per se. The base defense is still 3-4, but we play so much nickel defense that has more of a four-man front, that tend to operate more often resembling a 4-3. This negates the need for a prototypical NT (big bodied, run stuffer) on the majority of the defensive snaps. It certainly doesn’t make sense to pay top dollar for one even if you have him on the roster.

    • abanig - Jun 11, 2016 at 7:01 AM

      We run a hybrid scheme. It’s been talked about and written about at nasea. Even when Haz was here the D was in nickle 60% of the time so it had 4 pass rushers, or 3 and the rest of the players were playing the back 7 or 8.

      Nothing has changed since Barry came in. Instead of loking at the base D, look at who’s on the field most of the time.

      Most of the time we have 2 edge rushers, 2 DTs, 2 ILBs (or traditional linebackers in a 4-3 scheme) and then 5 Dbs.

      • redskins12thman - Jun 11, 2016 at 7:18 AM


      • Mr.moneylover - Jun 12, 2016 at 9:41 AM

        And its a scheme that few teams run also …two teams run it Arizona and Seattle if you have the pieces its very hard to beat…sometime you see saftey come up and the CB postion or sometimes you might see saftey play LB postion ….that’s why its good to have a guy like will Blackmon play saftey since he know the CB postion already and you add the rookie su’a Cravens who you will see play LB,S,and some pass rush because that’s his skill set and I think its very smart for the redskins to start him at LB so he know the defense a lil bit quicker

        • abanig - Jun 12, 2016 at 10:37 AM

          San Diego, Baltimore, Denver & Houston run the defense similar to ours also.

          Joe Barry learned the defense from Pagano who learned it from Wade Phillips.

        • abanig - Jun 14, 2016 at 9:27 PM

          That’s not true. It’s wade Phillip’s defense that we run. The world champions & best D in the NFL – Denver Broncos run it, San Diego runs it, Houston runs it and Baltimore runs a similar scheme.

      • Trey Gregory - Jun 14, 2016 at 9:36 PM

        Uh, quite a bit changed when Barry came in last year. It went from a 2 gap to a 1 gap system.

        And just because Denver runs a similar D doesn’t mean it’s superior. There’s multiple ways to get good results. All kinds of defensive schemes work if you have the right personnel for it. But the coaches also need to make the prober adjustments. I’m not a Barry hater at all. But too often last year Barry didn’t make proper adjustments. He started doing better toward the end of the year and hopefully that carries over. Early in the year the scheme was very stiff, generic, and predictable. He didn’t take advantage of his player’s strengths. Doesn’t matter who came up with the defense if you can’t adapt it.

  2. abanig - Jun 11, 2016 at 6:58 AM

    It’s nice to have good competiton on defense. In the past we’ve had competiton for spots but it was usually between guys that may not make other NFL rosters if they didn’t make ours.

    • colorofmyskinz - Jun 11, 2016 at 7:57 AM

      Yes this is the first OTA season I can remember where we have more quality defensive players than we have spots for. A real compitition where our depth has capabilities of being starters. We are deep at ILB, Safety, and CB. When is the last time we had that problem?

      • abanig - Jun 11, 2016 at 7:58 AM

        Dare I say 1991 or 2005? You know, the last time when the skins had truly great defenses.

        • colorofmyskinz - Jun 11, 2016 at 8:27 AM

          Lol agreed! Have a great weekend! Can’t wait for training camp…

        • John - Jun 11, 2016 at 10:54 PM

          1991 yes, 2005, not so much.


          Up front: Mann, Williams, Johnson and Stokes.

          LB: Marshall, Millen, ?

          CB: Green & Dish man

          FS: Edwards

          SS : ?

          Much better mix of talent, especially at corner.

          2005 was OK but not all that.

          The 1999 defense was pretty good. If only Stephen Davis had not gotten that high ankle sprain, they just might have faced the Rams and who knows what would have happened…

        • abanig - Jun 12, 2016 at 10:32 AM

          2005? Our defense was awesome in 2005. The defense and Portis were the only reason we went to the playoffs. And it’s the only time we won a playoff game this century.

          DE: Daniels, Wynn (couldn’t run on them)
          Chris Clemons

          DT: Slave’a, Cornelius Griffin

          SLB: Marcus Washington
          MLB: Lemar Marshall
          WLB: Lavar Arrington

          RCB: Shawn Springs
          LCB: Walt Harris
          SS: Ryan Clark
          FS: Sean Taylor

      • redskins12thman - Jun 11, 2016 at 7:01 PM

        If Galette stays healthy, we have at least three quality OLB too. Bates or Jefferson may be able to contribute as well.

        • Trey Gregory - Jun 12, 2016 at 12:48 AM

          I’m not expecting anything from Bates but Jefferson is intriguing as a depth/rotational guy.

          It alsowouldn’t shock me if we saw Cravens lineup as an OLB every now and then. Or if there’s a bunch of injuries.

  3. sidepull - Jun 11, 2016 at 8:50 AM

    There is a lot to be determined. I think it starts with Barry. He better do something with the influx of talent. There are no excuses. His ability to make adjustments as the season unfolds is key to me. Stopping the run, pressuring the QB…He needs to show he can adjust on the fly, be an asset and not easily predictable in his schemes.

    • colorofmyskinz - Jun 11, 2016 at 9:44 AM

      What crazy is that we were only bad at stopping the run on first downs. We allowed 5.5 yards per attempt on first down runs, which was worst in the league. Other downs we were average. So should be easy to pin point the problem. And to me they have by cutting hatch and roast, and beefing up the 2nd and 3rd level D.

      • bangkokben - Jun 11, 2016 at 10:18 AM

        Stopping the run is important but let’s not pretend it’s 1977 and whoever runs the ball and stops the run the best wins the game. It’s not. So let the opposition run, run, and run some more — at least try that to keep the Redskins explosive passing attack off the field. Teams aren’t capable of putting up a ton of points by running the snot out of the ball but they can keep the game close, control the clock, and limit the opposition’s offensive chances. Where the Redskins need to be stout against the run is in short yardage and goal line. Losing two of its best goal line run stuffers and not having a true nose doesn’t help.

    • colorofmyskinz - Jun 11, 2016 at 9:49 AM

      Run stopping enhancements this year:
      – Murphy on field with the edge rushers
      – Spaight is a beast run stopper
      – it is Daniels specialty
      – Bruton, Ihencho, Cravens are all run stoppers new in rotations
      – corner backs are almost shutdown with Bree and Norman.

      We have the perfect storm to have changed many dynamics to be beasts with run stopping this year.

      • bangkokben - Jun 11, 2016 at 10:25 AM

        — Murphy still needs more weight but could help in this area
        — Spaight has to make the team and then will likely only see special teams duty
        — Daniels is exactly like Spaight
        — this remains to been seen in D.C.
        — the potential is certainly there.

    • colorofmyskinz - Jun 11, 2016 at 9:51 AM

      When Murphy gets on the field and he does not have to worry about dropping back into coverage and all he has to worry about is going forward he is going to be an Utter beast

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Jun 11, 2016 at 10:25 AM

      I’m eager to see Galette play in a real game in a Skins jersey.

    • Trey Gregory - Jun 12, 2016 at 11:11 AM

      No excuses for Barry? Are you kidding me? So we add one all pro corner and now there’s no excuses? Our interior Dline is extremely suspect; especially at DT. Our ILB corps is weak. And we have a bunch of guys without real starting experience at safety.

      So we’re pretty solid on the edges but weak up the middle. That’s an excuse for Barry. And you absolutely can’t point to late round picks from last year and this year or guys making a position change and say we improved in those areas.

  4. kenlinkins - Jun 11, 2016 at 10:34 AM

    Rich: The glass half full Redskins fans are saying that other than center and RB the Redskins offense is ready to role, that the defense has improved at DB, OLB, ILB and stopping the run is the only real question mark and the with the young talent the Special teams with not hurt the club. While I agree that the talent level has improved at most positions I am not yet sure I buy into a NFC East title or more than 8 wins. You have been around the team for many years, to date what does this year feel like to you? IYO are the Redskins on the right track and can you see any moves that could really blow up in the Redskins faces? Where are the Redskins over rated (if any)

  5. John - Jun 11, 2016 at 2:49 PM

    Hate to say it but lots of rah, rah sis boom bah going on here. The talent on defense has not all of a sudden gone off the charts. Murphy was not much of a rusher when he had his hand in the dirt. The rookie LBs are what they are, rookies. Norman will be an upgrade and Galette can make a difference but until they get a real hell raiser on defense, who can blow up the line, not much will change. Archives

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