I know how spoiled I'm going to sound asking this. I know that, after years of watching Jim Haslett employ the likes of Madieu Williams, E.J. Biggers, DeJon Gomes and Rocky McIntosh, I should be nothing but fully grateful for what the Redskins defense has done so far in 2015. But there's still one thing — just one more thing — left that I want to see from the unit before I'm 100% satisfied.
No complaints about the Redskins defense, but generating turnover will be key in the weeks ahead.
The Burgundy and Gold have forced just a single turnover in their first two games of the season, and even that one — a turnover on downs against the Rams when St. Louis was in fourth quarter desperation mode — wasn't really a takeaway. The Redskins are one of four teams yet to intercept a pass through two games. Throw in the fact that Washington has faced a middle-tier quarterback and one very mediocre one, both guys who lead just average offenses, and my concern about the lack of gamechanging plays only grows.
Please, don't get me wrong. As much as I've loved watching Matt Jones go into "grown ass man" mode and as much as I've enjoyed watching Kirk Cousins be relatively efficient, my favorite part of the team's campaign at this point is how stout their defense has been. The defensive line is deeper than a Drake song, the linebackers are everywhere, and the secondary (for the most part) has held its own. I couldn't be happier with how that side of the ball has played through two weeks.
I'm also aware that, against Miami and St. Louis, turnovers weren't exactly needed, because the Redskins had no trouble getting either offense off of the field. The Dolphins and the Rams converted just seven out of 24 third downs, and if you're getting your opponent to punt the ball, then who needs turnovers? But I'm looking ahead, and I know that in the future, interceptions and fumble recoveries will be absolutely crucial for this franchise.
When the team goes down to Atlanta, they'll need to make the Falcons cough up the ball a couple of times, because Matt Ryan and Julio Jones won't have drives stall like the Dolphins or Rams. When the team travels to New England, they'll have to strip the ball from the Patriots' running backs, because Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski aren't going to put up zero points in a half.
Honestly, Joe Barry's boys have surprised me. I knew they'd be improved, but I didn't know they'd be dominant, which is what they've been through two Sundays. However, in my mind, as the schedule gets tougher, the matchups become more pivotal, and the season grows older, Ryan Kerrigan needs to wreak some havoc in the backfield, Chris Culliver needs to pick off some passes, and other players need to chip in as well. Because if the Redskins truly want to take away the No. 1 spot in the NFC East from the Giants, Cowboys, and Eagles, they'll need to start taking away the football from the other side on a weekly basis first.
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