By Steve Shoup, special to Breaking Burgundy
Redskins Defensive stats at the bye:
Points per game allowed: 24 ppg | League average: 23.3 ppg | League rank: 16th
Yards per game allowed: 360.4 | League average: 356.8 | League rank: T-18th
Turnovers per game: 1.4 | League average: 1.5 | League rank: T- 16th
From an overall defensive numbers standpoint the Redskins are looking like a middle of the pack/league average defense. That is a big improvement from last season, particularly in points allowed where they were tied for 29th in the league.
Now the difference in points allowed per game between last year and this year is only 3.38 ppg so it’s worth noting that sample size could play a factor here. The Redskins next four opponents the Patriots, Saints, Panthers, and Giants all rank in the top 10 in scoring which could definitely close the gap between this year and last. While 7 games is a fair sample size for a season, this could be a case where the match-ups have favorably skewed the data.
That being warning being said though, I think a lot of positives can be taken from the play of the defense early on. They’ve kept the Redskins competitive in games and have situationally come up with some big stops. In the win over the Eagles they twice stopped the Eagles cold in the 4th quarter, which allowed for the final drive from the offense to win the game. Against the Buccaneers after allowing a big play on Tampa’s late 4th quarter drive, that set them up for a TD that could have put the game out of reach, the Redskins defense held them to a FG, again allowing the offense the chance to win the game.
Yards per game: 232 | League average: 247.3 | League rank: 11th
TD% : 4.9% | League average: 4.6% | League rank: 19th
INT%: 1.3% | League average: 2.5% | League rank: T-29th
Sacks %: 5.5% | League average: 6.0% | League rank: 19th
The good news is the yards per game allowed is pretty good and that is a good foundation, but the additional numbers are all troubling, particularly given the success in yards per game. The TD% is only a little below average, but the INT% is awful and since those numbers are typically linked that is a bad look for the pass defense overall to give up that many TDs with so few interceptions in return. The good news is the TD% is down from last year’s league worst 6.7%, so while 4.9% is still too high it’s at least manageable.
Right now the sacks numbers are a bit artificially propped up as league wide sacks allowed are down. Last season a 5.5% average would have been 27th worst in the league, and the Redskins were at 6.5%. So even if the numbers stay down throughout the year and the Redskins end up in the top 20 at 5.5%, it’s not an indication of an improved pass rush.
Similar to points per game allowed the upcoming the schedule, doesn’t bode well for these numbers going forward. With two of the top passing offenses in the league the next two weeks, the Redskins could see their passing game numbers plummet.
Yards per game: 128.4 | League average: 109.5 | League rank: 30th
Yards per attempt: 4.9 ypa | League average: 4.2 ypa | League rank: T-30th
TD per game: 0.57 | League average: 0.7 | League rank: T-10th
This is just such an odd stat to look at when following the Redskins this season. After the first four weeks of the season the Redskins were giving up an average of 78 rushing yards per game and were top 5 in the league in run defense. Now after the last three weeks where they gave up 587 yards they are the 3rd worst rushing defense in the league.
Teams are picking up huge chunk gains versus the Redskins on the ground and it’s going to make it very hard for the Redskins to win many games allowing that. Now the schedule has played a large part of the Jekyll and Hyde nature of the Redskins run defense. In the first four weeks the Redskins faced a Dolphins team that had some serious internal issues, a Rams team without uber-rookie Todd Gurley, a Giants team that simply can’t run the football and an Eagles team that couldn’t figure out how to run the football. Since then they’ve faced three top backs in Devonta Freeman, Chris Ivory and Doug Martin.
Not all the struggles these last three weeks can be fully attributed to the talent of the backs the Redskins have faced. Sure they are good backs, but they don’t need to be each having elite games versus this defense. The Redskins might not be able to stop them for 3 yards a rush and 50 yards a game, but they shouldn’t be allowing the opposite extreme of 5 yards a carry and 150 yards a game.
The one positive for the Redskins run defense is that they have kept teams out of the end zone on the ground. Which has forced some field goal attempts to keep the Redskins in some games. Outside of that there isn’t much to be excited about when it comes to the Redskins run defense.
Steve is the founder of Fanspeak.com. Click here for the Fanspeak Mock Draft Simulator