LANDOVER -- The question came for Ricky Jean Francois following the Washington Redskins's 38-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, but it wasn't new. Even despite the repeated inquiry into why the run defense can't do its part, the defensive lineman didn't find the discussion tiring.
There's a reason. If not fixed and soon, the Redskins will have time to rest come January.
Beyond the missed scoring opportunities and offensive line penalties, running back DeAngelo Williams rushing for a league-high 143 yards on 26 carries (5.5 ypc) in Week 1 is the most concerning number from the loss. That this performance came after the Redskins ranked 31st in yards per carry allowed last season is why the run defense question resurfaced. It's also why Francois took no offense.
"That's not frustrating," he said. "Each and every week y'all need to keep asking me that until we change something. If we don't change nothing, we don't have to worry about January football. We'll be here with y'all looking at the same games."
Winning the turnovers battle last season helped hide the run defense deficiencies. Washington ranked ninth in turnover margin last year. The breaks didn't go their way in the opener as the Steelers finished with a 2-1 edge.
Until they find a fix, teams like Pittsburgh with a potent run-pass combo can do as they wish.
"We have to learn how to turn an offense one-dimension (sic). It's a must," Francois said.
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