Manny Benton often tweets random thoughts regarding the Washington Redskins at random times of the day that typically bring interesting dialog. Now from Monday through Thursday at around 9 a.m., you can find those Twitter-sized thoughts in "Morning Manny." Complete with explanations!
The early narrative on second year OLB Preston Smith is that he is struggling early this season. Smith, in his first season as a starter, has yet to secure himself a sack. However, you'd be naive to suggest his level of play has regressed due to his sack total, or lack thereof. In fact, I'd argue that Smith is progressing.
Of the first three games this season, Preston Smith has had impact in two of the three. Per my personal film study, Week One against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Smith had three pressures and was hands down the most consistent pass rusher for the team that day. When Washington played the Dallas Cowboys in week two, he only created one QB pressure but spent more time in coverage than I've seen him play in the past. Week Three, however, the former Mississippi State Bulldog had his best game of the season. Smith had four solo tackles, two pressures, a batted pass and forced two holding penalties. Pro Football Focus labeled Preston Smith's performance against New York, "the most complete" for the Redskins on defense.
Washington has been compensating a bit for their lack of talent on the defensive line. They've been using a lot of two down lineman looks and bringing in OLB Trent Murphy to be that "big-tweener." Murphy, by the way, has benefited big time from that extra muscle he gained in the off-season. He's been able to secure himself three sacks and two forced fumbles in rotational play.
For Preston Smith, the sacks will come. His biggest issue so far has been finishing his rushes. But I see progress in his game. He's playing the run better and affecting plays even when he doesn't get to the QB. Disruption is what you want. Give it time. The numbers will come.
You can find Emmanual on Twitter @manny_benton.
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