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How PFF Graded Redskins Week 8 Defense

Thoughts on Preston Smith, Donte Whitner, Josh Norman and others after Washington's Week 8 tie with Cincinnati.

The Redskins wrapped up their first half of the season with Sunday's 27-27 tie against the Bengals in London. Fine, you already knew this. You just might not know how the folks at Pro Football Focus graded Washington. Here are five things PFF said about Washington's defense.

OLB Preston Smith continues to disappoint, registering only 2 hurries in 32 blitzes. On the year he now has 2 sacks, 5 QB hits, 12 hurries and a batted pass.

Ryan Kerrigan continued his streak of good pass rushing performances in this contest - on 39 blitzes he registered a sack, 2 QB hits, 2 hurries and a batted pass. With fellow started Smith struggling, Kerrigan is going to need to continue to take advantage of his matchups.

Trent Murphy continues to cool off a little after several productive games in terms of pass rushing. In this contest he could only muster a QB hit and a hurry in 37 blitzes.

BB: Maybe "disappoint" is a bit strong, but the second-year pass rusher certainly has lived up the hope after his strong close in 2015 and impressive preseason. Perhaps the collective we overestimated his growth in just his second season, but he's been highly effective at times. Despite Smith not taking down quarterbacks much, Washington's 22 sacks are tied for third in the NFL. Eight players have at least one sack led by Kerrigan (7) and Murphy (6).

Donte Whitner continued to get the most snaps at Safety this week, with unfavorable results. He had 2 stops on the day, but also missed 2 tackles and allowed 7 of 8 passes to be caught in his coverage for 60 yards (mostly from Bengals TE Tyler Eifert)

BB: The Redskins ranked among the better teams against tight ends entering Week 8. Allowed one TD catch over opening seven games. The Redskins had little choice but to play the new-ish guy lots since Will Blackmon and Duke Ihenacho dealt with injuries.

Josh Norman had a rough afternoon with 5 total penalties. On plays that weren't negated by penalty, he allowed 5 of 12 targets to be caught for 76 yards, with 3 PDs (some of which were arguably dropped interceptions). All of that expect for 1 incomplete pass to Brandon LaFell came against A.J. Green.

BB: First, here's Redskins coach Jay Gruden from Monday's teleconference with local media during which he was asked about the team's 15 penalties. Gruden veered into Norman whistled four times for illegal hands to the face.

“Well, it’s something that we have to address with our team. We had a lot of penalties. I think we gave them eight first downs via penalty. After watching the film, I don’t know. Some of them were not very blatant, that’s for sure. Some of the glancing hits to the facemask on A.J. Green, I just don’t understand them. There was no intent there to injure, it was absolutely just a glancing blow that had nothing to do with anything. They called them. They thought it was a penalty," Gruden said.

The penalties skewed Norman's day and the cornerback isn't the only one who thinks some of those calls were tuuuurrrrible. When considering A.J. Green is Cincinnati's biggest outside threat by far, "holding" him to 5 of 76 and out of the end zone isn't bad. Hold onto one of those interceptions and Norman's performance looks different. Of course, he didn't hold onto those passes and those penalties were called

* Lastly, the top five individual defensive grades:

LB Ryan Kerrigan, 81.8

LB Sua Cravens, 80.3

DT Chris Baker, 79.7

S Duke Ihenacho, 79.6

DT Anthony Lanier, 77.0

Ben Standig is the Publisher of Breaking Burgundy and the Huddle Report's 2012 NFL Mock Draft champion. You can find him on Twitter @benstandig and on Google+.

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