Washington Redskins' Defense Holds Bag for Downward Spiral

Sean WilsonCorrespondent IDecember 17, 2008

As any avid Madden player and Redskin fan would know, the Redskins have held to a simple philosophy since the George Allen era: "Establish the Run, Stop the Run." You would think that's a philosophy we lived up to this year, considering the early season success of both Clinton Portis and the Redskins as a team. 

But as the year progressed, and the Redskin's success faded, glaring holes in not only the Redskins offense, but maybe more so the Redskin defense have brought into question the ability of Jim Zorn, Greg Blache, and Jason Campbell to lead this team. 

The effectiveness at which Marion Barber, the Giants, the Ravens, the Rams, and the Steelers ran over the 'Skins D late in the game could lead one to believe the Redskins defensive woes are solely the fault of interior defensive line play and poor tackling. 

But as Dane Cook would say..."let's go back, let's go back"...the numbers tell the true story and lead us right back to the truth we'd almost forgotten. WE CAN'T RUSH THE PASSER!!!...and Dan Snyder should only play football owner on Madden.

First of all, we have a grand total of 16 takeaways (28th in the NFL) to include 12Interceptions (19th), and four Forced Fumbles (30th). Worst is the woeful 21 Sacks (29thin the NFL). Considering the truly impressive talent of the 'Skins defensive backfield, those numbers are simply AWFUL

Second, London Fletcher, Rocky Mac, and even H.B. Blades have been better than solid (London got hosed on Pro Bowl). Carlos (also hosed), Shawn (when he's on the field), Fred, and especially D. Hall (tied for second in the league in picks with five—two with 'Skins) have been easily among the best in the league; while LaRon and Chris Horton have been "ball-hawking" like All-Pro caliber safeties all season long. 

So why the 7-7 record? Andre Carter and Jason Taylor have been absent from anyone's offensive backfield, and the revolving door on the D-Line can't get any push early in the game, so they get pushed around late in the game. 

The lone bright spot on the outside of that defensive line has been D. Evans who leads the team in sacks with a whopping 3.5.  The 'Skins DON'T HAVE A SINGLE PLAYER IN THE TOP 30 IN SACKS in the NFC--not the NFL mind you--the NFC! 

What's worse is this isn't a new problem, and there have certainly been opportunities to address it in the draft over past years, but the 'Skins decided three pass catchers with a combined total of 19 catches was a better idea. 

To be fair, they may have contributed if any of them saw the field in the Red Zone.  But, the fact remains the Redskins have been projected to draft D-Linemen on day one of the draft for the last three years, but instead they've drafted corners, safeties, and wide-outs.

All solid players, but the line of scrimmage has been a decided afterthought until the fifth or sixth round.  


Cliche time: "Wars are won in the trenches." 

As I've said before, I understand the "best player available concept" Vinnie says he lives by, but you have to deal with needs. Seriously...who didn't really think we would use at least one of those three picks to get Calais Campbell, Quentin Groves, Jason Jones, Chris Ellis, or Pat Sims, all of which were available when the 'Skins began their second round shopping spree. 


Fact: Quentin Groves and Jason Jones have the same amount of sacks combined (five) as Fred Davis and Malcolm Kelly have receptions.

Besides the non-pass protection, and the injury plague that hit both sides of the line of scrimmage, a non-existent pass rush, and an insane inability to force a turnover have been the biggest factor in the Redskins meteoric fall from grace. Can someone tell me how you force turnovers? I thought it was PRESSURE

Several of you have given your opinion on who is to blame for the 'Skins downward spiral. Facts are its definitely not the fifth ranked defense, or the seventh ranked rushing offense.

While those rankings aren't all-telling, they in-and-of themselves would sound to most like a playoff team...which the 'Skins are not.

The truth is they won't be a contender without a pass rush and pass protection to augment the Rush offense and Rush defense.

If they don't draft pass rushers this yea...I'm gonna take up Curling...or maybe lawn bowling! Conversely, if they fortify the trenches...they become immediately legitimate.

Hail 'Skins!