October 21, 2008

Redskins Defense: Battered, Bruised, But Not Beaten

The Cleveland Browns were knocking on the door deep in Skins territory, down 14-3 late in the fourth quarter. It had already been a hard-hitting game, but London Fletcher brought it to a new level as he stuffed the truck-like Jamal Lewis on two consecutive plays. Then the rest of the team caught on and stopped the next two plays to get the ball back.

Fletcher stepped up to fill the void in a big way all day with twelve tackles. Not only does his play speak volumes, but his fire and leadership really sparks the team. Those primal screams jumpstarted the team several times yesterday. They have been ravaged by injuries, but that didn't seem to matter.

Fred Smoot, Carlos Rogers, and Chris Horton all played with injuries, ensuring that the loss of Shawn Springs would be softened. Horton notched eight tackles and came up with some timely stops. Smoot continued his hard-nosed coverage while Rogers came up with two huge hits and consistent coverage all day.

The physical coverage the Skins have been relying on more and more the last few weeks has been working. Receivers get frustrated as they are beat up and have no room after the catch. When Springs returns, expect to see even more man coverage and more lockdown defense.

Meanwhile the defensive line was able to get a little pressure, but came away with just one sack. This is a line with Jason Taylor and Andre Carter and they can't provide pressure. That needs to change.

However, the line has been stopping the run. They are ranked 7th in the NFL in run defense, only yielding 86.4 yards per game. They stick runners at initial contact and rarely give up big gainers.

On the whole, the Skins defense has been tremendous this season. They are ranked number six overall in total defense and allow just 18.3 points per game. They could stand to force more turnovers and create extra pressure, but as things stand, this defense is as stifling as they come.

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