July 25, 2014

Hail to a Solid Defensive Performance

There’s not too much to critique on a given Sunday in a defense that holds its opponent to only 6 points, as the Redskins did to the Eagles this week.

Yes, it was an Eagles offense sans Michael Vick, but Vick also hasn’t been tearing up defenses this year. The Redskins targeted the inexperience of Vick’s replacement and, more importantly, were able to capitalize on it.

“[E]specially with Philly having a young quarterback, we wanted to really get after him and force some turnovers and steal every possession for our offense,” Kerrigan said when talking about the Redskins forcing 3 turnovers in the first half.

It was a should-win game, and the defense came through. In fact, they played well enough that Brandon Meriweather was able to leave the game later as a precautionary measure after tweaking his knee: ”

“Yeah, it was more me thinking about the future then me going back in there when we were already up by so much, and the defense was actually playing great,” he said postgame.

The defense earned praise from the most high-profile player on their team–even though he plays on the other side of the ball.

“Their play was great,” Robert Griffin III said. “Whenever your defense plays like that, it makes you feel as an offense that you don’t have to press to try to score every time. You can go out there and feel the rhythm of the game. The defense played great the whole game. They had some turnovers, got us the ball in great situations and we capitalized.”

Sunday’s game, though far from any kind of silver bullet for the Redskins’ defensive issues this year, was a solid foundation on which to build this week. Their opponent this Thursday will be a test of a different subject. Dallas has the sixth most passing yards in the league this year and an experienced (though turnover-prone) quarterback under center. The passing game has been the Achilles’ heel of the Redskins defense and will be a major factor in Thursday’s game.

The Redskins’ receiving corps also looked more collected after the bye week. Logan Paulsen had an excellent spin and reach move on his touchdown reception that assured six points for the Redskins even as he was being dragged to the ground. The more effort that comes out of the receiving corps, the more this offense goes from really good to positively nightmarish for opponents.

Overall, Thursday’s game should be one of the more exciting Thanksgiving Day matchups in recent history, especially between these two teams. Both are coming off wins Sunday. The offenses can score. And the Redskins’ defense should be focused again on not giving up big plays and exploiting a quarterback who, far from rookie status, has been known to throw several turnovers.

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