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Will defense bend but not break in New York?

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Will defense bend but not break in New York?

The Redskins’ defense has been out on the field for more plays in the past two weeks but they are playing better.

In the first four games of the season, opponents ran 244 plays and scored 123 points. That’s 61 plays and 30.1 points per game and an average of .50 points for every offensive play run.

The past two weeks, opponents have run 161 plays, an average of 80.5 per game, and they have scored 50 points, 25 per game. The Redskins have given up an average of .31 points per offensive play.

The Redskins’ opponents are running more plays but getting less out of them. The big plays that were so common in the first quarter of the season have by and large disappeared. In the past two games the longest plays they have given up are a 32-yard Adrian Peterson run and a 29-yard pass from Matt Ryan to Julio Jones.

Let’s see, forcing long drives, not giving up big plays, forcing teams to settle for field goal attempts (as the Redskins did three times in the first quarter of the Vikings game). That sure sounds like a bend but don’t break defense to me.

But when asked about applying that term to his defense, Jim Haslett objected. “I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a bend but don’t break defense if you’re blitzing,” he said. “I think last week we had a big lead and didn’t want to give it up.”

Will the Redskins be in the position of having to protect a fourth-quarter lead on Sunday? The Giants have been very efficient on offense, scoring .45 points per offensive play. The Redskins will have to be at the top of their game to keep the Giants from piling up the points.

Of course, Robert Griffin III and the Redskins are capable of lighting up the scoreboard as well. They have score exactly as many points as the Giants have, 178 (29.7 per game, .48 points/play).

And this game could well come down to who has the ball in his hands last. Eli Manning is one of the best fourth-quarter quarterbacks in the game and he has led two last-minute drives to win Super Bowls. Griffin is carving out his own niche with a late drive to set up a field goal to beat the Bucs and last week’s game-clinching 76-yard run against the Vikings.

I read that Accuscore, one of those places where they simulate each game 10,000 times, had the Giants winning 60 percent of the time. That sounds about right. The Giants should be favored but 40 percent is certainly a reasonable chance of winning.

I’m not going to pick the upset here with the Redskins on the road but it would not be stunning at all if I’m wrong. The RG3 legend could well grow this weekend.

Giants 28, Redskins 24

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John Pagano's resume doesn't deliver Redskins ties, few bright spots

John Pagano's resume doesn't deliver Redskins ties, few bright spots

John Pagano's entire NFL career has been spent in San Diego, not a bad location. Hired by Mary Schottenheimer in 2002, he began as a quality control coach in 2002, then moved up to assistant linebackers coach in 2003. In 2004, he advanced to coach the outside linebackers, and then in 2005 he took over as linebackers coach, a position he held until 2011.

By 2012, his 10th year in the organization, Pagano moved up to defensive coordinator, at that point working under Norv Turner. The former Redskins coach of much of the 1990s, Turner was let go after that season, and Mike McCoy was hired. McCoy retained Pagano to serve as his defensive coordinator, and he stayed in that role until this offseason. 

The circumstances surrounding Pagano's release from the Chargers are a bit sloppy, including this report from a San Diego broadcaster:

The important stuff for Redskins fans: As defensive coordinator his team's twice finished in the Top 10 in yards allowed in 2012 and 2014. That's about the only real highlights on his coordinator resume, though it's worth pointing out few coaches last as long with one organization as Pagano. Below are his defense's ranks from 2012 to last season.

 

It also seems Pagano has no real ties to the Redskins organization, which might be considered an advantage. He never worked directly with Bruce Allen, Jay Gruden or Scot McCloughan, though his team's deployed the 3-4 base like the Washington defense. Pagano's brother Chuck is the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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The Final Countdown: Redskins 8th best play of 2016 comes from blowout vs Packers

The Final Countdown: Redskins 8th best play of 2016 comes from blowout vs Packers

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and at the 10 worst.

No. 8 best play of 2016

Redskins vs. Packers Week 11

2:30 left in Q4, Redskins ball at their own 30, 2nd and 8, Redskins leading 35-24

Rob Kelley right end to GB 4 for 66 yards (Ladarius Gunter).

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Tandler: The Redskins had held a lead since late in the second quarter but Aaron Rodgers and the Packers kept hanging around. The Redskins were just trying to pick up a first down but Kelley ran through a weak tackle attempt, dodged a defensive back, and bolted down the right side before an ankle tackle got him at the four. Kelley was deprived of the touchdown only momentarily as he ran it in on the next play, putting a bow on the most important win of the year.

More Redskins: Setting the odds on what will happen with Cousins

Finlay: Any football fan who has watched the last two weekends of the NFL playoffs knows just how dangerous Aaron Rodgers can be with the ball in his hands late in a game. Rob Kelley's long run eliminated that danger, as he burst through the Packers defense and sealed a huge victory for the Redskins. This game, and the few days leading up to the Cowboys game on Thanksgiving that followed, marked the high point in the 'Skins season. The team had a 6-3-1 record and had just vanquished Green Bay, avenging a playoff loss to the Packers some 10 months earlier. I disagree with Tandler that this was the most important win of the year - that distinction came in the Week 3 victory over the Giants - but it was the best win of the year.

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!