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Need to Know: The 5 worst pass defenses on the Redskins' 2014 schedule

Need to Know: The 5 worst pass defenses on the Redskins' 2014 schedule

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, June 10, seven days before the start of Redskins minicamp.

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Here are the five worst pass defenses the Redskins will face in 2014 (as determined by 2013 opponent’s passer rating).

Vikings (opp. passer rating 98.6)—Robert Griffin III had one of his best days last year against them, completing 24 of 37 passes for 281 yards in a Vikings win. They added CB Captain Munnerlyn and safety Kurt Coleman in free agency.

Jaguars (96.5)—The Jaguars intercepted only 11 passes all year. They made an effort to upgrade their pass rush by signing ex-Seahawks Red Bryant and Chris Clemons.

Cowboys (96.0)—With the loss of Sean Lee, their best coverage linebacker, to injury and the departures of Jason Hatcher (free agent to Washington) and DeMarcus Ware (released, signed with Denver), who had half of Dallas’ sacks last year, the Cowboys are the early favorites to have the worst pass defense in the NFL this year.

Rams (94.7)—The started a very young secondary with three second-year players and a rookie. They got 19 sacks from Robert Quinn and they’re hoping to get more from first-round pick Aaron Donald.

Texans (93.9)—Ed Reed didn’t bring much to their secondary and was released in midseason. JJ Watt’s had only half as many sacks as he did in his stunning 2012 season. They are hoping that top overall draft pick Jadeveon Clowney will bolster the pass rush and free agent safeties Chris Clemons and Kendrick Lewis will help in the back end.

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Timeline

—It’s been 163 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be 89 days until they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Minicamp starts 7; Training camp 44; Redskins @ Eagles 103

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Want to beat the Cardinals? Bring down Carson Palmer

Want to beat the Cardinals? Bring down Carson Palmer

Many considered the Cardinals a Super Bowl contender this season, though the team has not performed to that level so far in 2016. One huge problem for Arizona - protecting quarterback Carson Palmer. 

In its last four games, Arizona has given up 16 sacks on Palmer, including a staggering eight sacks against the Carolina Panthers. In the last two games, Palmer has gone down six times, and both games have been losses. 

With weapons like wideout Larry Fitzgerald and running back David Johnson, Palmer has lots of options to move the ball. That's why Jay Gruden knows how important it is for his front seven to get home.

"It’s going to start with the pass rush," Gruden said. "If Carson [Palmer] has all day to throw and give Larry time to do double moves and stem you inside and vertical and then get back out or break it back across, I don’t care how big you are or how fast you are, it’s going to be hard."

In all six Cardinals losses, Palmer has been sacked at least two times, and in four of the losses, Palmer has gone down at least four times. Beyond the Panthers' eight sacks, the Bills brought down the Cards QB five times, and both the Seahawks and Vikings got to Palmer four times.

While the sack totals stand out, Washington's Preston Smith knows each week is different in the NFL.

"Every game you’re fired up because you feel like it's an opporttunity to get out there and get sacks," Smith said. "You don’t think about what another team did, they’re going to play us different."

Talking on the latest #RedskinsTalk Podcast, Redskins linebacker Trent Murphy acknowledged that the defense knows how beat up the Cardinals' offensive line is. Murphy, who has seven sacks on the season, added that he's 'drooling' for this matchup and the opportunity to take advantage of the Arizona vulnerabilities up front. (Listen to the full podcast below.)

Bruce Arians knows his team is undermanned on the line, and the Arizona offense will be creative to protect Palmer.

"You have to help them," Arians said of his O-line. "You have got to stay balanced and hopefully not get into a situation where it’s a throw, throw, throw game because then you’re putting them in harm’s way and your quarterback in harm’s way."

It doesn't help that in his 14th season, Palmer is probably one of the least mobile quarterbacks in the NFL. After matching up against Aaron Rodgers and Dak Prescott in their last two games, the Redskins defense knows Palmer won't move nearly as much, though that doesn't mean he's neccesarily easier to get down.

"You’re not going against a mobile quarterback but you still got to get to that spot," Smith said. "Carson’s a good quarterback."

Linebacker Mason Foster said that sacks aren't as important as consistent pressure. 

"On a great quarterback like that you want consistent pressure all day long. Make things tough on him, you don’t want a clean pocket," Foster said. "If you have pressure in his face all day and you don’t get no sacks, I think that's a success."

Even at 36, Palmer is still a dangerous quarterback. He's thrown for nearly 3,000 yards this year with a beat-up offensive line and missing one start. But numbers are numbers, and the data shows that if the 'Skins pass rushers can get Palmer to the ground, the chances of a Washington win shoot right up. 

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

 

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Poll: What is your approval rating for Redskins coach Jay Gruden?

Poll: What is your approval rating for Redskins coach Jay Gruden?

As always, hit the poll and then head to the comments section here and talk about your answer, or reply on Twitter.