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Redskins struggling vs. quick passes

Redskins struggling vs. quick passes

The last two games, the Redskins have been able to get to the opposing quarterback early. London Fletcher sacked the Lions’ Matthew Stafford on the very first snap from scrimmage last Sunday. In Green Bay a week before that Ryan Kerrigan got to Aaron Rodgers on two consecutive snaps to stop the Packers’ first drive to the end zone and then Brian Orakpo sacked Rodgers on the first play of the next drive.

But, in both games that was it as far as sacks go. The offenses focused on getting rid of the ball quicker, before Orakpo or Kerrigan or any of the other pass rushers were able to get to the quarterback.

“It's a different game,” said Orakpo. “You get to the quick game you eliminate the pass rush, you eliminate the guys up front.”

It’s not as though the Redskins’ pass-rushing duo has been totally silent. According to Pro Football Focus, Orakpo has 13 quarterback pressures to go with his one sack and Kerrigan has three sacks, seven pressures, and has knocked down two passes.

On some plays, the knock down might be the best outcome the defense can hope for.

“We're trying to get there before one hitch,” said Kerrigan. “That's all you really can do is that or get your hands up as quick as you can because when the ball's coming out so quick you're kind of limited in your options. You either have to get there right now or you have to get your hands up to knock a ball down.”

One way to help out can be to get some push up the middle with Barry Cofield leading the charge and perhaps an inside linebacker getting in on a stunt.

“It becomes a timing thing,” said Orakpo. “You can get so much push but at the end of the day the ball is coming out.”

Another key to being able to defend the quick passing game is through sure tackling by the players in coverage. If you can force the other team to dink and dunk its way down the field they eventually will commit a penalty or a turnover or something else to kill the drive.

But although the Redskins’ tackling was somewhat better against the Lions than it was the previous two weeks (13 missed tackles vs. a combined 30 in the first two games) it remained a major issue. Add in misplays such as David Amerson’s decision to play the ball rather than the receiver that led a long gain by Nate Burleson and the short passing game served he Lions well.

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Redskins Stat Breakdown: What worked - and what didn't - against Arizona

Redskins Stat Breakdown: What worked - and what didn't - against Arizona

CSN has teamed up with The Edge Systems to provide the occasional statistical review of Redskins game film. The Edge is analytical football software currently being used by coaches in the NFL, SEC, ACC and the media, providing some of the fastest and best data in football.

Below is a breakdown of the Redskins run game against Arizona - a game coach Jay Gruden admitted did not feature enough carries for Robert Kelley. 

The Redskins had a lot of success with their GAP runs early in the game.

In the first half they were successful on 75 percent of their GAP runs. 

As the game wore on the Redskins moved away from what had been successful and only ran two GAP runs in the second half.

As their power running game vanishing, mirrored their prospects for winning the game.

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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State of the Redskins: Playoff chances trending in the wrong direction

State of the Redskins: Playoff chances trending in the wrong direction

Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 14 of the NFL season.

Record: 6-5-1, 3rd in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 2-2
vs. NFC: 4-4
vs. AFC: 2-1-1
Home: 4-2
Away: 2-3-1

Rankings and changes from Week 13

Offense (yards/game): 418.6 (2nd, no change from Week 13)
Defense (yards/game): 369.6 (23rd, +2)
Points for: 303 (10th, -1)
Points against: 295 (20th, -2)

Passer rating offense:  99.8 (8th, -2)
Opp passer rating: 95.0 (22nd, -3)
Yards/rush attempt: 4.5 (5th, no change)
Opp. yards/rush attempt:
 4.6 (29th, +2)
Weighted DVOA (Football Outsiders): 9.8% (10th, no change)
Playoff chances per FO: 41.5%, -14.1% from last week

Trending the right way: Not much, really. Their ranking in rushing defense improved a couple of notches but mostly because other teams got worse, not because the Redskins put the clamps down on the rushing game.

Trending the wrong way: For the first time in a few weeks the Redskins’ playoff chances are below 50 percent. Two straight losses will do that.  

Top three storylines:

Letting them have it—Jay Gruden is usually supportive of his team after a loss but that was not the case following the Cardinals game. He could be heard speaking to the team in angry tones in the locker room following the loss. We will see if this rare tirade jump-starts the Redskins’ stretch run.

Dealing with injury issues—Not only do the Redskins have to be concerned about the condition of Jordan Reed, whose status is unclear as he rehabs from a shoulder injury he suffered on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas, their starting center is in the concussion protocol. If Spencer Long can’t go the Redskins may have to add a center to back up John Sullivan.

Help wanted—The Redskins need other teams to lose if they want to make the playoffs. They need a little help if they win out to finish 10-5-1; they need more help if they finish at 9-6-1. Scoreboard watching starts at 4:25 on Sunday when the Bucs, a half-game ahead of Washington, host the Saints and continues on Sunday night football with the Cowboys at the Giants.

Next three games

Sunday @ Eagles (5-7)—The Redskins handled them well in October; the final score did not indicate how Washington dominated the game. The Eagles look more like a rebuilding team than a playoff contender and the Redskins could elimate them for all practical purposes

December 19 vs. Panthers (4-8)—The season of the defending NFC champs officially came off the rails on Sunday night when Cam Newton started the game on the bench because he didn’t wear a tie and he ended it looking at the wrong end of a 40-7 beatdown by the Seahawks. Still, the Redskins have never beaten Newton so this is not one that will come easily.

Christmas Eve vs. Bears (3-9)—There is no such thing as an easy game in the NFL but if the Redskins can’t manage to win this one they don’t deserve to make the playoffs.