In past seasons the Washington Redskins struggled to find consistency at the quarterback position. That caused their offense to be ranked among the bottom of the NFL yearly. However, one thing that they have done well during that time-span, is play tough defense.
The Redskins defense has been solid for years. In the past decade they have consistently been a ‘bend but don’t break’ bunch, allowing their offense to have a shot at winning games weekly. As a whole this season, they haven’t been that same group.
Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has been put in an unfavorable position this season. His defense has been drastically bit by the ‘injury bug.’ They came into the preseason with a front seven that included outside linebackers Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo to rush passers off the edge, and a safety tandem of Tanard Jackson and Brandon Meriweather.
That group hasn’t played together one week this season. Jackson was suspended for the year as he violated the NFL’s substance-abuse policy for the third time in his career. Meriweather incurred a knee injury that prevented him from playing all but one game this season. While top pass-rusher Orakpo was sidelined for the season after a shoulder injury he incurred in week two, DE Adam Carriker suffered a season ending injury in week two as well.
Needless to say, the Redskins had some readjusting to do on that side of the ball. Even with how well Robert Griffin III and the offensive group looked early in the season, it wasn’t translating into wins because of the pitiful defensive production.
During the five game winning streak that they have recently assembled, the defense has found a way to do just enough. With the offense’s ability to control the clock and protect the ball, it allows their defense to remain well rested during games. The Redskins have also been winning the turnover battle with teams, as they are ranked third in the league in that category (+13). This has allowed the Redskins to give their high-powered offense extra possessions, which is ranked fourth in the NFL.
Here’s an interesting fact to take into effect. The defending Super Bowl champions, New York Giants, were the 27th ranked total defense last season. They were sixth in turnover differential, and it earned them a ring. You can take that for what it’s worth.
The Redskins defense is ranked 29th, but their team has a record of 8-6 and currently leading the NFC East. If they can continue to be opportunistic with forcing opposing offenses into turnovers, and their offense can continue to protect the ball, there is no telling how far this team can go.
Even though they are ranked among the bottom of the league in total defense, they have found a way to get it done, and that’s all you can ask for.