The Washington Redskins‘ outfield was splintered last season. Among the league’s worst secondary, the Redskins allowed a ridiculous 29 touchdown passes on the season on 3,896 net yards, a jaw-dropping 244 yards per game.
I’m going to assume that I’m not the only one who thinks there is something really wrong with those numbers. That said, the team’s secondary was not entirely to blame — the front seven has to shoulder the load as well. So the question becomes: Is the defensive line putting enough pressure on the opposing offense? Because if they’re not, it’s about high time they started.
The Redskins’ pass rush hasn’t exactly frightened opposing offensive lines in recent years. As a matter of fact, the presence of the front seven has hardly been noticed. In 2013, Washington’s defensive line made quite an impression on subpar offenses — but in the wrong ways. In fact, they managed a measly seven sacks, good for last place in the NFL. The unit logged 21 quarterback hits, 66 hurries, 94 total pressures and 1,347 pass rushes.
No, that’s not a typo — that’s called a really ineffective front seven. It’s no small wonder the Redskins’ outfield seemed so incompetent.
The Redskins’ front seven is in urgent need of a ferocious cast of defensive linemen. Well, fourth-year nose tackle Chris Neild is a heralded prospect and could be the player that the Redskins need. His numbers won’t be raising any eyebrows, but Nield is nobody to sleep on. In his four years of second-string work behind Barry Cofield, Neild has shredded offensive lines with 16 tackles and two sacks to his name.
While not a projected starter, Neild has definitely made the most of his opportunities. And considering the level of intensity that he brings, opposing offensive lines better pray that the Redskins head coach Jay Gruden doesn’t give Neild a spot on the first team. Because if Gruden unleashes Neild, it’s game over for even the most evasive signal callers.