The Washington Redskins’ revamped defense has exceeded what most expected of them at this point in the season. Most people (including myself) thought that the defense had a chance to be great with the offseason additions‚ but didn’t expect them to play this well together so soon. The Washington Redskins defense is currently ranked fifth in the NFL. Starters on the Redskins’ revamped defense include four free agent acquisitions and a rookie drafted in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
The four free agent acquisitions starting on the Redskins defense are defensive tackle Barry Cofield‚ safety Oshiomogho Atogwe‚ defensive back Josh Wilson and defensive end Stephen Bowen. The lone rookie starting on the Redskins defense is first round outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan. Collectively‚ the offseason additions (together with the players that were already part of the Redskins defense) have vaulted the Redskins defensive ranking from 31st last season‚ to fifth four games into the 2011 season.
One might say that the NFL defensive rankings are deceiving because team defenses are ranked by total yards allowed. That might be partly true and it would be difficult to argue that every team defense ranked in the top five is as good as the ranking suggests‚ but the Redskins defense is one that appears to be as good as advertised. If one were to reorder the defensive rankings by total points allowed‚ the Redskins defense would be ranked third with only 63 points allowed this season. Only two defenses in the NFL have allowed less points than the Redskins defense this season.
The Redskins defense has only allowed an average of 84.5 rushing yards per game‚ which is good enough for the sixth ranked rushing defense in the NFL. The Redskins defense is tied (with the Ravens and Titans who are coincidentally the only two teams who have allowed less total points than the Redskins) as the seventh ranked defense against the pass‚ allowing 212 pass yards per game.
Although the Redskins defense is solid against the run and well above average against the pass‚ they’ve only managed to create six turnovers. Three of their takeaways were interceptions and three were fumble recoveries. The Redskins defense will need to create more turnovers to keep the team in games down the stretch and possibly move up in the defensive rankings.
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