When the Washington Redskins began the season, there were 2 question marks. One was whether or not they would have a running game and the second question was their defense. Through 6 weeks of the 2016 season those questions have since been raised again, and now we are getting answers. The question for the remainder of the 2016 season should be; can the Redskins sustain their current defensive philosophy and run game?
Over the last four games, the Washington Redskins have had their ups and downs defensively. Seemingly more ups than downs. That has resulted in a four-game winning streak. Since the second half of the week, 3 games against the New York Giants the defense has been on point. I am not sure if it has to do with a change in philosophy or attitude among the players. Whatever the case may be, it is working. And even though they rank near the bottom there is a sense that this defense is on the rise. There will still be plays that will happen. That is a given in the game of football. However, if they can give them up only here and there and not 2 or 3 on every drive, it will be easier to overcome.
The tackling has been much better too. Through the first two games, the Redskins were one of the worst tackling teams in the league. There was no rallying to the ball or team tackling. It was a lot of one on one tackling resulting in big plays. Now we see a true team effort when it comes to tackling opposing ball carriers.
This defense has also played big when it counts. During their current four-game win streak, the Washington Redskins defense has not given up a TD in the second half. If teams are scoring, they are only kicking FGs while the Redskins are scoring TDs. If they can keep up this pace, they will be very successful on many ends of the game.
When the season was getting started many wondered if the Redskins would be able to run the football. They did not have much success in the department in 2015. The reigns were handed over to a young horse, Matt Jones who, in 2015 had a turnover problem. He has seem to have since rectified that problem. The solution, high and tight. He has started carrying the football much higher on his body resulting in a tighter grip. This has given his performance an increase on ball security. He has only one fumble through 6 weeks and that was a result of poor blocking and not having a chance to put the ball away before getting hit.
Even though, through 6 weeks, there has been an inconsistency to the run game it has still been productive. I do believe that the Washington Redskins can run the ball with some of the best teams in the NFL. They need to stay consistent with the run attack. It only seems to get better has the game goes on. They have a strong offensive line that can just wear down opposing defenses. By the time the 4th quarter hits, you can often see the defense getting pushed ar0und by the big guys up front. This allows the 3-headed attack of Matt Jones, Robert Kelly, and Chris Thompson to get going and control the ball.
The ball control then becomes two fold. They keep the ball away from the opponent, not allowing them to score and it gives your defense a rest, so they are not gassed when it comes to late-game drives by the opposition. If the Washington Redskins can continue this productive run game, they will end up surprising many of their opponents for the rest of the season.
With the Redskins in the middle of a four-game win streak, things couldn’t be brighter. They have a week seven tilt at the Detroit Lions. One of the weaker defenses in the league. Then they head to London for a neutral site game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals are a team with many question marks right now as well. 6-2 at the break looks promising, but let’s take it one game at a time!