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Need to Know: How much will the Redskins defense improve?

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Need to Know: How much will the Redskins defense improve?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, July 3, 25 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 175 days ago. It will be 71 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Franchise tag contract deadline 12; Preseason opener @ Falcons 39; Final roster cut 62

Fan questions: How much will the defense improve?

I figured I would take these two Facebook questions together since they are closely related.

When talking about improvement we have to look at last year and see how the defense played. I believe they were better than the popular fan perception said they were. Yes, they were “ranked” 28th but that just looks at yards allowed, at best a rough measure of the quality of a defense. They were 13th in red zone efficiency, 12th when it came to preventing touchdowns in goal to go situations and 8th in takeaways.

Those numbers are a big part of why they were 17th in points allowed. Due to their playmaking with the takeaways and coming together in key situations I'd put them in the lower middle of the pack; not awful but with plenty of room for improvement.

They certainly can get a lot better against the run. They were 26th in rushing yards per game and 31st in yards allowed per carry. Improvement in the defense will start there.

If they do get better against the run they are going to have to do it without a significant upgrade in talent on the defensive line. They added some interesting players in free agent Kendall Reyes, who worked with the first team at right end a lot during the offseason practices that were open to the media, and draft pick Matt Ioannidis. Trent Murphy, who was moved from outside linebacker, will contribute. But none of those players is going to transform the defensive line into a run-stuffing machine.

And they will have to try to get better against the run without a true 3-4 nose tackle. They let Terrance Knighton walk as a free agent and they don’t have a replacement.

I don't want to pin all of the team's rushing defense woes on the line. They allowed 55 runs of 10 yards or longer; only three teams allowed more. That tells me that when ball carriers got past the first line of defense they weren't getting much support from the second level. That needs to improve as well.

They might get better against the run with a second year in Joe Barry’s defense but I still see opposing offenses testing them early and often.

I do, however, think the pass defense will improve. They were 25th in yards allowed per pass play and that should get better. They are adding two potentially transformational talents in free agent CB Josh Norman and pass rusher Junior Galette, who is back from an injury. Another year of growth for OLB Preston Smith and CB Bashaud Breeland could give the defense two more Pro Bowl caliber talents. Both the pass rush and the coverage will be better.

Since teams pass more often than they run some improvement in pass defense will go a long way towards making the overall defense better. They are a couple of drafts away from being anything close to dominant but there should be improvement.

Feel free to hit me up with your questions at Facebook.com/RealRedskins or on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

In case you missed it 

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Three plays that show why the Redskins' screen game is so effective

Three plays that show why the Redskins' screen game is so effective

By Ryan Wormeli

The Redskins eked out a close win at home on Sunday, coming away with a 26-24 final over the 49ers. One of the keys to the team's success on offense was their effective screen game. 

Doc Walker says running back Chris Thompson is the best in the NFL at catching screens and turning them into big plays. Still, he knows it takes more than just one great player to find success in the screen game.

On Redskins Gameplan, he turned to the film to break down three big plays from Sunday's victory, highlighting the offensive line in giving Thompson the room he needed to make something happen.

Play 1: Recievers getting in on the "Block Party"

Nearly half of the Redskins on the field for this play found themselves with someone to block. Walker points out how active the big guys are, shouting out Brandon Scherff and Shawn Lauvao in particular. The receivers get some shine too, with Doc even pointing out, "You know you gotta give 11 some credit on that."

RELATED: LATEST 6 NFL POWER RANKINGS

Play 2: Trent Williams just keeps looking for guys to block

With the Redskins deep in their own territory, they once again call for a screen pass, and you know Doc gets really excited to see the big fellas move.

"Now watch the big uglies, downfield. Agile! Hostile! Getting after it! Staying on their feet, no belly floppers," exclaimed Walker. "That's the key to it."

Play 3: Brandon Scherff redeems himself later in the drive

Brandon Scherff started off this important drive with a holding penalty, costing his team valuable yards. He then saw the screen pass as an opportunity to make it up to his teammates, and he takes full advantage.

Doc has just one thing to say for players staring down an angry Brandon Scherff.

"You, my friend, are in trouble."

RELATED: WEEK 7 STATE OF THE 'SKINS

The Redskins probably hoped their game against the winless 49ers would be a bit more comfortable than a 26-24 victory. Still, when they found themselves in a dogfight, they were able to rely on their quality screen game to get them big yardage when needed, and it helped them come out with a big Week 6 win.

For more segments like this, tune in to Redskins Gameplan at 6 p.m. on Thursday.

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All about the Lisfranc injury, the injury that Jonathan Allen is now dealing with

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Bob Youngentob

All about the Lisfranc injury, the injury that Jonathan Allen is now dealing with

Whether you're a medical expert or not, odds are that when you saw the words "Lisfranc injury" next to the words "Jonathan Allen," you had an inkling that wasn't a good thing. Unfortunately, that inkling was right.

On Tuesday, it was reported that Allen, who was originally expected to miss about a month, will actually be sidelined for the rest of the season because of the Lisfranc issue that popped up in Washington's game vs. San Francisco. So, what's the deal with this injury?

Here's some information on the ailment that ended the first-round pick's first year with the Redskins.

MORE: UPDATED NFL POWER RANKINGS — 'SKINS REMAIN IN TOP 10

What part of the foot is affected by a Lisfranc injury?

OrthoInfo.org says that a Lisfranc injury occurs when bones "in the midfoot are broken or ligaments that support the midfoot are torn." They're common with football players because often times they happen when one player steps on the foot of another, or when a player's cleat doesn't release normally from the field.

What's the recovery from a Lisfranc injury like?

Players affected by a Lisfranc injury can opt to take the surgery route or recover without surgery. According to Ian Rapoport, though, Allen has chosen to undergo surgery.

After the operation, Allen will probably stay off the foot for at least a month and a half or two months. He'll then be allowed to slowly bear weight on it, and eventually, the screws should be removed.

Reputable NFL doctor Robert Anderson said in a 2013 interview that the overall process usually takes five or six months. However, as is the case for most surgeries, recovery time does vary.

RELATED: WASHINGTON IS VISITING AN MVP FAVORITE IN PHILLY

What other NFL players have had a Lisfranc injury in the past?

As mentioned earlier, this isn't an uncommon injury in the NFL. Here's a sample of guys who've had it in the recent past:

  • Matt Schaub
  • Le'Veon Bell
  • Jake Locker
  • Morgan Moses (his rookie year was also ended by one)
  • Maurice Jones-Drew
  • Santonio Holmes
  • Jimmy Smith
  • Dwight Freeney

Some guys, like Bell and Freeney, emerged from the injury and continued to improve. But others, like Locker and Holmes, had major difficulty coming back from it.

Can a Lisfranc injury linger?

It sure can, and that's obviously something the Redskins are really, really hoping won't happen with Allen. A study published by the University of Pennsylvania reported that more than 90 percent of players who suffered a Lisfranc injury resumed playing within 15 months (Allen should apparently come back much sooner) and saw no noticeable decrease in performance.

With that being said, arthritis can flare up in the foot. In addition, players can still feel pain long after surgery and long after their return to action. So this is clearly a tricky thing and something that may affect the talented defensive lineman for a long time to come.