Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, September 7, five days before the Washington Redskins open their season against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
—Today's schedule: Practice 1:00; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins news conferences and player availability after practice approx. 3:00
—The Redskins last played a game that counted 241 days ago. It will be five days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.
—Days until: Cowboys @ Redskins 11; Browns @ Redskins 25; Redskins @ Ravens 32
Question(s) of the day: The defensive line
Personnel has barely changed on the D-Line, but do you feel that second year Joe Barry coordination will help? #NTK— Christian Le Bon (@ChristianBurt) September 6, 2016
When I put out a call for Redskins questions for this post the vast majority of them were about the defensive line. I chose this one to represent many queries on the subject.
First, Chris, it would be inaccurate to say that the D-line personnel has barely changed. Half of the six linemen who made the 53 are new to the organization in 2016. Ziggy Hood and Kendall Reyes signed as free agents and Anthony Lanier made it as an undrafted free agent.
But I can understand why you might think that the personnel is the same because I’m not sure we can expect different results. The 2015 Redskins were 26th in the NFL allowing 122.6 yards per game and 30th in yards per carry, giving up 4.8 yards per carry. It’s hard to look at the line—and, yes, there is more to rushing defense than the line but it starts there—and figure that they will do much better this year.
The rub with hoping that continuity with Barry and DL coach Rob Akey is at the top of the post here. Three of the players are new so it’s all new to them. Sure, holdovers Chris Baker, Kedric Golston, and Ricky Jean Francois can give the new guys some pointers here and there but it’s not the same as having actually played in the system.
All of this doesn’t mean that the Redskins’ defense is doomed. They do have continuity at linebacker and Preston Smith could be a monster setting the edge. I see Will Compton, in his first full year as that starter and signal caller, making more of a difference in the run game. So the rushing defense could be better. But it can’t make great improvement in that area without improvement on the line and I don’t see that coming.
For one other comment on the defensive line, check out my Facebook post below.
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In case you missed it
- Redskins announce 2016 captains
- DeSean Jackson on 2016: It's going to be something special
- Cravens takes first steps towards hybrid role
- Ranking Redskins' 2016 Opponents: Running Backs
- NTK: Why did the Redskins keep a third QB?