Washington Football

Washington Football

Welcome to "Bullish or Bearish?" In this series, JP Finlay and Pete Hailey will pick bold, fan-submitted statements about the Redskins and decide whether they're personally bullish or bearish on those statements.

First up is this take about Washington's pass rush:

Now, their analysis...

JP's thoughts

Let’s start things with a bang — I’m BULLISH. Washington finished the 2019 season 10th in the NFL with 46 sacks, and that was only eight behind the league leaders in Pittsburgh. 

Well, what’s changed? 

His name is Chase Young and I legitimately think he will go for double digit sacks this fall. The second overall pick has been clear that his goal is to break Jevon Kearse’s rookie sack record, which would mean 15 sacks or more for Young. That goal is nuts, but if Young can get to 10 or 12 sacks, the impact would be exceptional. 

Beyond that, expect Ryan Kerrigan to have a much bigger season. From 2016 to 2018 Kerrigan finished with al least 11 sacks. In 2019, that total dropped to 5.5. He’ll be better than that. 

And then there is the rest of the defense. 

Montez Sweat will be better after a promising rookie season with seven sacks. Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Matt Ioannidis will combine for at least 20 sacks, and 25 seems like a reasonable projection. Then think about the better coaching and scheme that will come with Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio.

Listen, I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but if @DMAC_Skins says Washington will lead the league in sacks, who am I to disagree?



Pete's thoughts

I think this group is going to be soooooooooo much better thanks to Rivera and Del Rio's arrivals (and Greg Manusky's departure, too, which absolutely matters on its own).

I think Young is going to be succcccchhhh a problem as soon as he sets foot on an NFL field.

I think Sweat is going to be muccccccccchhhh more effective in his second pro campaign.

I think Kerrigan is going to be wayyyyyyyyyyyy (hope this bit isn't annnoying you yet) more productive in 2020 than he was in 2019.

Lastly, I think the trio of Allen, Payne and Ioannidis will cause plenttttttttyyy of disruption every time they suit up.


But even with all of those thoughts, I'm still BEARISH on the idea that the Redskins will finish this season as the league's best when it comes to accumulating sacks.

I think a jump from 10th to, say, fifth, is completely realistic and doable for this talented crew. But I think the following pair of factors will prevent them from leaping all the way to No. 1:

  • An iffy cornerback corps that won't consistently hold up and make quarterbacks wait, and wait, and wait for someone to come open
  • An offense that won't score enough, which means the Burgundy and Gold will be playing from behind more often than not, which means opposing offenses won't be inclined to pass much in the second half of contests

Fans: Get riled up about these pass rushers. Seriously. And if you want to envision them dropping more quarterbacks than any other collection, go for it. I won't discourage you from thinking that way — but I also won't be joining you. Not quite. 

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