Quick Links

Need to Know: It's science--Preston Smith is one of the NFL's top pass rushers

USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: It's science--Preston Smith is one of the NFL's top pass rushers

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, February 7, 35 days before NFL free agency starts.

A scientific evaluation of Preston Smith

Preston Smith is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. That’s not an opinion, that’s science talking.

According to data gathered by the NFL via Next Gen Stats, the Redskins’ outside linebacker had a higher pass rush pressure rate than anyone in the NFL in 2017.

That’s right. A higher pressure rate than Von Miller, Demarcus Lawrence, Aaron Donald, Everson Griffen, or whatever other pass rushers you want to name.

The data does not come from someone with a pen and notepad watching the All-22 from NFL Game Pass. Next Gen Stats are generated from the precise GPS chips that are located in each player’s pads. If the pass rusher is within a certain distance of the quarterback at the time the pass is released, he is credited with a pressure.

Per that data, Smith got pressure on 15.9 percent of his 309 pass rushing plays. That put him just a tick ahead of the Cowboys’ Lawrence at 15.8 percent. In third was another member of the Redskins, Junior Galette, with a rate of 15.1 percent on his 219 attempts.

The Redskins had one other player in the top 12 with Ryan Kerrigan 10th with a rate of 13.4 percent on 380 pass rush plays. Only one other team, the Rams with Donald and Robert Quinn, had more than one player in the top 12.

Something else should be noted here. The old adage is that a baseball player can fail seven out of every 10 trips to the plate and still have a shot at the Hall of Fame. As a pass rusher, your failure rate can be even higher, nearly 85 percent, and you can still be one of the best in the business. The top rushers average about two or three pressures per game. Just like seasons where the .300 hitter goes through some 0 for 4 games, the top pass rusher will have games where he just can’t get to the quarterback.

The Redskins organization will have some work to do if it wants to keep the trio together. Kerrigan is signed through 2020 so he is not a concern. Galette was unhappy with his playing time last year (he replied to the tweet with these stats in it wondering if his snap count was too high) and he might move on as a free agent this year unless the Redskins can persuade him they will give him more snaps.

Smith should be the priority. He has completed three years of his four-year rookie contract and he is now eligible to get a contract extension. The Redskins would be wise to at least attempt to lock him up for the next several years. But Smith might want to wait a year and test the open market where he could really cash in.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 22
—NFL Draft (4/26) 78
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 214

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it


Quick Links

The Redskins defensive line is generating a ton of hype, and here are nine quotes to prove it

The Redskins defensive line is generating a ton of hype, and here are nine quotes to prove it

If you're looking for a reason to buy into the 2019 Redskins — and plenty of fans are — then direct your eyes straight to their defensive line. In fact, one player is already doing just that.

"I'm excited because of how well our defense is playing," Nick Sundberg told the Redskins Talk podcast on Tuesday. "Watching that D-line fly around is a lot of fun. They're young and they're a force."

Sundberg's a smart man. That unit, led by Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Matt Ioannidis, figures to be a game-wrecking, running back tossing, quarterback harassing group all season long.

The long snapper isn't the only one to be extremely complimentary of the defensive line, either. All offseason long, it's a spot that's drawn praise from other players, coaches, and analysts.

Of course, and this is something Allen loves to point out, words don't add up to anything. Those guys still need to produce, or else all this talk is a waste.

However, it's still fun to bask in all the hype that's building behind Washington's defensive front. So, in case you're one of those fans who need something to believe in, these nine glowing quotes about that position should help get you there:

Jim Tomsula (from minicamp): "I feel really good about the people that are in the room. It's the quality of guys. We all talk all about how long their arms are, how many times they bench press this or that, they talk about what the 40 is. The one thing that gets overlooked a lot is the type of individual it is, the makeup of the guy... They're just really, really good guys that can turn it on on the football field.

Jay Gruden (from minicamp): "It's the effort, the tenacity they play with, the accountability they demand of each other. It's everything you want in a player both physically and, obviously, mentally and leadership-wise."

Allen (from minicamp): "When you have a group of guys who hold you accountable, it really pushes you to be your best every day. The thing we always say is, ‘You should never feel comfortable.’ We try to make everything and everybody uncomfortable in this building. That is just our goal every day, to make it as uncomfortable as possible for everybody to help promote growth."

Rob Ryan (from minicamp) on how the DL makes his job as LBs coach easier: "I like this setup. [Tomsula's] got some great players upfront. He's such a great teacher, it's been a lot of fun just to watch here. [The linebackers] are clean on a lot of stuff that usually you have to work through." 

Josh Norman (from training camp): "I don’t even want to talk about D-line because I get [excited] just talking about those guys because they are just so freakin' phenomenal – they really are. Those bulls up front really make everything go for us. If they can thread through the offensive line like they’ve been doing... oh man, we’re going to be a force to be reckoned with."

Brandon Scherff (from training camp): "We’ve got an amazing D-front upfront, and even the guys behind them are doing a really good job. That's what we like going against in practice, you know, we're practicing against some of the best guys in the NFL."

NFL Network's Charley Casserly (from two weeks ago): "Matt Ioannidis is one of the most under-the-radar good pass rushers in the NFL."

National NFL writer Doug Farrar (from last week): "Been reviewing Daron Payne's rookie tape this morning. Frightening combination of short-area speed and aggressive strength. Double-digit sack potential in a well-rounded overall package." 

NFL Network's Brian Baldinger (after Bengals preseason matchup): "Redskins defensive line had a dominant performance... Will be a problem."


Quick Links

Redskins vs. Falcons Preseason Week 3: Time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

Redskins vs. Falcons Preseason Week 3: Time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

The Redskins are 0-2 in preseason play thus far but are looking to leave Atlanta with a W as they head down to Mercedes-Benz Stadium for Week 3. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. this Thursday.

There are two preseason games left, and Jay Gruden still has not named a Week 1 starting quarterback.

Trent Williams has yet to return to anything Washington Redskins related, and all eyes are on Donald Penn and Wes Martin to carve their niche, perhaps in a starting unit. 

There is plenty more to look for in the next Redskins game, and NBC Sports Washington is here to provide everything else.

You can live stream every preseason game LIVE on the MyTeams App.


Who: Washington Redskins vs. Atlanta Falcons
What: Game 3 of the 2019 NFL Preseason
When: Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA


TV Channel: NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)
Live Stream:  MyTeams App (all four preseason games)
Radio: Redskins Radio Network

Point Spread: Washington, -3
Over/Under: 41.5
Weather: 92 degrees, partly cloudy


5:00 PM: Redskins 100
5:30 PM: Redskins Nation
6:00 PM: Redskins 100
6:30 PM: Redskins Kickoff Live
7:30 PM: NFL Preseason: Redskins @ Atlanta Falcons
10:30 PM: Redskins Postgame Live
11:30 PM: D.C. Sports Live


Week 1: Thurs., 8/8, vs. Cleveland Browns, (30-10, L)
Week 2: Thurs., 8/15, vs. Cincinnati Bengals, (23-13, L)
Week 3: Thurs., 8/22, vs. Atlanta Falcons, 7:30 p.m. 
Week 4: Thurs., 8/29, vs. Baltimore Ravens, 7:30 p.m.