Redskins bye week grades: Defensive line

At times the Redskins look like a team that could make some serious noise in the playoffs and at other times they look like a team that will struggle to make the playoffs. At 4-3-1, they’re still in the thick of things as they catch a breather at the bye. It’s been an interesting couple of months, indeed, and over the next few days CSN Mid-Atlantic reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will hand out their first half grades, position-by-position.

Tandler: This is all too predictable. A unit that was in desperate need of upgrades this past offseason got very little help. So the group isn’t performing very well. Go figure.

Chris Baker is the best of the bunch, a solid combination of strength, size, and agility. But he probably would be a rotational player on many NFL teams. Most of the rest of the guys are try-hard veterans with great character and solid football IQ. But they struggle to get the job done on a consistent basis. Matt Ioannidis is by far the youngest of the group. The rookie has flashed some ability in limited action but his impact has been very limited.

The Redskins are 26th in total rushing defense and 31st in yards per attempt against them. That’s not all on the D-line but rushing defense certainly starts there. Baker has two sacks and some other lineman have one but they haven’t made much of an impact in the passing game.


The low grade here is as much a reflection of the organization's long-term neglect of the position as it is of the individuals who are playing there.

Grade: D

Finlay: Tandler kinda nailed this one. It's not the fault of the current D-line that they struggle so much against the run, it's the fault of the concept to try to put spare parts together. Baker, Ricky Jean François and Ziggy Hood have all played well in spots, but they are outmanned and play too many snaps. Baker has the second highest overall rating on the Redskins defense per Pro Football Focus, though he has logged nearly 400 snaps already through eight games. 

The reality here is that Redskins brass needs to spend next offseason investing in the defensive line, both through the draft and through free agency. The team has a lot of picks - and a lot of cash. Look back to Scot McCoughan's first year in Washington, when he drafted Brandon Scherff and made clear fixing the offensive line was his priority. It worked. This winter, the GM needs to turn that focus to the other side of the trenches.

Grade: D

Consensus Grade: D

Tandler and JP grade the Redskins at the bye:

Want more Redskins? Click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes or press play below.