The Redskins ranked among the worst 10 teams in the NFL at stopping the run in 2016, and much of the offseason was spent working to revamp their defensive line to change those stats. Well, the organization will know early if they did enough to impact change.
Within their first seven games, the Redskins will face the 2nd, 4th and 6th best rushing attacks in the NFL, not to mention an opening Week 1 game against the Eagles' 11th ranked rushing offense.
After the Eagles, the Redskins face Oakland in Week 4 on Sunday Night Football. The Raiders posted nearly 2,000 yards on the ground last season and averaged 4.4 yards-per-carry. In Week 5, the 49ers come to FedEx Field. San Francisco ranked 4th in the NFL last season in rushing, and should be even better running the ball with Kyle Shanahan in charge.
Then, of course, the vaunted Cowboys rush attack comes to FedEx Field in Week 8. In two games against the Redskins as a rookie in 2016, Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 180 yards and three touchdowns.
Redskins Team President Bruce Allen talked in March how the franchise knows how important stopping the run is within the NFC East, and the team worked to improve in that category.
Washington selected Jonathan Allen with the 17th pick of the NFL Draft, the team's first defensive lineman taken in the first round in 20 years. In free agency, the Redskins added Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain, two players with potential that have dealt with injury issues in the past. Nose tackle remains a question mark, but Jay Gruden seems confident that new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula can make things work in the middle of their line.
Redskins fans better hope Gruden is right, and Tomsula, along with the influx of new talent, can improve the performance. The tests will come early, and often.
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