Disappointing? Yeah. I’d say so.
Although we all knew the Redskins secondary was questionable coming into the season, we counted on trotting out one of the best front-sevens in football every Sunday.
With two studs coming from the outside and a defensive line that was built to contain, there wouldn’t be so much pressure on the secondary and it would allow for the Redskins to get by with what they had in the defensive backfield.
Five games into the season, the Redskins have just eight sacks and are allowing nearly 330 passing yards per game. Albeit without Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker, the Redskins highly-anticipated pass-rush is now a distant memory.
On Thursday, Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett expressed his frustration with the Redskins’ current pass-rush and spoke specifically about defensive linemen Jarvis Jenkins and Barry Cofield.
“I thought Jarvis is doing a really good job on the run. I thought he’s played exceptional against the run,” Haslett said. “We’ve just got to keep working at him. We need to get him a little more involved in the pass rush also.”
Haslett continued, “I thought Barry played well. … He’s another one that we can maybe rely on a little bit more to get some more rush because he’s got a good knack of doing that and knocking balls down and doing things like that.”
To me it sounds like Haslett is trying to call out these guys without the real ammo to do it. He gives them a compliment and then adds a hint of ‘we-need-more’.
Although Jenkins hasn’t been as explosive as we saw him last summer, his progression this season is noted. After missing all of his rookie season last year to a blown ACL, it’s important to remember that Jenkins is just as experienced as a rookie. So in addition to redefining his burst after major knee surgery, Jenkins continues to adapt to the NFL game speed.
As for Cofield, I think it’s more like a chore to criticize his play through five games this season.
Despite only one sack so far, Coefield is on pace to top his sack total from last year. Not to mention, the unglamorous nose tackle position means that he’s taking on double-teams and pushing the pocket, while being stout in run-support and deflecting passes at the line.
While I’m not critical of the defensive gameplan against the Falcons in Week 5, the Redskins’ pass-rush is undoubtedly reflective of Haslett’s scheme and strategy for any given game.
“We went to a lot more three-man rush; we did four-man rush a lot last week,” middle linebacker London Fletcher said. “That affects your pass rush because you’re asking three guys to try to beat five guys in protection and sometimes they were keeping seven guys in there protecting. That’s going be tough to get to the quarterback.”
And, again, Haslett’s gameplan against Atlanta was understandable. Playing with a bend-don’t-break mentality is acceptable given the secondary talent and a potent Falcons offense. But if you’re going to go out and play like that, I’d praise the guys up front rather than appear critical.
If Haslett wants to spit words at the media, that’s okay. But throwing names in there seems unnecessary.
Haslett isn’t exactly a prized possession around these parts, himself.