Super Bowl LI is quickly approacing between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons.
Last year, at this time, we ranked the top-50 Redskins on the roster and had fun honoring 50 great years of the Super Bowl. Everything was feel good and happy because of a divisional title. This year, despite a winning record, nothing but disappointment reigns and for good reason.
No playoffs, an inconsistent offense down the stretch and a defense that had more holes than swiss cheese.
Because the free world blamed the defense for all of the Redskins issues and problems, conveniently ignoring many other contributing factors, we'll focus for now on what the Redskins need to do on defense to get to a Super Bowl.
We profiled three huge areas that they fell short when compared to the AFC Champion
New England Patriots in part-one of this series
, but now it's time to shine the light on what the Falcons have and the Redskins are missing.
The Falcons are far from a great defensive team but that’s because they are incredibly young and learning on the fly.
They will eventually get better and better because of one huge key component.
1. They are FAST. They play fast. They do everything at a high tempo.
The Redskins, quite honestly, appear much slower.
They make up for mistakes by flying to the football and closing space in a hurry.
Don’t believe me? You’ll see it on Sunday night and if you don’t want to wait until then –
Bill Belichick has you covered
Speed and quickness off the snap along with tempo is what you’ve seen for years in Seattle. The Seahawks do little in terms of being fancy. I see the Falcons doing a bit more but they are similar.
Of course, that’s the Dan Quinn connection who was in Seattle and helped build that great defense.
It’s also interesting when you look at how slow (overall) the Redskins are on defense. They don’t have a lot of unit speed, especially with Junior Galette out for the past two seasons and DeAngelo Hall hurt for a good part of the last three years.
Josh Norman is not what I would consider fast for a corner. Nor is Bashaud Breeland. Duke Ihenacho has a great closing burst and is probably the fastest player on the defense, but he has other limitations.
The Redskins simply have very little burst off the snap and they don’t have great closing speed to play the zone concepts that Joe Barry and other coaches wanted to play to cover up blemishes.
All too often, the Redskins defenders would be a second late or unable to close and prevent a first down because they were seemingly in slow-motion.
It’s interesting because Scot McCloughan wants bigger and more physical players overall. I don’t see enough of that to justify the lack of overall team speed on the Redskins defense.
Maybe it’s just me?
2 – Washington does not have an elite edge pass rusher like Vic Beasley
is turning into.
The Falcons top pick in Quinn’s first draft two years ago (8
overall, 2015) had 15.5 sacks in his second season after a disappointing first season. He hasn’t had one yet in two postseason games but that could easily change against a somewhat suspect Patriots interior offensive line.
Beasley will move around the line of scrimmage area and you may see him attacking that weaker interior in the Super Bowl.
He is a speed to kill guy who is still developing in run defense and pass drops, but he provides something the Redskins can only dream of finding.
Maybe that guy would have been Junior Galette
, if he didn't blow out each one of his Achilles before he ever played a preseason game for the Redskins, over the last two seasons.
Ryan Kerrigan is more of a power-and-effort guy with limited moves. Trent Murphy is still developing but is more of the same, while using his hands better over the last two years. Preston Smith has flashe very good athleticism but it needs to be more consistent and he lacks elite get-off.
Chris Russell has covered the Washington Redskins for six seasons for multiple media outlets and was a part of the Redskins Radio Network broadcast team for the last five. He covers the Redskins for Monumental Network (www.DCHotRead.com), WashingtonTimes.com, BreakingBurgundy.com & Warpath Magazine. Listen to Chris on Washington D.C.'s # 1 sports radio station, 106.7 The FAN