5. Defending the deep pass - The Redskins defense has given up 19 passes of over 20 yards this season. Contrast this to the eight plays over twenty yards the offense has made, and 19 is an alarming number. The Redskins have two pick sixes this season and those are good, but so are passes defended on third downs.
4. Creating Turnovers - But you can always use turnovers. The Redskins have created six turnovers this season, which isn’t a bad number, but it could be better. The offense is turning the ball over more this season than last, so the defense needs to create more to have a good give away / take away ratio.
3. Giving up fewer points - The Redskins are giving up 28 points a game this season. This is way too many points for a team that expects to get to the Super Bowl. If the defense could bring this number down, then the offense wouldn’t be in as deep a hole playing catch up.
2. Tackling - Head coach Mike Shanahan stated that you want to get better at tackling as the season moves forward. The main reason is that tackling isn’t practiced much in the off-season for fear of injuries. The Redskins can only hope that Shanahan is right, because at times tackling has been atrocious on defense in the first quarter of the season.
1. Defending Up-tempo Offenses - In the first game of the season, the Redskins defense seemed shell-shocked while defending the Philadelphia Eagles up-tempo offense. Other teams subsequently have had better results against it over the past three games.
So having seen it once, one would think the Redskins would be better prepared for the future, and they’ll have to be. As they’ll have to be as they face the Eagles again, and the Denver Broncos are coming up on the schedule as well.