Redskins Quarter Season Review – Five hard truths

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4. The defensive line+Keenan Robinson is carrying the team

Sep 13, 2015; Landover, MD, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) attempts a pass as Washington Redskins defensive end Stephen Paea (90) and outside linebacker Trent Murphy (93) pressure during the second half at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Looking at the advanced stats for the Redskins on the season, what’s amazing is that the offense appears little changed in efficiency and effectiveness from 2014. They still have a negative turnover rate but the yards per drive and points per drive aren’t better in a statistically significant way.

So why do a lot of people have the perception that they’re a better team and/or potentially have “turned the corner?”

The answer is simple: the defensive line and front 7 in general has played much better.

Defensive sacks are up 26% from this point in the 2014 season to the same point in the 2015 season. Hurries are up nearly 45%! It’s much harder to run the ball against the Redskins than it was in 2014.

All this is reflected in the yards per drive given up stat. The defense has improved there by almost 23%. Teams are moving the ball less effectively.

The difference in the run defense is almost completely from the acquisition of Terrance Knighton. Opposing teams aren’t running it much at him, and when they do they’re only getting 2.65 yards per carry.

Running to the edges has been more effective but Keenan Robinson and Trent Murphy have done a good job keeping them under 4 yards per carry to the outside.

Robinson has struggled against the pass since he’s not a coverage LB, but he has thrived when the ball is thrown very short and is asked to cover basically a run play in space.

Since teams can’t do long developing routes without being hurries and Robinson has the hot reads bottled up decently well, the Redskins only really have been vulnerable to the quick deep throw.

This is something that the Eagles exploited on sunday. Expect to see far more of it, especially if the opposing offense can reliably bait Dashon Goldson up into taking a clear out route leaving a WR on Trenton Robinson and one of the CBs.

Next: Penalties, penalties, penalties