The start of the Washington Redskins’ 2012 season could not have even been scripted by minds of the most irrational or ignorant football fans. Team coaches and DC sports commentators all maintained that as went the Redskins defense, particularly its front seven, so would go the entire team, and they could have not have been more inconceivably correct.
Three games into the season, no one could have expected the Redskins to have the number one scoring offense and the number two rushing offense in the NFL. This team, with its porous offensive line, has defied all expectations by showcasing its wide array of talent and demonstrating a prolific ability to score. With these incredible early season statistics, why are the Redskins 1-2? Quite simply, it’s the defense.
The team’s secondary weaknesses have been well documented and deeply explored, and these concerns have proven to be valid even. In the first three games, the Redskins defense has allowed 1,012 passing yards and is giving up 33.7 points per game, which is fourth-most in the league.
Projected starting safety Tanard Jackson’s indefinite suspension for once again foolishly violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy further depleted an already weak Redskins secondary. To further exacerbate the team’s defensive maladies, both starting linebacker Brian Orakpo and defense end Adam Carriker experienced season-ending injuries during the Redskins week two 31-28 loss to the St. Louis Rams. Both Orakpo and Carriker served as key components of defensive coordinator, Jim Haslett’s 3-4 defense.
So an outstanding question looms…Do the Redskins have the appropriate defensive personnel to continue playing a 3-4 defense without applying even more pressure on a young, overachieving offense?
Have no doubt, there will come a point in which this offense will be slowed down tremendously by capable and veteran defenses. The triple option, for which the Redskins have demonstrated a great affinity, is not a successful NFL scheme for the long-term, and it exposes Robert Griffin III to unnecessary hits from the defense. This defense will have to prove it can stop opposing offenses and shift momentum.
With young players such a Griffin III, linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, and running back Alfred Morris, the Redskins realize they have a bright future ahead. And for this reason, the team needs to dance with the one that brought them and continue utilizing its 3-4 defense. It may be a rough season for the defense given its losses and overall deficiencies, but staying the course will serve them well into the future.