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Snap Judgments: Week 8- Redskins at Cowboys- DEFENSE

Looking beyond the boxscore to see how the Redskins utilized their players on defense

Tom Pennington

We got Dallas!!!

It's Thursday and I'm still beaming. The Redskins, and especially their defense, came to play! There is no better shot of pride in the arm of a Redskins fan than beating the Cowboys in Dallas. It's funny how the Redskins dropped from the 7th overall defense to the 11th after what I thought was their best defensive game outside of Jacksonville. Haslett has been public enemy #1 for a long time now but we have to give credit where it is due. He lit a fire under Tony Romo all game long, and especially when he mistakenly returned to the game.

Last week I said the Redskins kept hope alive after a win against the Titans. Well, an impressive win against their bitter rival brings optimism back into the equation. Can't ask for much more than that.

The Redskins took 65 Snaps against them

39 resulted in passes

26 resulted in runs

Down Number of Snaps
1st 29
2nd 22
3rd 12
4th 1

  • The defense forced 3rd down on 12 of 29 sets of downs. That's a little above average at 41%.
  • However, holding the Cowboys to a conversion rate of 5 out of 13 3rd and 4th down attempts is a strong 38%.
  • In the last two weeks the Redskins defense has held the Titans and Cowboys to 7 out of 24 on 3rd and 4th downs.
Personnel Packages

Package Number of Snaps
Base 3-4 34
Nickel 2-4-5 30
Nickel 'Psycho' 1-5-5 1
  • It's clear that Haslett has replaced Brian Orakpo with Frank Kearse as a rush lineman in passing situations.
  • Adam Hayward was a coverage MLB in the only snap where the 1-5-5 package was utilized.
  • Go big or go home. Haslett dialed up 5 or more rushers on 20 of 39 pass attempts!
  • Go bigger or go home. 6 of those 20 blitzes called for 6 or more rushers.
  • The key wrinkle that the defense unveiled was a 5-man rush. Pre-snap the Redskins showed 2 down lineman, 4 LBs, and both safeties crowding the line of scrimmage. Hatcher would lineup at NT while Kearse lined up at LE to shoot the B-gap. After showing that look, Kearse would flip to the other side at RE above the LG. Already on the right side of the line would be Trent Murphy at ROLB and Brandon Meriweather outside of him at SS. At GO, Murphy would stunt inside the A-gap while Kearse occupies the LG and LT shooting the B. This would allow Meriweather to rush the corner freely.
  • Haslett used the above set 7 times in the game with slight variations of Kearse flipping to the other side and Kerrigan rushing instead of Murphy. One time Ryan Clark was the rush safety at the line as well.
  • This overload blitz produced 2 sacks, consistent pressure, and was even utilized in the final play of the game.

Defensive Snaps

Snap Percentage Number of Snaps Name
100% 65 Keenan Robinson, David Amerson, Bashaud Breeland, Ryan Clark
98% 64 Brandon Meriweather
94% 61 Trent Murphy, Ryan Kerrigan, Perry Riley
68% 44 Jason Hatcher
48% 31 EJ Biggers
43% 28 Chris Baker
40% 26 Jarvis Jenkins
38% 25 Frank Kearse
34% 22 Kedric Golston
29% 19 Stephen Bowen
11% 7 Everette Brown
6% 4 Will Compton
2% 1 Trenton Robinson, Adam Hayward

  • Frank Kearse is a vital part of this Redskins pass rush. Who would have thought that in August? He played in a career high 25 snaps. Although the Redskins are rotating their lineman by series, Kearse is used exclusively with Hatcher on passing downs.
  • Stephen Bowen saw an increase in playing time after getting on the field only 9 times last week. Bowen played in 19 snaps this week. Only 1 came on 3rd down. Bowen is working his way back as a run stuffing end. While most other defensive lineman combinations have worked together, Bowen and Kearse are unlikely to ever share the field.
  • Everette Brown hadn't even been with the team for a week and still saw 7 snaps. He spelled Trent Murphy in the 2nd and Ryan Kerrigan in the 4th. He rushed only 3 of 7 times.
  • Tracy Porter was active but did not take a snap.
  • Kerrigan played almost exclusively as the LOLB lining above the RT to rush. Murphy has taken over for Orakpo on the right side.
  • Brandon Meriweather or Ryan Clark were asked to come down from their safety positions and blitz on 14 snaps. That is, easily, the most Haslett has used the safeties to rush the passer this year.