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Vic Fangio vs. NFC East

A look at how Vic Fangio's defense did against the NFC East this year.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

With the circulating rumors of Vic Fangio's name being re-entered into the Redskins defensive coordinator race, I watched some tape on Fangio's defense. Not only did I get to watch his defense perform, but I was able to watch it against the Eagles, Cowboys and Giants as the NFC West and NFC East collided this year. If Vic Fangio ends up getting the job then these will obviously turn into film breakdowns and I will illustrate how he dealt with each offense of the Redskins rivals but for now, I'm going to share a few notes from each game.

Week 1 - 49ers defeat Cowboys 28-17

Fangio's defense racks up 4 turnovers (3 INTs, 1 FR), 3 sacks, and 1 defensive touchdown. Cowboys didn't score a touchdown until they were down 28-3 and nearly in the 4th quarter.

Week 4 - 49ers defeat Eagles 26-21

Fangio's defense racks up 4 turnovers (2 INTs, 2 FR),  and 1 sack. They held LeSean McCoy to 1.7 yards per carry. The Eagles 21 total points were actually a punt return for a TD, a blocked punt for a TD, and an interception return for a TD. Fangio's defense gave up zero points.

Week 11 - 49ers defeat Giants 17-10

Fangio's defense racks up 5 turnovers (all INTs), and 2 sacks. The Giants scored a touchdown on their first drive and held in check the rest of the game.

Looking at those three match-ups, Fangio's defense forced 4.3 turnovers and 2 sacks per game. If you average it out, they also only gave up 9 points per game. That's an impressive feat in today's scoring league. Fangio's resume should earn him a look regardless but this past season's work against the NFC East should make him even more enticing. Now keep in mind, he won't be able to bring the players who made all those plays for him (at least not all of them) and Washington's D hasn't shown the same skill as his previous spot, but it'll be Scot McCloughan's job to change that.

In those three games I watched, it's safe to say that Fangio's 3-4 defense is different than Jim Haslett's. Fangio isn't nearly as aggressive as Haslett's blitz schemes were. Per @joecoolmiller, here are the differences in blitz percentages between the two:


Fangio wants to win up front with 4 guys, and a 5 front on run downs. Fangio would rather play coverage and prevent big plays forcing offenses to string together 10-12 play drives than to sell out. This tests an offense's patience and can lead to turnovers. Of course, this puts a lot of pressure on the front 4 to get a pass rush. In San Francisco, he had the talent to do that. It remains to be seen in Washington.

I don't know if Washington indeed hires Vic Fangio, but in the first off-season where the front office appears to be doing things a lot differently, it's good to see his name back in the mix before the Redskins rushed to a decision.