Greg Manusky's first-team defense faced off against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers' starters on a drive that lasted for 15 plays (16 snaps) and went for 75 yards and a touchdown. The defense gave up 7 first downs, including 3 third-down conversions, and committed 2 first-down resulting penalties (8 yards) on that series.
That is certainly not the result you want to see for this revamped unit, but at the same time it's important to remember that it came against one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
The bulk of the starters remained in the game on the next series (sans Norman, Swearinger and Kerrigan), and on that drive it seemed like the only direction the Packers could go was backwards, as the Redskins recorded an 8-yard sack and a 3-yard TFL on the first two plays.
Virtually all of the remaining first teamers headed to the bench after the Packers went three-and-out on that series. The 20ish snaps taken by the team's top defenders is right around what you expect to see in the second preseason game, so no surprises there like we saw on offense.
The second and third stringers held their own outside of allowing a big play in each of the final three quarters (gains of 38 yards, 25 yards and 23 yards). Unfortunately, allowing that many big plays is often the difference between winning and losing in the NFL, and for the second week in a row it was the latter for the Redskins.
Hopefully that second drive for the first-team D and their two series against the Ravens' starters (all three-and-outs) is more indicative of how this unit will play when the games actually count. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle, because there is a large gulf between Aaron Rodgers and backups Ryan Mallett and Brett Hundley.
We should learn much more about the defense next week, when the starters will get extended run against Andy Dalton and the Bengals' plethora of offensive weapons.
Note: * - Denotes starters in the following tables
|Defensive Linemen (11 Players)|
|Terrell McClain *||14||20%|
|Ziggy Hood *||12||17%|
|Stacy McGee *||11||16%|
Stacy McGee- For the second week in a row, Stacy McGee was out there on the first play that the team used its base personnel (3-4) on. McGee got on the stat sheet (1 assisted tackle) after failing to do so against the Ravens, but he also committed yet another costly penalty (12 men on the field) when he failed to get to the sideline before Aaron Rodgers snapped the ball on third down. The Packers would go on to cap off that with a touchdown.
McGee has now arguably cost the defense 14 points over the course of the team's two preseason games. He has done more harm than good so far.
Ziggy Hood- Ziggy Hood also made his second straight appearance on the starting base defense. The change was that in this contest he moved over to the nose tackle position from defensive end. Nine of Hood's twelve snaps were taken with the first-team defense.
He too recorded one assisted tackle, but unlike McGee, he was also able to get some pressure on the quarterback.
Terrell McClain- McClain was the new starter in the 3-4. He recorded one solo tackle and a quarterback hit. McClain replaced Phil Taylor on the first-team (Taylor was the starting NT at Baltimore) in this package.
Phil Taylor- Taylor did not see any action against Green Bay's starters and only played on a team-low 9 defensive snaps in the game, but he made the most of the time that he got. Phil Taylor registered a sack and two pressures on six rushes.
Nickel Package (Allen & Ioannidis)- Jonathan Allen and Matt Ioannidis took 11 of the first-team defense's 13 snaps in the nickel, after taking all three such snaps last week.
Allen scored a nice TFL on a screen pass, but failed to record any other traditional stats. He also was not able to get any pressures, after doing so on three occasions against the Ravens.
Ioannidis recorded a solo tackle and hit Hundley on the aforementioned screen.
Joey Mbu- Joey Mbu dominated the Packers on the opening drive of the third quarter. He teamed with Lynden Trail for a gain of two on a Jamaal Williams run, stuffed Williams for a loss of 5 on the ensuing play and then team with Chris Carter for a sack on third down.
Other Defensive Linemen- Anthony Lanier led all Washington D-linemen in snaps (21) for the second straight game. He assisted on two Packer's runs of 3 yards. A.J. Francis led all Skins DL with 4 total and 3 assisted tackles.
Brandon Banks made two tackles and recorded a pressure. PFF rated him as Washington's highest rated D-linemen in the game (80.8). Ondre Pipkins played on 15 snaps and did not record a stat for the second week in a row.
|Outside Linebackers (7 Players)|
|Preston Smith *||18||26%|
|Ryan Kerrigan *||14||20%|
Ryan Kerrigan- Kerrigan was quiet again in this one. He has only seen the field on 17 defensive snaps across the first two games, but he has yet to record any traditional statistics or pressures.
Preston Smith- The third-year Mississippi State product returned from injury and notched 2 tackles, 2 pressures and a sack. He played on all but 2 of the snaps with the defensive starters.
Chris Carter- Carter assisted on a tackle and third-down sack and registered a solo sack of his own on another third down. On the downside, Carter was flagged for hands to the face and was likely the culprit on the touchdown pass thrown to running back Aaron Jones.
Carter hasn't been perfect, but he has flashed on enough plays to make himself hard to cut.
Lynden Trail- Lynden Trail led the defense in snaps for the second consecutive game (34 snaps), with a handful of those snaps being taken with the first-team defense. Trail's 87 snaps through two games are 18 more than any other offensive or defensive player on the team. He also has the most total snaps (offensive + defensive + special teams snaps), with 111 of them.
He assisted on one tackle and was able to get some pressure on Green Bay's quarterbacks.
Other Inside Linebackers- New signee, Ron Thompson, got 19 snaps, but was unable to record a stat of any kind.
|Inside Linebackers (8 Players)|
|Zach Brown *||20||29%|
|Mason Foster *||20||29%|
Zach Brown- In his first start, Brown totaled 4 tackles (2 solo and 2 assisted) on runs of 2, 5, 3 and 2 yards. He did, however, give up a goal-line touchdown reception to Martellus Bennett.
Mason Foster & Will Compton- Mike linebackers, Mason Foster and Will Compton, failed to impress this week.
Foster helped Preston Smith out on a goal line stop and hit the gap hard on another play which allowed Smith to easily sack Hundley, but that was it.
Compton was another teacher's pet that failed to make an impact (see Grant, Kelley, Etc.). He played 15 defensive snaps and did not make it into the box score.
Nico Marley- Nico Marley tied for the team lead in total tackles (4), but he certainly cooled down a bit after his standout performance against the Ravens in Week 1. He did not record a pressure and all but one of his tackles came on successful Packers' plays.
Other Inside Linebackers- Like Marley, Zach Vigil also saw 27 snaps and recorded 3 solo and 1 assisted tackle.
Martrell Spaight made 3 tackles in his return from injury, with one of them going for a loss of 3 yards. His two other tackles came on Green Bay runs of 1 yard and 4 yards.
Josh Harvey-Clemons notched 3 tackles (2 solo and 1 assisted), including a TFL. He led the team with a 27.3% tacklers-per-opportunity rate.
Pete Robertson got on the board with a tackle and a sack-fumble. Pro Football Focus gave Robertson a grade of 80.8, the highest mark by a linebacker on the team.
|Cornerbacks (9 Players)|
|Bashaud Breeland *||20||29%|
|Josh Norman *||17||24%|
Josh Norman & Bashaud Breeland- Norman and Breeland combined to take almost all of the snaps at outside corner on the starting defense.
Norman made 2 tackles, with one of them coming on the lone reception and first down that he allowed in the game (6 yards to Davante Adams on third down).
Breeland also gave up a single reception and first down (11 yards). He had 2 solo tackles and 1 assist.
Kendall Fuller- Fuller manned the slot in the nickel package on all 13 of his snaps with the first team. He also operated as the team's primary punt returner in the second half (read more on that below). His 36 snaps were tied for most by a Redskins defensive back in the game.
Fabian Moreau- Moreau looked good in his NFL debut, but most of his best plays came on special teams. Even with that being said, he did acquit himself quite nicely on defense for his first game ever in the big leagues. Moreau made defended a pass and made the tackle on both of the first down receptions that he allowed to Jeff Janis, one of which went for 38 yards, Green Bay's longest play of the night.
Other Cornerbacks- Dashaun Philips led the cornerback corps with 29 snaps and chipped in with a solo and an assisted tackle.
Tevin Homer defended a pass and did not allow a single reception on his 14 snaps. He earned an 80.9 grade from PFF, the highest rating on the team. Homer looks like a good bet to make it onto the practice squad.
Joshua Holsey was credited with a TFL on Pete Robertson's sack-fumble play. Jeremiah McKinnon made one tackle on his 24 snaps.
|Safeties (8 Players)|
|Deshazor Everett *||34||49%|
|D.J. Swearinger *||18||26%|
D.J. Swearinger- Swearinger played on almost every snap with the starting unit and made tackles on passing plays of 8 and 4 yards, neither of which resulted in a first down.
Deshazor Everett- In his first start, Everett tied for the team lead in snaps by a DB (36 snaps) and played on every snap with the first-team group. He also tied for the lead in total tackles (4 total) with four other players. As is customary for strong safeties in today's NFL, Everett played several snaps at free safety.
Montae Nicholson- Nicholson was the other mid-round debut making his first appearance on an NFL field. He replaced Swearinger in the lineup at FS and made 1 solo and 2 assisted tackles.
Other Safeties- Will Blackmon only played 12 snaps, the second lowest total on the defense, and did not record a stat. Stefan McClure recorded 2 tackles and a pass defense. Fish Smithson chipped in with an assisted tackle.
ALL DEFENSIVE SNAPS
|Defense (43 Players)||Defense (continued)|
|Player||Snaps||Snap %||Player||Snaps||Snap %|
|Deshazor Everett *||34||49%||D.J. Swearinger *||18||26%|
|Lynden Trail||34||49%||Josh Norman *||17||24%|
|Montae Nicholson||30||43%||A.J. Francis||16||23%|
|Dashaun Philips||29||41%||Joey Mbu||16||23%|
|Pete Robertson||28||40%||Will Compton||15||21%|
|Chris Carter||27||39%||Quinton Dunbar||15||21%|
|Nico Marley||27||39%||Josh Harvey-Clemons||15||21%|
|Zach Vigil||27||39%||Ondre Pipkins||15||21%|
|Fabian Moreau||25||36%||Martrell Spaight||15||21%|
|Tevin Homer||24||34%||Matt Ioannidis||14||20%|
|Stefan McClure||24||34%||Ryan Kerrigan *||14||20%|
|Jeremiah McKinnon||24||34%||Terrell McClain *||14||20%|
|Fish Smithson||23||33%||Will Blackmon||12||17%|
|Anthony Lanier||21||30%||Ziggy Hood *||12||17%|
|Bashaud Breeland *||20||29%||Jonathan Allen||11||16%|
|Zach Brown *||20||29%||Stacy McGee *||11||16%|
|Mason Foster *||20||29%||Phil Taylor||9||13%|
|Kendall Fuller||20||29%||Ryan Anderson||DNP||N/A|
|Joshua Holsey||19||27%||Su'a Cravens||DNP||N/A|
|Ron Thompson Jr.||19||27%||Junior Galette||DNP||N/A|
|Brandon Banks||18||26%||DeAngelo Hall||PUP||N/A|
|Preston Smith *||18||26%|
|Special Teams (65 Players)||Special Teams (continued)|
|Player||Snaps||Snap %||Player||Snaps||Snap %|
|Josh Harvey-Clemons||14||50%||Chase Roullier||3||11%|
|Matt Hazel||12||43%||Brandon Banks||2||7%|
|Fabian Moreau||12||43%||Vernon Davis||2||7%|
|Joshua Holsey||11||39%||Matt Jones||2||7%|
|Montae Nicholson||11||39%||Anthony Lanier||2||7%|
|Jeremy Sprinkle||11||39%||Shawn Lauvao||2||7%|
|Lynden Trail||11||39%||Spencer Long||2||7%|
|Tress Way||11||39%||Joey Mbu||2||7%|
|Robert Davis||10||36%||Stacy McGee||2||7%|
|Fish Smithson||10||36%||Morgan Moses||2||7%|
|Nick Sundberg||10||36%||Ty Nsekhe||2||7%|
|Zach Vigil||10||36%||James Quick||2||7%|
|Manasseh Garner||9||32%||Brandon Scherff||2||7%|
|Dashaun Philips||9||32%||Chris Thompson||2||7%|
|Pete Robertson||9||32%||Jonathan Allen||1||4%|
|Chris Carter||8||29%||Zach Brown||1||4%|
|Brian Quick||8||29%||Tyler Catalina||1||4%|
|Kendall Fuller||7||25%||Kenny Hillard||1||4%|
|Dustin Hopkins||7||25%||Tevin Homer||1||4%|
|Matt Ioannidis||7||25%||Ziggy Hood||1||4%|
|Samaje Perine||7||25%||Kyle Kalis||1||4%|
|Will Compton||6||21%||Ryan Kerrigan||1||4%|
|Stefan McClure||6||21%||Arie Kouandijo||1||4%|
|Zach Pascal||6||21%||Vinston Painter||1||4%|
|Will Blackmon||5||18%||Ronald Patrick||1||4%|
|Mack Brown||5||18%||Terrell McClain||1||4%|
|Jeremiah McKinnon||5||18%||Josh Norman||1||4%|
|Niles Paul||5||18%||Preston Smith||1||4%|
|Martrell Spaight||5||18%||Jamari Staples||1||4%|
|Quinton Dunbar||4||14%||D.J. Swearinger||1||4%|
|Deshazor Everett||4||14%||Phil Taylor||1||4%|
|Bashaud Breeland||3||11%||Isaiah Williams||1||4%|
Dustin Hopkins- Hopkins connected on a 34-yard field goal try, brining him to 2 for 2 in the preseason. He booted three of his 4 kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks. The single kickoff that was returned only resulted in 16-yard gain to the Green Bay 20.
Tress Way- Tress Way punted the ball 7 times for 306 yards. He pinned Green Bay inside their own 20-yard line on four of those kicks. Green Bay returners were only able to gain 18 yards on their three returns, with 17 of them coming on one return.
Way has punted 16 times this preseason. He is on pace to punt the ball 32 times in the team's four exhibition matchups. In 16 regular season games last year, he punted 49 times.
Snaps- Josh Harvey-Clemons led the club in special teams snaps with 14 of them. Matt Hazel and Fabian Moreau were right behind him with 12 a piece. Harvey-Clemons' 28 specials snaps this August also rank first on the team.
Coverage/Fabian Moreau: Part II- Montae Nicholson, Matt Hazel and Jeremy Sprinkle assisted on special teams tackles and Stefan McClure and Fabian Moreau were each credited with a solo ST tackle.
Moreau is the real story here. On his first NFL play, Moreau tackled the Packers' punt returner and forced a fumble that Niles Paul would recover. Then, on the very next Green Bay punt return, he made another solo tackle on a 1-yard gain.
Nobody should be surprised that an athlete of Moreau's caliber is good on special teams. Only 13 NFL prospects, 10 of which were drafted, posted a higher pSPARQ score than the 140.6 mark put up by Moreau. The only corners with a higher score than Moreau over the last four years are Jalen Ramsey, Byron Jones (now a safety), Kevin King and Darryl Roberts.
Kick Returns- Chris Thompson and Bashaud Breeland were back for the Packers' opening kickoff, but they were unable to return the kick and did not appear as returns again. They were replaced by Zach Pascal and Matt Hazel. Pascal returned one kick for 18 yards to the Washington 18-yard line.
Punt Returns- Just as it was against the Ravens, Will Blackmon started off as the primary returner and was later replaced by Kendall Fuller. Blackmon took his only return for 5 yards to the Redskins' 48. Fuller returned the ball three times for 12 yards, with all 12 yards coming on the same return. He muffed and recovered the ball for a return that didn't gain any yards. James Quick returned the final punt of the game for a yard.
*All statistics are courtesy of 3 Sigma Athlete, CSN Mid Atlantic, ESPN, NFL.com, NFL Gamebooks, Pro Football Focus, Pro Football Reference, Real Redskins and Redskins.com*