This was the first week that the starting defense got more than a one drive against anything resembling a functioning first-team offense.
In Week 1 they were up against a Raven's team without Joe Flacco and all of the team's starting wideouts. The Burgundy and Gold's defensive starters also only played six snaps in that game, but did force two three-and-outs.
Last week Aaron Rodgers and company were only in one series; however, it was a drive in which they marched 75 yards down the field for a touchdown.
It started out the same way against Cincinnati, as Andy Dalton and the Bengals had a 15-play, touchdown scoring drive of their own to open the game. That drive went for a whopping 87 yards.
After that, the first-team defense seemed to finally settle in a bit. They forced their first and only turnover of the preseason on the next series. They followed that up by keeping the Bengals' starters off the board and holding them to a total of 41 yards on their final three drives of the half, with two of those drives resulting in a three-and-out.
Unfortunately, it's still probably too hard to get a really accurate reading on this group. They've only faced off against opposing first-team offenses on six drives: two of which went for touchdowns and lasted 15 plays, one that ended with what was a lucky turnover and the other three they successfully shut down.
We'll have to wait until the regular season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles to see what this unit is made of and just how much they have improved this offseason, if at all.
Note: * - Denotes starters in the following tables
|Defensive Linemen (11 Players)|
|Jonathan Allen *||18||26%|
|Terrell McClain *||17||25%|
|Phil Taylor *||2||3%|
R.I.P. Phil Taylor- Taylor got his second start of the preseason, but was lost for the year with a quad injury that he sustained on his second snap.
Taylor was Pro Football Focus' highest graded interior defender on the team (77.8), and he had the highest pass rushing productivity score (27.8) among all 166 interior D-linemen with 9 or more pass-rushing snaps this preseason.
This is just my opinion, but Taylor and Trent Murphy were two of the Redskins' top-15 overall defenders and two of their top-5 players against the run. Those losses will have a big impact on a team that failed to significantly address its glaring lack of quality run stoppers.
Jonathan Allen- For the second game in a row, Jonathan Allen failed to get any pressure on the opposing quarterback. He did, however, get his second start and assist on 3 tackles, on which the Bengal's ball carriers gained 3, 6 and 7 yards and picked up 1 first down.
Matt Ioannidis- Ioannidis flashed again in this game. He made a tackle on a 2-yard run and hurried the quarterback on 2 of his 8 pass rushes. His 79.6 Pro Football Focus grade was the highest rating given to a defensive linemen in the game. Ioannadis still needs to sharpen up in the running game though, where he missed 2 tackles.
Terrell McClain- The veteran free agent, McClain, started alongside of Taylor and Allen and was the only Redskins defensive linemen besides Ioannadis to record a pressure. He also finished with an assisted tackle on a 3-yard gain by the Bengals.
A.J. Francis- Francis finished the game with 1 solo and 2 assisted tackles (3 total tackles) and recovered a fumble on a botched handoff between Andy Dalton and Joe Mixon that set the Redskins' offense up with a field goal on their ensuing drive. He led all Redskins defensive linemen with 25 snaps.
Stacy McGee & Ziggy Hood- McGee and Hood were unable to earn a stat or any pressures. Through 3 games, they have combined for a total of just 3 assisted tackles. Hood has only recorded a pressure in one of three games, and McGee has yet to register a pressure in the preseason. With Taylor gone, McGee is now the heaviest player on the team (341 pounds), so it probably isn't fair to expect much out of him in that department.
Other Defensive Linemen- Joey Mbu got on the field for 21 snaps and made two solo tackles. Anthony Lanier played on 23 snaps, the second most by a D-linemen in the game, but failed to record a pressure or traditional statistic of any kind. Brandon Banks and Ondre Pipkins each saw 10 snaps, but like Lanier, neither player found their way onto the box score.
|Outside Linebackers (8 Players)|
|Preston Smith *||25||36%|
|Ryan Kerrigan *||18||26%|
Ryan Kerrigan- Kerrigan was finally able to notch his first QB pressure of the year in this game; but, once again, he was unable to put any traditional stats on the board. It's a little troubling to me that the two-time pro bowler failed to make almost any kind of impact in his entire 2017 preseason campaign.
Preston Smith- Smith started and played 25 snaps in his second game back from injury. He made the tackle on a 1-yard Joe Mixon run and hurried an Andy Dalton pass.
Junior Galette- After two long years, Junior Galette finally took his first snaps as a Washington Redskin, and he did not disappoint. On just 9 pass-rushing snaps, Galette pressured the quarterback three times, including 1 QB hit (33% pressure rate). He also recorded a solo and an assisted tackle. Pro Football Focus gave Galette a grade of 84.7 for his efforts, the highest mark earned by any player in the game.
Chris Carter & Lynden Trail- Carter did not record any tackles, but he was able to get pressure on the QB for the third straight game. Lynden Trail made 3 tackles and was also able to hurry the quarterback. Trail leads all Redskins defenders with 108 snaps this August.
Pete Robertson- The converted inside backer, Pete Robertson, led all Redskins players in defensive snaps and made two solo tackles on Bengals' gains of 1 yard. He also made a tackle for a loss of 8 yards on the Bengals' botched punt. After recording a sack-fumble last week against Green Bay, Robertson has now strung together two plus performances.
Other Outside Linebackers- Ron Thompson only played 3 snaps and failed to get on the board. Ryan Anderson was held out again with a shoulder stinger.
|Inside Linebackers (7 Players)|
|Mason Foster *||30||43%|
|Zach Brown *||29||42%|
|Josh Harvey-Clemons||ST Only||N/A|
Mason Foster- Mason Foster played on all 30 first-half snaps, which was tied for the second most defensive snaps by a Redskins player in the game. Foster recorded a team-high 4 solo tackles and assisted on another tackle.
Zach Brown-Brown made his second consecutive start at inside linebacker and made a solo tackle and 3 assists. Unfortunately, Cincinnati gained at least 6 yards on 3 of Brown's 4 total tackles.
Will Compton- Like Foster, Will Compton also had 5 tackles, including 4 solos and 1 assist.
Martrell Spaight- It seemed like Martrell Spaight was all over the field on Sunday. He led the game with 4 assisted and 7 total tackles, one of which went for a loss. The Bengals only moved the chains on one of Spaight's 7 tackles.
He also pressured McCarron and made a couple of plays on special teams.
Other inside Linebackers- Zach Vigil and Nico Marley played on 11 and 10 snaps respectively, and each player recorded a solo tackle. Josh Harvey-Clemons only saw time on special teams.
|Cornerbacks (8 Players)|
|Bashaud Breeland *||30||43%|
|Josh Norman *||30||43%|
Josh Norman & Bashuad Breeland- Josh Norman struggled to cover A.J. Green at times, but was able to defend a pass and record a pair of solo tackles on Cincinnati gains of 1 and 2 yards.
This was another plus outing for Breeland this preseason, who had 3 tackles (2 solo and 1 assisted) and was solid in coverage for the third straight game. His 81.6 PFF rating, was the third highest mark in the game.
Fabian Moreau & Kendall Fuller-Moreau and Fuller only combined to play 32 snaps, but both players were solid when on the field. Fuller made a TFL on Jeremy Hill run for a loss of a yard. Moreau assisted on a first-down saving tackle and had a pass defense.
Quinton Dunbar- Quinton Dunbar was having a very quiet preseason, as he had not recorded a stat of any kind prior to Sunday's game. He finally showed up in this contest, with a pass defense on third down and the second highest PFF rating in the game (82.3).
Joshua Holsey- Holsey made his presence known in this one, with a 10-yard sack of A.J. McCarron on third down.
Other Cornerbacks- Tevin Homer and Jeremiah McKinnon each got over 20 snaps of work. Both players recorded a solo tackle, and McKinnon was credited with a solo tackle.
|Safeties (8 Players)|
|Deshazor Everett *||30||43%|
|D.J. Swearinger *||30||43%|
D.J. Swearinger & Deshazor Everett- The safety of duo of Swearinger and Everett played on every snap with the starters. Everett made 3 total and solo tackles in the game, tied for most by a Washington DB. Swearinger chipped in with two solos stops of his own.
Will Blackmon-Will Blackmon made 3 key solo tackles on the Bengals final drive of the day, with one of them going for a loss of 4 yards.
Montae Nicholson- Rookie Montae Nicholson played on 17 snaps and recorded 3 tackles on the day.
Fish Smithson- Smithson had a pair of tackles and made, what might have been, the biggest play in the game when he caught a fourth-quarter interception from A.J. McCarron right in front of the Redskins' goal line and returned it for 63 yards. Interception returns don't count as "long" plays for a team, but if they did then this would have been Washington's longest play of the day.
Other Safeties- DeAngelo Hall remains on the PUP list and will likely stay there until Week 7 of the regular season. Su'a Cravens, who is also injured, got back on the practice field today.
ALL DEFENSIVE SNAPS
|Defense (42 Players)||Defense (continued)|
|Player||Snaps||Snap %||Player||Snaps||Snap %|
|Pete Robertson||31||45%||Chris Carter||18||26%|
|Bashaud Breeland *||30||43%||Ryan Kerrigan *||18||26%|
|Deshazor Everett *||30||43%||Quinton Dunbar||17||25%|
|Mason Foster *||30||43%||Matt Ioannidis||17||25%|
|Josh Norman *||30||43%||Terrell McClain *||17||25%|
|D.J. Swearinger *||30||43%||Fabian Moreau||17||25%|
|Zach Brown *||29||42%||Montae Nicholson||17||25%|
|Will Compton||29||42%||Stefan McClure||16||23%|
|Martrell Spaight||29||42%||Kendall Fuller||15||22%|
|A.J. Francis||25||36%||Stacy McGee||13||19%|
|Joshua Holsey||25||36%||Zach Vigil||11||16%|
|Preston Smith *||25||36%||Brandon Banks||10||14%|
|Will Blackmon||23||33%||Nico Marley||10||14%|
|Anthony Lanier||23||33%||Ondre Pipkins||10||14%|
|Jeremiah McKinnon||23||33%||Ziggy Hood||9||13%|
|Tevin Homer||22||32%||Ron Thompson||3||4%|
|Fish Smithson||22||32%||Phil Taylor *||2||3%|
|Junior Galette||21||30%||Josh Harvey-Clemons||ST Only||N/A|
|Joey Mbu||21||30%||Ryan Anderson||DNP||N/A|
|Lynden Trail||21||30%||Su'a Cravens||DNP||N/A|
|Jonathan Allen *||18||26%||DeAngelo Hall||PUP||N/A|
|Special Teams (61 Players)||Special Teams (continued)|
|Player||Snaps||Snap %||Player||Snaps||Snap %|
|Dustin Hopkins||12||44%||Deshazor Everett||4||15%|
|Robert Davis||10||37%||Shawn Lauvao||4||15%|
|Fish Smithson||10||37%||Stacy McGee||4||15%|
|Chris Carter||9||33%||Morgan Moses||4||15%|
|Will Compton||9||33%||Ty Nsekhe||4||15%|
|Quinton Dunbar||9||33%||Samaje Perine||4||15%|
|Fabian Moreau||9||33%||Chase Roullier||4||15%|
|Martrell Spaight||9||33%||Brandon Scherff||4||15%|
|Nick Sundberg||9||33%||E.J. Bibbs||3||11%|
|Tress Way||9||33%||Will Blackmon||3||11%|
|Zach Pascal||8||30%||Derek Carrier||3||11%|
|Jeremy Sprinkle||8||30%||Montae Nicholson||3||11%|
|Lynden Trail||8||30%||Jonathan Allen||2||7%|
|Zach Vigil||8||30%||Bashaud Breeland||2||7%|
|Mack Brown||7||26%||Zach Brown||2||7%|
|Joshua Holsey||7||26%||Tyler Catalina||2||7%|
|Brian Quick||7||26%||Ziggy Hood||2||7%|
|Josh Harvey-Clemons||6||22%||Ryan Kerrigan||2||7%|
|Maurice Harris||6||22%||Arie Kouandijo||2||7%|
|Matt Hazel||6||22%||Anthony Lanier||2||7%|
|Matt Ioannidis||6||22%||Vinston Painter||2||7%|
|Kyle Kalis||6||22%||Ronald Patrick||2||7%|
|Pete Robertson||6||22%||Joey Mbu||2||7%|
|Isaiah Williams||5||19%||Terrell McClain||2||7%|
|Manasseh Garner||5||19%||Preston Smith||2||7%|
|Jeremiah McKinnon||5||19%||D.J. Swearinger||2||7%|
|Tevin Homer||5||19%||Ryan Grant||1||4%|
|Stefan McClure||5||19%||Josh Norman||1||4%|
|Kendall Fuller||5||19%||Niles Paul||1||4%|
|Nico Marley||5||19%||Chris Thompson||1||4%|
Dustin Hopkins- Hopkins stayed perfect this preseason, as he connected on field goals of 51, 44 and 26 yards. Both of his extra points were also good. Hopkins is one of seven kickers this preseason that has attempted 5 or more field goals and still not missed on either a field goal or an extra point try.
Four of his six kickoffs went for touchbacks and the other two were returned for a total of 31 yards.
Tress Way- Way punted the ball 3 times for a total 157 yards. All three of his kicks were returned, but the Bengals only gained 9 yards on those returns and failed to get past the Washington 32 on any one of them. Way's average and net average of 52.3 and 49.3 were both preseason bests for him. It was his best net average since the 2015 regular season game against the Carolina Panthers.
Snaps- This is one of the few games where you will see the specialists at or near the top of the in terms of special teams snaps played. Kicker Dustin Hopkins led the team with 12 specials snaps, while Tress Way and Nick Sundberg were not too far behind, with 9 a piece. Rookies Robert Davis and Fish Smithson tied for second with 10 snaps each.
Kick & Punt Coverage- Will Compton was credited with 2 solo teams tackles. Martrell Spaight was both on defense and special teams, as he registered a solo and assisted specials tackles. Fish Smithson also recorded a solo tackle. Zach Vigil, Josh Harvey Clemons, Nick Sundberg and Zach Pascal assisted on tackles, as well. Pascal also needs to be mentioned for a rush on a punt that resulted in a Pete Robertson tackle for -8 yards on fourth down.
Kickoff Returns- All four Bengals kickoffs went for touchbacks, so returners Zach Pascal and Matt Hazel did not get a chance to return a kick. Will Blackmon and Maurice Harris also went back to return one kickoff, and they too did not take the ball out of the end zone.
Punt Returns- Redskins return men took a crack at returning all three of Cincinnati's punts. Will Blackmon returned one punt for 8 yards to the Redskins' 38-yard line and returned a second one for 6 yards to the Washington 29. Maurice Harris took his only return of the game 11 yards to the Skins' 37-yard line.
*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*