Snaps- Greg Manusky’s defense was on the field for 73 snaps against the Patriots. Of the 42 defenders on the roster heading into the game, 26 of them played on Thursday night.
Matt Ioannidis, Quinton Dunbar and Montae Nicholson were the only defensive starters who played, and they combined for a total of just 25 snaps. Just as it was with the offense, the Redskins’ matchup against the Jets in Week 2 of the 2016 preseason is the only game that rivals this one in terms of the least amount of playing time given to projected defensive starters.
Patriots Starters- The Patriots, on the other hand, put some of their top offensive players on the field. Julian Edelman, Shaq Mason, Joe Thuney and David Andrews all played 16 snaps. Trent Brown (22 snaps), LaAdrian Waddle (22 snaps), Chris Hogan (7 snaps), Eric Decker (6 snaps) and James White (5 snaps) also made appearances. Obviously, Brian Hoyer is no Tom Brady, but it was a bit surprising to see him play a game-high 61 snaps (85%).
Starter & 1st Half Defense- Two of the three Redskins defensive starters that played were only on the field for the first two drives; the Patriots went three-and-out and gained a total of 4 yards on those drives.
The Patriots offensive starters were out there for four drives; they picked up only 40 yards and 2 first downs on those series.
New England gained 56 of their 100 first-half yards on their final drive of the second quarter (2 first downs). That drive only lasted four plays and 45 seconds.
QB Pressure- This was not what you would call a banner day for the Redskins’ pass rush. Washington’s defense only recorded 1 sack and 2 QB hits in the game. They were only able to get pressure on 6 of the Patriots’ 29 dropbacks (21%).
3rd and 4th Down- The lack of pressure probably had something to do with the Patriots’ success on third down. New England converted on 7 of their 15 third-down tries (47%). They also were a perfect 2-for-2 on fourth down.
Red Zone- The outcome still might have been different had the defense played better in the red zone. The Patriots scored touchdowns on all three of their trips to the red area and scored on both of their two-point conversion attempts.
Rushing Defense- Jeremy Hill, Mike Gillislee, Ralph Webb and Danny Etling combined to run the ball a whopping 40 times. They gained 140 yards, picked up 12 first downs and scored 3 touchdowns on those plays.
I don’t think I have to tell you that those aren’t good numbers. It should be a different story when we finally see former Alabama teammates Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne reunite to form a wall on the defensive front.
|Defensive Linemen (10 Players)|
|Player (* - starter)||Snaps||Snap %|
|Ondre Pipkins *||48||67%|
|Matt Ioannidis *||13||18%|
|Ziggy Hood *||11||15%|
Tim Settle- Tim Settle put on a show in his NFL debut. First off, he played 55 snaps, which is kind of extraordinary for a 330-pound nose tackle. He also filled up the stat sheet with a line of 5 tackles (2 solo), a hurry, a fumble recovery and a pass defense.
One of Settle’s tackles stopped the Patriots a yard shy of the chains on third down, and his pass deflection came on the money down, as well.
Many have proclaimed that Settle was one of the biggest steals of the 2018 draft; if he continues to play like he did on Thursday night, then he will be every bit as advertised.
Matt Ioannidis- Ioannidis was one of the few projected Washington starters who actually logged some playing time in this game. The Ion man was only in for 13 snaps before suffering a sprained ankle and knee sprain, which will sideline him for several weeks, but he made an impact when he was out there. Ioannidis recorded the Redskins’ only sack of the game and made defensive stops on a pair of other tackles.
His showing in this game reinforces the idea that his 2017 season was no fluke.
Anthony Lanier- Lanier, who recorded 5 sacks in the team’s last seven games of 2017, was held in check on Thursday night. He played 32 snaps, 14 of which he rushed the quarterback on, but he only tallied one pressure (a hurry). His only tackle of the night came on a 3-yard Jeremy Hill first-down run.
Dante Sawyer- Like Lanier, Dante Sawyer saw the field on 32 defensive snaps and had a quiet performance. Sawyer’s only tackle also came on a short Patriots’ first-down rush. His 42.4 Pro Football Focus grade ranked second worst on the defense.
Ziggy Hood- This was a very typical performance for Ziggy Hood. He started at right end and played on 11 snaps, but did not record a single traditional stat or pressure of any kind. If nothing else, Hood is consistent.
Ondre Pipkins- Ondre Pipkins will not be long for the roster if he plays like he did on Thursday night again. He played 48 total snaps, only made 2 solo tackles, was flagged for being the 12th defender on the field and did not register a single pressure on his 14 pass-rushing snaps. Pipkins 29.0 PFF grade was the worst rating handed out to a player in this game by a wide margin.
Jalen Wilkerson- The rookie D-linemen was signed yesterday to fill one of the open roster spots left by Guice, Garner and Wellman.
Other Defensive Linemen- Phil Taylor and Jonathan Allen did not dress for the game. Daron Payne and Stacy McGee were both still recovering from injuries and did not play, as well.
|Outside Linebackers (8 Players)|
|Player (* - starter)||Snaps||Snap %|
|Pete Robertson *||22||31%|
|Ryan Anderson *||20||28%|
Ryan Anderson- Ryan Anderson picked up where he left off last season, and by that, I mean he made a couple of tackles and failed to generate any pressure on the opposing quarterback whatsoever.
Anderson has recorded two or more tackles in five of his 16 combined career preseason and regular season games, and he’s tallied just 5 total pressures in all of those games combined.
He started and played 20 snaps against the Patriots, but failed to even hurry Brian Hoyer on any of his nine pass-rushing snaps. He registered a solo takedown that ended a 10-yard Jeremy Hill run and assisted on a tackle after allowing a 4-yard reception to tight end Jacob Hollister (2 total tackles).
Pete Robertson- Anderson’s fellow starting outside backer, Pete Robertson, followed suit and also failed to impress. His only tackle was of the solo variety on a 9-yard Patriots’ completion. Unlike Anderson, he was able to record at least one pressure on Hoyer (a hurry) over the course of his ten pass-rushing snaps.
Robertson will need to carry the productivity he’s had in training camp practices over to the remaining preseason games if he wants to get off of the wrong side of the roster bubble.
Vontae Diggs- Vontae Diggs led the team’s linebackers with 52 defensive snaps and led the entire team with 68 total snaps (offensive + defensive + special teams snaps). The rookie out of UConn impressed with 4 solo tackles (2 stops), one of which went for a loss, and a QB hit that came on third down. He did, however, miss a tackle and commit two penalties (one accepted).
Dadi Nicolas- The third-year Virginia Tech product recorded a solo tackle, an assist, a hit on Danny Etling and played on 50 defensive snaps. Nicolas also missed a tackle that allowed the Patriots to pick up a first down.
Other Outside Linebackers- The team’s top three outside linebackers (Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith and Pernell McPhee) all sat this one out, as did third stringer Cassanova McKinzy.
|Inside Linebackers (7 Players)|
|Player (* - starter)||Snaps||Snap %|
|Shaun Dion Hamilton||50||69%|
|Martrell Spaight *||22||31%|
|Zach Vigil *||22||31%|
Shaun Dion Hamilton- The sixth-round pick out of Alabama flashed all over the field. He played 50 snaps and led all players in solo tackles (6), total tackles (9) and defensive stops (4). SDH also made an assisted tackle on special teams.
He surrendered 3 receptions on the 4 targets thrown in his coverage, but he only gave up a total of 16 receiving yards, and none of the receptions went for first downs. He recorded a pass defense, as well.
Hamilton particularly made his presence known on the Patriots’ first two drives of the second half. He made tackles on three consecutive plays during New England’s first drive of the half. The rookie inside backer then proceeded to make a tackle or break up a pass five times in an eight-play span on the Patriots’ next drive.
Playing well has never really been an issue for Shaun Dion Hamilton, his problem has always been just staying on the field. SDH has the potential to be a valuable asset for the Redskins’ defense for years to come if he can find a way to stay healthy.
Martrell Spaight- Martrell Spaight started the game and played 22 snaps on the night. He recorded 2 solo and 2 assisted tackles; three of those tackles were made two yards or less away from the line of scrimmage. Spaight was not targeted on any of his ten coverage snaps and he did not miss any tackles. His 80.6 PFF rating ranked third among Redskins defenders.
Zach Vigil- Vigil began his third season with the Redskins by starting alongside Spaight on Thursday night. New England didn’t move the chains on any of his four solo tackles, with three of them coming within three yards of the line of scrimmage (3 stops).
Unfortunately, he didn’t fare quite as well in coverage. Vigil allowed receptions on both of the targets thrown his way, and the Pats receivers on the other end of those passes took those receptions for a combined 27 yards and a first down. Vigil also missed a tackle in the game.
All in all, this was a plus outing for Vigil, whose PFF grade of 82.5 on the night ranked second on the defense.
Jerod Fernandez- The 24-year-old rookie from NC State acquitted himself nicely considering that this was his NFL debut. New England gained a total of 9 yards on the six plays he made a tackle on (2 solo and 4 assists); in fact, the Patriots only gained a yard or less on four of those plays.
Fernandez was far from perfect though, as he committed a 15-yard illegal blocking penalty on special teams, allowed a 2-yard reception and missed a tackle in the passing game.
Jeff Knox- The fifth-year linebacker was signed yesterday to fill one of the open roster spots left by Guice, Garner and Wellman.
Other Inside Linebackers- Returning starters Zach Brown and Mason Foster did not play in the game. They were joined on the sideline by Josh Harvey-Clemmons, who has taken quite a few first-team reps himself this offseason.
|Cornerbacks (10 Players)|
|Player (* - starter)||Snaps||Snap %|
|Fabian Moreau *||15||21%|
|Prince Charles Iworah||10||14%|
|Quinton Dunbar *||6||8%|
Greg Stroman- The seventh-round Virginia Tech alum made it onto the field for 57 snaps, which was tied for the most defensive snaps by any player in the game. Stroman made the most of the opportunity by putting forth a very strong showing in his NFL debut.
He only surrendered receptions on two of the five passes thrown into his coverage for 31 yards and 2 first downs; those numbers equate to a 61.3 passer rating for New England quarterbacks when targeting Stroman. The rookie defensive back also scored a PD on a third-down pass to Philip Dorsett (no relation).
Stroman chipped in with 2 solo and 2 assisted tackles (4 total); two of them came within 3 yards of the line of scrimmage on first down plays. And, as you will read later in this article, he had a nice day on special teams.
Greg Stroman’s Pro Football Focus grade of 82.9 for the game was tops among all Washington defenders.
Danny Johnson- Mason/Brennan nominee, Danny Johnson, also played 57 snaps on Thursday night.
Unfortunately, he didn’t fare quite as well in coverage as his running mate, Stroman, did. Johnson gave up catches on two of the four balls thrown his way for a team-high 41 receiving yards allowed and 2 first downs.
It was, however, impressive to see Chris Hogan go 0-for-2 in Johnson’s coverage. Hogan even committed a pass interference penalty against Johnson on one of those targets and still couldn’t haul in the pass.
This is a good time for me to point out that Hogan and fellow starting wideouts Julian Edelman and Eric Decker were all held without a catch on their 29 combined offensive snaps. James White (5 snaps), Philip Dorsett (16) and Dwayne Allen (13) also finished the night without catching a pass.
Johnson had 4 solo tackles and a nice punt return in the game, as well.
Quinton Dunbar- Dunbar, who is the presumptive starter at the outside cornerback spot opposite Josh Norman, got the start against the Pats. However, it’s hard to judge his performance, as he only played 6 defensive and 0 special teams snaps. He did not make it onto the stat sheet and was not thrown at.
Fabian Moreau- Fabian Moreau made just the second start of his NFL career on Thursday night (both in preseason). He did not record a stat over the course of 15 total defensive snaps and was not targeted on any of his ten coverage snaps.
Moreau could be a real X-factor for the Redskins’ defense, so it will be interesting to follow his development throughout the remainder of the preseason.
Ranthony Texada- The tiny rookie (5’10” and 175 lbs.) out of TCU logged 24 defensive snaps against the Patriots. Texada recorded a PD and New England QBs were 0-for-2 when throwing in his coverage. He made a solo tackle in the contest.
Prince Charles Iworah- Prince Charles Iworah narrowly edges out Fish Smithson for the weirdest name on the team. The royally named Iworah missed a tackle and allowed an 18-yard first down reception on only 10 snaps of defensive action. His chances of making the final roster after this game likely went from slim to none.
Other Cornerbacks- The two corners over 30 on the squad, Josh Norman and Orlando Scandrick, did not see action in this one. Two-thirds of the Skins’ Virginia Tech cornerback triumvirate didn’t play either (Adonis Alexander and Joshua Holsey). Holsey, like Stacy McGee will likely begin the regular season on the PUP list.
|Safeties (7 Players)|
|Player (* - starter)||Snaps||Snap %|
|Deshazor Everett *||11||15%|
|Montae Nicholson *||6||8%|
Fish Smithson- The second-year safety from Baltimore played 30 snaps in the opener. He was the primary defender responsible for running back Brandon Bolden on a screen play that gained 9 yards; this was the only time the Fish was targeted in the game. He also registered a QB hurry and assisted on three third-quarter tackles.
Kenny Ladler- Kenny Ladler has been one of the Redskins’ most hyped UDFA’s of the 2018 offseason, and perhaps, rightfully so.
He too, played 30 snaps on the night. His 6 total tackles were tied for the second most by any player in the game. Four of his takedowns were solo tackles, and two of them were counted as defensive stops. Ladler recorded a solo tackle on special teams, as well.
He gave up receptions of 2 and 5 yards to tight ends Ryan Izzo and Will Tye, respectively; Tye picked up a first down on his catch.
The former CFL All-Star, Ladler, has a realistic shot at making the roster if he continues to play well in the team’s remaining preseason games.
Troy Apke- The uber athletic fourth rounder led the safety corps with 43 snaps played and recorded 6 tackles on the night; however, 4 of his tackles were assists. He teamed with UDFA Jerod Fernandez on one of those assists to stuff Ralph Webb for no gain on the goal line.
Apke broke up a deep third-down pass to Devin Lucien. He did allow Lucien to catch a 6-yard reception on another pass, but he pushed the Pats receiver out of bounds a yard shy the line to gain on the play.
His 79.4 PFF grade ranked fourth among all Redskins defenders.
Quin Blanding- I know safeties don’t record as many traditional stats as other positions do, but I still find it a bit odd that Blanding failed to record a defensive statistic of any kind and was not targeted once on his 23 snaps. I suppose the fact that he wasn’t targeted is a good thing, though. Blanding did, at least, make a solo tackle on a Patriots’ punt return.
Montae Nicholson- Montae Nicholson donned the Burgundy and Gold for the first time in a game since Week 11 of last season (at New Orleans). He started and played on every snap of the defense’s first two drives, both of which were three-and-outs. He was taken out after that, and his night ended with 6 snaps, no traditional stats recorded and zero targets thrown in his direction.
Deshazor Everett- Everett started across from Nicholson in the defensive backfield and played 11 snaps. He didn’t record any traditional stats either, but he did give up a 3-yard reception on the lone target thrown his way.
D.J. Swearinger- Like the vast majority of Redskins starters, Swearinger did not play in the team’s preseason opener.
ALL DEFENSIVE PLAYERS
|Defense (42 Players)||Defense (42 Players)|
|Player (* - starter)||Snaps||Snap %||Player (* - starter)||Snaps||Snap %|
|Danny Johnson||57||79%||Deshazor Everett *||11||15%|
|Greg Stroman||57||79%||Ziggy Hood *||11||15%|
|Tim Settle||55||76%||Prince Charles Iworah||10||14%|
|Vontae Diggs||52||72%||Quinton Dunbar *||6||8%|
|Jerod Fernandez||50||69%||Montae Nicholson *||6||8%|
|Shaun Dion Hamilton||50||69%||Adonis Alexander||DNP||N/A|
|Dadi Nicolas||50||69%||Jonathan Allen||DNP||N/A|
|Ondre Pipkins *||48||67%||Zach Brown||DNP||N/A|
|Troy Apke||43||60%||Mason Foster||DNP||N/A|
|Anthony Lanier||32||44%||Josh Harvey-Clemmons||DNP||N/A|
|Dante Sawyer||32||44%||Joshua Holsey||NFI||N/A|
|Kenny Ladler||30||42%||Ryan Kerrigan||DNP||N/A|
|Fish Smithson||30||42%||Stacy McGee||PUP||N/A|
|Ranthony Texada||24||33%||Cassanova McKinzy||DNP||N/A|
|Quin Blanding||23||32%||Pernell McPhee||DNP||N/A|
|Pete Robertson *||22||31%||Josh Norman||DNP||N/A|
|Martrell Spaight *||22||31%||Daron Payne||DNP||N/A|
|Zach Vigil *||22||31%||Orlando Scandrick||DNP||N/A|
|Ryan Anderson *||20||28%||Preston Smith||DNP||N/A|
|Fabian Moreau *||15||21%||D.J. Swearinger||DNP||N/A|
|Matt Ioannidis *||13||18%||Phil Taylor||DNP||N/A|
|Special Teams (53 Players)||Special Teams (53 Players)|
|Player||Snaps||Snap %||Player||Snaps||Snap %|
|Vontae Diggs||16||59%||Samaje Perine||4||15%|
|Matt Flanagan||16||59%||Jeremy Sprinkle||4||15%|
|Jerod Fernandez||15||56%||Isaiah Williams||4||15%|
|Kenny Ladler||13||48%||Tony Bergstrom||3||11%|
|Prince Charles Iworah||11||41%||Tyler Catalina||3||11%|
|Fish Smithson||11||41%||Geron Christian||3||11%|
|Troy Apke||10||37%||Maurice Harris||3||11%|
|Kapri Bibbs||10||37%||Matt Ioannidis||3||11%|
|Shaun Dion Hamilton||10||37%||Darvin Kidsy||3||11%|
|Danny Johnson||10||37%||Dadi Nicolas||3||11%|
|Greg Stroman||9||33%||Ryan Anderson||2||7%|
|Nick Sundberg||9||33%||Cameron Jefferson||2||7%|
|Tress Way||9||33%||Anthony Lanier||2||7%|
|Manasseh Garner||8||30%||Ty Nsekhe||2||7%|
|Dustin Hopkins||8||30%||Ondre Pipkins||2||7%|
|Martrell Spaight||8||30%||Tim Settle||2||7%|
|Quin Blanding||7||26%||Robert Davis||1||4%|
|Robert Kelley||7||26%||Casey Dunn||1||4%|
|Fabian Moreau||7||26%||Deshazor Everett||1||4%|
|Cam Sims||7||26%||Ziggy Hood||1||4%|
|Elijah Wellman||7||26%||Kyle Kalis||1||4%|
|Simmie Cobbs||6||22%||John Kling||1||4%|
|Garrett Hudson||6||22%||Timon Parris||1||4%|
|Ranthony Texada||6||22%||Trey Quinn||1||4%|
|Byron Marshall||5||19%||Dante Sawyer||1||4%|
|Pete Robertson||5||19%||Zach Vigil||1||4%|
Snaps- The Skins’ special teams unit played a total of 27 snaps against the Patriots and utilized a total of 53 players (26 offensive, 24 defensive and 3 specialists). Those specialists (Dustin Hopkins, Tress Way and Nick Sundberg) were the only Washington players who worked exclusively on special teams.
Rookie UDFAs Vontae Diggs and Matt Flanagan tied for the team lead in specials snaps (16 each). Jerod Fernandez (15 snaps) and Kenny Ladler (13 snaps) played the third and fourth most snaps on Ben Kotwica’s unit.
Kick Coverage- Quin Blanding made a solo tackle at the New England 34-yard line on the Patriots’ only punt return of the night; fortunately, the ball was moved back to the 20 because of a holding penalty.
Rookie draft picks Shaun Dion Hamilton and Greg Stroman teamed up to stop the Patriots’ longest kickoff return of the game at the New England 28-yard line (25-yard return). Dion Hamilton earned the highest PFF special teams grade on the team (81.9).
Fellow buzzworthy rook, Kenny Ladler, made a solo stop that shutdown a kickoff return at the 19-yard line.
Simmie Cobbs made the tackle at the 16-yard line on the Skins’ fourth and final kickoff of the game.
Dustin Hopkins- After not hitting on a 50-yarder all last season, Hopkins made a 52-yard field goal late in the first quarter. He then just narrowly missed connecting on a 56-yard kick, which would have been a career long for him. Both of his extra points were good.
Two of Hopkins’ four kickoffs pinned the Patriots inside of their own 20 (at the 19 and 16-yard lines). The longest kickoff return allowed went for 25 yards out to the 28. Hopkins kicked one touchback.
Tress Way- Tress Way looked quite good in his 2018 debut. He punted the ball five times for a 42.4 overall and net average.
Three of his punts pinned the Pats at or inside their own 10-yard line, and a fourth punt was called back to the ten because of a New England penalty. The Patriots’ average starting field position following Way’s punts was at the 11-yard line. This had something to do with the fact that the Patriots finished the game with zero punt return yards.
Punt Returns- The Redskins enjoyed a productive night in the punt-return department. Greg Stroman, Maurice Harris and Danny Johnson split return duties, as each player went back to receive two of the Patriots’ six punts.
Stroman was the most impressive of the bunch. He had 27 return yards in the game, with 20 of those coming on a punt that he returned to midfield.
This should not surprise anyone who knows how accomplished of a returner Stroman was in college. The former Hokie finished his amateur career with 1,108 yards and 4 touchdowns on his 127 punt returns (8.7 average). His 397 yards and 2 touchdowns on punt returns last season both ranked second in the entire nation. Only 49ers’ 2018 second-round pick Dante Pettis was better in both categories.
Stroman also returned 23 kickoffs for 478 yards (20.8 average), during his time at VA Tech.
Maurice Harris had a 20-yarder of his own, but lost out on his other opportunity for another return when Patriots’ punter Ryan Allen booted his final punt of the night out of bounds.
Danny Johnson looked good on his 19-yard return, but the gain was negated by a 15-yard Jerod Fernandez penalty. Troy Apke ended up attempting to return the other punt that came when Johnson was the returner; Apke muffed the punt and lost 3 yards on the play.
Kickoff Returns- Four of the five New England kickoffs went for touchbacks. Byron Marshall took the Redskins’ only return of the night for 24 yards out to the 18-yard line. It was an ill-advised decision considering he fielded the ball 6 yards deep in the end zone.
Marshall played as a kick returner on four of the five kickoffs. Kapri Bibbs (2 kickoffs), Darvin Kidsy (2 kickoffs), Maurice Harris (1 kickoff) and Robert Davis (1 kickoff) also operated as returners in Thursday’s game. R.I.P. Robert Davis.
*All statistics are courtesy of ESPN, NBC Sports, NFL.com, NFL Gamebooks, Pro Football Focus, Pro Football Reference, USA Today, Redskins.com and The Washington Post*
Other than Tim Settle, who was the who was the Redskins defensive player of the game against the Patriots?
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Shaun Dion Hamilton
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