Snaps- Greg Manusky’s defense was on the field for 71 snaps in this past Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles, which is the second-most snaps the D has faced in 2018, behind only the 75 snaps they played in Week 13 against this same Philadelphia squad.
In all, the defense was out there for 1,033 snaps and 996 plays in 2018.
Yards- The defense surrendered 360 yards in the game, which marked the sixth time in the last nine weeks that they gave up at least 350 yards to the opposition.
The Washington D was pretty average across the board in 2018 from a yardage perspective. Their 353.4 yards per game, 33.0 yards per drive and 5.67 yards per play averages ranked 17th, 24th and 16th this season.
Points- The Eagles scored 24 points in the game, which of course means the Redskins lost. Washington has now lost 16 straight games (i.e., a season’s worth) in which they’ve allowed more than 17 points.
Manusky’s unit ranked 15th and 16th in points allowed per game (22.4) and per drive (1.96), respectively.
QB Pressure- The Washington pass rush was able to notch 3 sacks against the Eagles, but they only were able to get pressure on 29.7% of the Philly dropbacks. The defense pressured former Redskin Nate Sudfeld on his only dropback of the game, but Suds threw a 22-yard touchdown on the play.
The Redskins recorded at least one sack in 15-of-16 games and their 46 sacks on the year ranked seventh in the NFL and was the team’s most since their legendary 1991 Super Bowl season.
They also finished 2018 in 6th and 11th in sack percentage (7.9%) and adjusted sack rate (7.6%).
The Drive & The Record- In the second quarter, Nick Foles and the Philly defense put together a 19-play touchdown drive that lasted 11 minutes and 49 seconds. It was the second-longest drive, in terms of number of plays, both this season and since 2016 and the longest drive from a time perspective since 2015.
Since 1999, which is as far back as this data goes, no drive against the Redskins had ever lasted that many plays or that much time.
Nick Foles completed all ten of his passes on the possession. He would go on to complete 25 straight passes in the game, which tied an all-time NFL record.
3rd Down- Nick Foles and company converted on 8 of their 14 third downs against the Redskins. The 8 conversions and 57.1% conversion clip were the second and third-worst marks allowed by the Skins’ defense all season.
Three of Philadelphia’s four rushes on the money down moved the chains and Foles went 7-for-10 with 60 yards on those plays. The only thing the defense can hang their hats on here was an interception on the Eagles’ first third down of the game.
Unfortunately, this was nothing new for the defense. Their 86 third-down conversions allowed and 43.9% conversion rate against ranked 26th and 29th in the NFL, respectively.
That 43.9% conversion rate is the fourth-worst mark allowed by a Redskins’ defense in team history; although, that may be more of a product of the offensive era we’re living in than anything else. Even so, those are not the kind of numbers you ever want to see.
4th Down- The Skins gave up a first down on the only fourth down they faced when Nick Foles took a QB sneak for 2 yards on a 4th-and-1 play. The Eagles scored a touchdown four plays later.
Red Zone- The defense allowed Philly’s offense to score touchdowns on 2-of-3 red zone possessions. The Eagles gained positive yardage on all but two of their 11 plays inside Washington’s 20-yard line.
This was the eighth time this year that the Redskins allowed their opponent to find the paint on at least 60% of their trips to the red area. They somehow still found a way to post a 51.9% conversion rate, which ranked ninth in the NFL.
Takeaways- Washington’s only takeaway of the game was an interception on the Eagles’ first drive. The team’s 15 interceptions and 26 turnovers forced ranked ninth and tenth in the NFL this season. The 26 takeaways were tied for the team’s second most since 2013. They forced at least one turnover in 14-of-16 contests.
Things might have gone much better for the Burgundy and Gold if they maintained the pace they were going at in the first 11 weeks of season. They averaged 2.1 takeaways per game in that span (21 turnovers); that average dropped to 0.83 from Week 12 on (5 turnovers).
Tight End Defense- Eagles’ tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert combined to catch 6-of-7 targets for 42 yards and 1 first down. Ertz’ 15 yards in the game was tied for his lowest yardage since Week 11 of 2017. All-in-all this was actually quite an impressive showing by Washington’s tight end defense.
The defense allowed enemy tight end corps to catch 72 passes for 716 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2018. Those numbers ranked 17th, 12th and 5th in the NFL. This was one of the best, if not the best showings against the tight end position by the Redskins in the last decade.
Rushing Defense- The Philadelphia ground game racked up 129 rushing yards and 10 first downs on their 34 totes in Sunday’s contest. The 10 first downs were the most chain movers allowed by a Washington defense since Week 13 of 2017 (13 at Cowboys).
The Eagles averaged 3.8 yards per carry, had 11 of their rushes gain 5-plus yards and were stopped for no gain six times. The only carries they lost yardage on were Nate Sudfeld kneel-downs at the end of the game.
The Redskins’ run defense got off to a promising start, as they ranked second and sixth in rushing yards per game (80.1) and yards per carry (3.84) allowed in the first eight weeks of the season.
The once-vaunted Alabama Wall collapsed after that, and the team fell all the way to 28th in yards per game (144.3) and 24th in yards per carry (4.87) from Week 9 on. The defense allowed more than 100 rushing yards in one of the team’s first seven games; whereas, their opponents went over the century mark in all but one of the final nine contests (99 yards in the one where they didn’t).
The Skins’ overall numbers in rushing defense looked much more like the latter set of rankings we just discussed. They ranked 17th in yards per game (116.3), 18th in yards per carry (4.5), 20th in first-down percentage (36.7%), 21st in PFF grade (77.3), 25th in success rate (50%) and 27th in DVOA (1.2%).
#FireBruceAllen- Including Bruce Allen, there are 20 current NFL general managers or de facto general managers who have at least five years of experience in that role. Only Allen and three of those other 19 GMs (Les Snead, Mike Brown and Jason Licht) have failed to win a single playoff game. Snead’s Rams have a legitimate shot at winning the Super Bowl this year. Mike Brown also owns the Bengals and has no accountability.
Brown, Licht and Jaguars GM David Caldwell are the only people on this list whose teams have a lower winning percentage under their watch than Allen’s have (.435). The Jaguars were minutes away from making it to the Super Bowl in 2017.
Of the 12 GMs who don’t qualify, four of them have their franchises in the playoffs this year; seven of them have better winning percentages.
|Defensive Linemen (6 Players)|
|Player (* - starter)||Snaps||Snap %|
|Daron Payne *||57||80%|
|Jonathan Allen *||56||79%|
Jonathan Allen- This was one of Allen’s worst games of the year, not because of any mistakes he made, but because he simply didn’t make anything even resembling a big play when his team desperately needed him to.
He was only able to muster a single hurry on his 29 pass-rushing snaps and was not credited with a single stop. He did rack up 4 solo and 6 total tackles, but only two of them were made within 3 yards of the line of scrimmage; those two tackles came on Nick Foles’ QB sneaks that picked up first downs.
Allen earned a 48.2 PFF grade for the performance, which was the third-worst grade on the defense and the second-worst such rating of his career.
Despite his subpar showing this past weekend, Allen was solid overall in his second year as a pro. He ranked in the top-10 among all interior defenders in both total tackles (61, 7th) and sacks (8, 8th). The 8 sacks were tied for the second most by an interior defender in franchise history.
The only problem is that over 60% of his sacks and TFLs and just under half of his pressures were racked up in four games (GB, DAL, at TB and at JAX).
If Jon Allen can find a way to turn his flashes of dominance into more consistent production then he’ll have a legitimate shot at becoming one of the best defensive linemen in the league.
Daron Payne- Payne took after his Alabama brethren by failing to show up against the Eagles in Week 17. He also only generated one pressure (a hurry) and just one of his 5 tackles (all solo) was made within 3 yards of the line of scrimmage. He missed a tackle for the fourth time this season, as well.
Unlike Allen, his stop was made a yard short of the marker on a third down, instead of a yard beyond it. He was charged with the third-worst PFF grade of his career (49.7).
I’ve said this several times before, but I think it bears repeating now that the year is over, Daron Payne led all rookie interior defenders in snaps (796), solo tackles (35), total tackles (56), pressures (27), pass defenses (3) and fumble recoveries (1). Giants’ rookie B.J. Hill recorded a half sack this past Sunday and pushed Payne down to second in sacks among rookie interior D-linemen.
Daron Payne was a blue-chip prospect coming out of high school, was part of perhaps the greatest dynasty in college football history, got drafted with a top-15 pick, is one of the five youngest defensive linemen in the league, played well as a rookie and will continue to get a ton of playing time going forward. Basically, he has been a hit every step of the way and has an extremely bright future in the NFL.
Stacy McGee- Stacy McGee was only on the field for 14 snaps, which tied his lowest total since Week 11, but still managed to have his best game of the season.
He stopped a Wendell Smallwood run a yard shy of the line to gain on a 2nd-and-3 play and recorded a sack that led to a Philadelphia three-and-out.
The sack was his first as a member of the Redskins. The last sack he notched was in Week 5 of the 2016 season with the Raiders. This also constituted just his second pressure of the season (60 rushes).
He earned a 2018-best 77.0 PFF grade for his efforts in Sunday’s regular season finale.
McGee is a serviceable backup defensive lineman but he isn’t even close to being worth the roughly $6M in cap space he is due in each of the next two seasons. The Redskins should move on from him this offseason without hesitation. The move would save $4.2M against the cap.
Caleb Brantley- Brantley played on a season-high 15 snaps against the Eagles, which is as many snaps as his previous two 2018 highs combined. The second-year D-lineman saw his defensive snap total drop from 217 as a rookie to 37 in his sophomore campaign (180-snap decline).
He also recorded his first traditional stat of any kind this year, when he stopped a Josh Adams run for no gain on a 1st-and-10 play in the third quarter.
He was unable to generate any pressure on his 8 pass-rushing snaps in the game. Brantley only registered a single pressure (hurry) on his 22 rushes this season (4.5%), which gives him roughly the same pressure rate he had last season with the Browns (5.3%). The difference is that in 2017 he had about 90 more opportunities and two of his pressures were sacks.
The Redskins have the rights to Caleb Brantley, who turns 25 in September, for two more seasons.
Tim Settle- Like Brantley, Settle also got a little bit of extra run against the Eagles. He tied a career high with 21 snaps on defense, which bumped up his season-long total to 134.
He made tackles on back-to-back plays on the Eagles’ final drive of the game; both plays were rushes that gained 4 yards. This marked the second time Settle had both recorded tackles in consecutive games and made multiple takedowns in a single game. He finished his rookie year with 8 total and 6 solo tackles, one of which went for a loss.
He didn’t get any pressure on his 10 pass rushes in Sunday’s game. Settle rushed the passer on 65 snaps in 2018 and registered 4 hurries on those plays (6.2% pressure rate).
This was a solid start for Tim Settle, considering he was a fifth-round pick and is the youngest defensive lineman in entire league.
Matt Ioannidis- Matt Ioannidis was sidelined with a hamstring injury and he missed his second game of the season and in the last five weeks.
The third-year pro played on 145 fewer snaps than he did last year (584 to 439), but set new career highs in solo tackles (23), total tackles (31), stops (18), TFLs (6), fumble recoveries (1) and sacks (7.5).
The Ion Man started the year on an absolute tear, as he ranked 13th in pressures and 3rd in sacks among all interior linemen between Weeks 1-11. He trailed only Aaron Donald in pass-rushing productivity during that span (8.9 to 12.0).
Ioannidis was injured in Week 12 at Dallas and wasn’t the same from that contest on; he played 68 snaps, made 3 tackles, generated 5 pressures and recorded no sacks in his final four games.
Assuming Stacy McGee is cut in the next month or two, Matty I will be the oldest D-lineman on the team. That’s quite something considering he doesn’t turn 25 until next Friday.
Ioannidis has one year left on his deal, but the Redskins would be wise to sign him to an extension now in order to keep the trio of him, Allen and Payne together for at least a few more seasons.
|Outside Linebackers (5 Players)|
|Player (* - starter)||Snaps||Snap %|
|Ryan Kerrigan *||58||82%|
|Preston Smith *||54||76%|
Ryan Kerrigan- Ryan Kerrigan started in his 128th consecutive game. He is one of six players and three non-quarterbacks who have started in every game since 2011 (Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford, Philip Rivers, Brandon Carr and Patrick Peterson). He joins a list with nine others who have started in that many games in their first eight seasons (since 1978 when the 16-game schedule began).
For the second week in a row, Kerrigan only made one tackle, and for the second straight week his lone tackle was a sack. RyKer also added a QB hit on Foles this past Sunday.
This was his fourth consecutive game with at least one sack. His sack against the Eagles was the Heartbreak Kid’s 13th of the season, which is just a half-sack shy of his career high and ranks seventh in the league. Only Aaron Donald (18.5) and Chris Jones (15.5) recorded more sacks since Week 5. This also makes him one of ten players who have three or more 13-plus sack seasons in the past 20 years.
This marked the third straight year in which he registered double-digit sacks, which ranks second in team history behind only Dexter Manley.
Kerrigan was the only Redskins’ defender who was voted to the Pro Bowl and he is the only Pro Bowl starter on the team. He led or tied for the team lead in sacks (13), pressures (61), TFLs (11) and forced fumbles (3).
Even at the age of 30, Ryan Kerrigan is still the best player on Washington’s defense.
Preston Smith-This was a very typical game for Preston Smith, in that he was solid, but did nothing spectacular.
The walk-year pass rusher generated 3 pressures (all hurries) and made a pair of tackles, one of which was a solo tackle that stopped a Darren Sproles’ run for no gain. He also committed a neutral zone infraction on the fourth play of the game; it was his third penalty of the year and second NZI.
Smith set new season highs in snaps (834), total tackles (53), defensive stops (27), QB pressures (53), pressure rate (12.0%) and PFF grade (76.9). He intercepted a pass, recovered a fumble and scored his first career touchdown, as well.
The problem is that he recorded a career-low 4 sacks, all of which came in a six-game span between Weeks 10 and 15. This is no trivial matter, but I also think we may be getting a bit too hung up on this point. Non-sack pressures can be almost or just as valuable as sacks, and we need to remember that this was actually Smith’s best season in that regard.
What kind of contract he is looking for this offseason and the Redskins’ level of interest in retaining him remains to be seen. One thing is for certain though, he will get a bigger payday than any of the Redskins’ other free agents.
Pernell McPhee- In what very well may have been his last game in a Redskins uniform, Pernell McPhee had one of his best performances with the team to date.
McPhee set new season highs in snaps (24), snap rate (33.8%), solo tackles (2) and total tackles (3). He had not recorded more than a single tackle or played on more than 18 snaps in any of his previous 12 games.
He also defended a third-down pass on an Eagles’ drive that went three-and-out, record his third TFL of the season and scored a QB hit for the eighth time on the year (2nd-most on the team). He nearly recorded the first interception of his career on the PD.
His 80.4 PFF grade was the second-best rating on the team and represented his best such mark since Week 1 (84.2 at Cardinals).
This was the first time in McPhee’s last 15 games that he’s made multiple tackles, and it’s been 20 games since he last recorded a sack. The veteran edge rusher turns 31 next season and is scheduled to hit free agency in March.
Marcus Smith- Marcus Smith was signed to the active roster a few days before the game. This was the second time the team had picked him up in December.
He played 6 defensive snaps in Sunday’s game and made it onto the field for a total of 42 snaps in his 2 games played this year (9 defensive and 33 special teams). Smith did not record a single stat on any of those snaps.
He is a first-round bust who was nothing more than a fill-in for an injured Ryan Anderson. His only contribution to the stat sheet in his last six games played was 3 tackles (1 solo).
Ryan Anderson- Anderson missed the game with a hamstring injury, which marked the third time in the final four weeks of the season that he had been sidelined.
The question everyone should be asking about him is “did he improve in his second season?” I believe he did, but nowhere near as much as the Redskins would’ve liked him to.
He played 30 fewer snaps than he did as a rookie (163 to 193), recorded the same number of tackles on defense (14), made 3 more special teams stops (4 to 1) and generated 7 more pressures (11 to 4). Anderson also recorded the first 2 sacks of his career in 2018 and his PFF grade jumped from a 58.9 all the way up to an 86.8.
It’s worth noting that 8 of his 11 pressures and both of his sacks were made in the first six games of the year. His 3 pressures and 0 sacks in his final seven contests were reminiscent of his rookie-year production.
So, did he improve? Sure, I guess. But these gains are marginal, at absolute best. We still don’t have any evidence to suggest that he will be anything more than a role player at the NFL level. I’m sorry, but that is just not what you’re shooting for when you use a top-50 draft pick on someone.
|Inside Linebackers (6 Players)|
|Player (* - starter)||Snaps||Snap %|
|Mason Foster *||69||97%|
|Shaun Dion Hamilton *||32||45%|
|Josh Harvey-Clemons||ST Only||0%|
Mason Foster- Foster finished Sunday’s game with 8 total tackles, which brought his total on the year to 131 combined takedowns. That figure ranks seventh in the league and represents the most tackles recorded by a Redskins player in one year since 2012. London Fletcher is the only Washington player who has made more tackles in single season in the past 20 years (four times).
Foster’s problem has never been tackling, though. The guy just simply can’t cover in the passing game. He gave up game-highs on Sunday in both targets (8) and receptions allowed (7). Those seven grabs gained a combined 39 yards and resulted in 3 Philadelphia first downs.
His 47.1 PFF grade for the performance ranked second-worst on the defense this week.
Unfortunately, games like this have been par for the course for Foster this year. Sure, he intercepted multiple passes for the second time in his career, but he also gave up career highs in targets (77), receptions (65) and receiving yards (549). Foster has allowed both the fifth-most receptions and yards after the catch (426) among all off-ball linebackers this season.
He registered his fewest number of QB pressures (8) in the last three years, and that includes 2017, when he only played five games.
Mason Foster’s productivity took a dip in 2018, he turns 30 in less than three months and he has been “critical” of the team and its fan base. He would only cost $2.25M against the cap next year, but that still might not be enough to entice the team to bring him back.
Zach Brown- Zach Brown didn’t start for the fourth consecutive week, but he did see his highest snap total (38) and percentage (53.5%) in that span.
Believe it or not, but Brown actually kind of balled out in this game, at least compared to his teammates. He posted season and game highs in solo tackles (9), total tackles (11) and defensive stops (7). Surprisingly, this was the first time all year ZB recorded double-digit takedowns; he accomplished that feat a whopping eight times in 2017.
He recorded a 3-yard TFL and made three tackles that stopped Philadelphia runners for no gain. Brown also added a pair of third-down tackles that stopped the Eagles a yard shy of the sticks. He did not miss a single tackle for the 12th time this season.
ZB finished the year with 96 total tackles, which was 31 fewer tackles than he made last season and left him just shy of hitting the 100-tackle mark for the third straight year. His 4 missed tackles represented a new career low and were a major part of the reason he ranked fifth among all off-ball linebackers in tackling efficiency (number of attempted tackles per miss).
He only gave up a single 3-yard reception in this past Sunday’s game. This kind of performance in coverage hasn’t been out of the ordinary for Brown, as of late. He didn’t give up a touchdown all year and only allowed an average of 13 receiving yards per game in the second half of the season.
He earned a 90.6 PFF grade for his performance in Week 17, which was the best rating on the entire team. Once again, the same holds true from a season-long perspective, as Brown leads the team and ranks third among all off-ball backers with an 89.2 PFF grade. This is your queue, PFF haters.
Look, I understand Brown didn’t actually have a great season, but I think it’s fair to say, all of these numbers show that maybe it was a bit better than we thought. I also believe by limiting his snaps, the team protected him a bit from situations they knew he’d have a tougher time succeeding in. It’s worth noting that he played most of the season with a torn oblique.
Don’t get me wrong though, ZB has got plenty of problems. He turns 30 next season, he freelances, he was injured for the second year in a row, he’s probably been the biggest malcontent in the locker room outside of D.J. Swearinger and he carries a cap hit of almost $9M next year. For all of those reasons, and mainly the last two, he almost certainly will be playing elsewhere in 2019.
Shaun Dion Hamilton- Hamilton started his fourth straight game, but was out-snapped by Zach Brown for the first time in that span.
Nonetheless, SDH was still able to set new career highs in solo (5) and total tackles (8) on defense. One of those tackles was a 5-yard sack of Nick Foles. It was the second overall sack of Hamilton’s career and his first full sack (1.5 sacks this season). He also scored a QB hit on one of his two other pass-rushing snaps in the game.
Unfortunately, Hamilton didn’t fare nearly as well in coverage. He was only in for 10 coverage snaps, but gave up 3 catches for 44 yards and 2 first downs on those plays. The 25-yard catch he surrendered to Dallas Goedert on the Eagles’ first drive of the game was the longest offensive play of the game.
His 25.9 grade for the game ranked dead last on the team and among all qualifying defenders (min. 5 snaps) in Week 17.
Overall, Hamilton’s career is off to a promising start, especially considering he was taken in the sixth round. He was tied for the second-most solo special teams tackles on the team and recovered a fumble on that unit.
He didn’t play on defense until Week 12, but started the final four games of the year, averaged 5.8 tackles per game on defense in those contests, only missed one tackle, recorded 1.5 sacks and generated pressure on five of his eight pass rushes this season.
Shaun Dion Hamilton has a bright future in the middle of the Redskins’ defense if he can stay healthy.
Zach Vigil- Zach Vigil’s 2 snaps on defense against the Eagles doubled the playing time he received on that side of the ball between Weeks 2 and 16 (1 snap in Week 2). He, unsurprisingly, did not crack the box score in Sunday’s game. Vigil played a total of 19 snaps on defense this season, with 16 of those coming in Week 1.
All three of his tackles were made in Week 1. He also gave up 4 receptions for 17 yards in that contest.
Vigil is not horrible in coverage (76.6 career passer rating against) and he can most definitely tackle (9.2 tackles per game in starts last season), so I’m assuming the impending free agent will look to sign with a team who will give him regular PT on defense.
Josh Harvey-Clemons- Harvey-Clemons did not play on defense for the second consecutive week and even fell behind Vigil on the depth chart. He was on the field for just 15 defensive snaps in December.
I can’t really explain why he hasn’t at least been used as a coverage linebacker, considering that he’s averaged the sixth-best yards-per-coverage-snap average among off-ball linebackers this season (0.65).
Despite the recent drop in playing time, JHC was still able to just about double his snap (93 to 196), tackle (11 to 21), PD (1 to 3) and pressure (2 to 6) totals from last year. I expect his PT to continue to rise next season, especially with just about half the current ILB corps expected to move on in the offseason.
Marquis Flowers- Flowers was signed last week, but was inactive on Sunday. I have no idea why the move was made. The soon-to-be 27-year-old has recorded 9 pressures, 3.5 sacks and 45 tackles in his five-year NFL career (367 snaps on defense).
|Cornerbacks (5 Players)|
|Player (* - starter)||Snaps||Snap %|
|Josh Norman *||71||100%|
|Fabian Moreau *||71||100%|
|Alex Carter||ST Only||0%|
Josh Norman- Josh Norman had been playing some really good football over the past month, but he finally took a step back and had one of his worst games of the season.
J-No gave up receptions on all five of the passes thrown into his coverage and allowed team highs in receiving yardage (64), first downs (4) and touchdowns (2) allowed. He was responsible for surrendering the Eagles’ second, fourth and fifth-longest plays of the game (22, 19 and 16 yards). Philly’s QBs posted a near-perfect 157.9 passer rating when throwing at Norman in this game.
The 2 TDs allowed ties the career high he set in Week 5 at New Orleans. He gave up more touchdowns between those two games (4) than he had in any other season in his career (3). Unfortunately, those tuddies only accounted for half of the scores Norman allowed this season. The career-high 8 receiving touchdowns scored in his coverage were tied for the most allowed by any player in the NFL this season (Tramon Williams). He also allowed the second-most yards in his career (644), behind only his rookie year (670).
Don’t get me wrong, Josh Norman did some really nice things in 2018. He recorded 3 interceptions, tied a career mark with 3 forced fumbles and allowed fewer than 30 yards in 7-of-16 games. Here’s the thing, though: nobody in their right mind could rationally tell you that what he’s done with the Redskins was worth the money that they’ve already paid him.
He’s a very, very good corner, but at the end of the day the guy has only had one truly great season, which is the only time he ever made it to a Pro Bowl.
What’s worse, is he is about to enter his age-32 season and is one of the oldest corners in the league, so we can’t expect him to improve much, if at all. Frankly, the odds are that his play will continue to decline.
Fabian Moreau- Moreau kept his every-other-game narrative going with a bounce-back performance in Sunday’s game against the Eagles.
For starters, this was the first game he ever played 100% of the snaps in. He was targeted four times on his 37 coverage snaps and only allowed 2 receptions for 6 yards and a first down on those plays; unfortunately, that first down was a third-down touchdown pass to Nelson Agholor. Moreau stopped Darren Sproles for no gain on the only other catch he gave up.
He also defended a pass that was intended for Golden Tate on a third-down play, which forced the Eagles into one of their two three-and-outs in the game.
Moreau finished the contest with 2 solo and 4 total tackles, but missed a tackle for the fourth time this season, as well.
The UCLA product was much improved in his second year in the league. Of the four cornerbacks on the team who played 300 or more snaps in 2018, Moreau posted the best numbers in the following metrics: passer rating when targeted (105.8), coverage snaps per target (8.7) and coverage snaps per reception (13.2).
He played significantly less snaps on the boundary (488 to 282), but despite what you might’ve heard, he was actually more successful on the outside (78.7 passer rating, 16.7 coverage snaps/rec and 0.95 yards per coverage snap) than he was in the slot (115.4 passer rating, 11.8 coverage snaps/rec and 1.17 yards per coverage snap).
The ultra-athletic corner still has two years left on his rookie deal.
Greg Stroman- Greg Stroman started for the third time this year and played on 70% of the snaps. This was the fifth game in the last seven weeks in which he operated as the team’s primary slot corner.
Stroman gave up a catch all three times he was targeted, but those receptions only went for a total of 22 yards and 1 first down. Of the 22 yards he surrendered, 19 of them came on a 2nd-and-13 pass to Alshon Jeffrey.
One of his 4 solo and 5 total tackles came on a third-down stop he made of Golden Tate 4 yards shy of the line to gain.
He played in all but one game and got 386 snaps with the defense. He had both his share of ups (an INT, FF, FR and a QB hit) and downs (3 TDs allowed and 5 games with 50-plus yards in his coverage), but that’s about as good as you can realistically hope for from a seventh-round rookie cornerback.
Stroman earned a season-long PFF grade of 70.0, which ranked fifth among all rookie corners and eighth among all rookie defensive backs (min. 300 snaps).
Adonis Alexander- Alexander played in his ninth game of the year and made an appearance on defense for just the second time this season. He played just one snap with the D on Sunday, though. The only other time he saw the field on defense in his rookie year was in Week 13 against these same Eagles (10 snaps).
The only stats he recorded on defense this year were two solo tackles and a 6-yard reception allowed, all of which occurred in the aforementioned Week 13 contest.
I’m surprised with all the youth and injuries at the position, that Alexander only got a total of 11 snaps on defense over the course of the entire season.
Alex Carter- The 2015 third-round pick played in his first game since 2016 and what was the second game of his four-year career. All 13 of his snaps came on special teams. He has never played on defense in the pros.
The only reason he was signed to the roster last week was because of all of the losses the team has recently suffered in the secondary (Danny Johnson, Joshua Holsey, Montae Nicholson and D.J. Swearinger).
Crippled Cornerbacks Corps- Okay, so maybe crippled is a strong word here, but the desire to use the alliteration got the best of me.
Nevertheless, the fact that three of the seven players the team used at corner this year ended the season on the Injured Reserve list is not ideal. Those three players accounted for 60% of the defenders the team placed on IR.
The worst part about this is that the Redskins’ #2 CB, Quinton Dunbar, missed 9 games with a nerve injury. Outside of Dunbar and Josh Norman, the other five cornerbacks had only played a combined total of 68 career defensive snaps coming into the season.
|Safeties (4 Players)|
|Player (* - starter)||Snaps||Snap %|
|Ha Ha Clinton-Dix *||71||100%|
|Deshazor Everett *||69||97%|
|Harlan Miller||ST Only||0%|
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix- Ha Ha Clinton-Dix played on 100% of the snaps for the seventh time in the last eight weeks; he only missed one snap in that span (Week 11 vs. Texans).
He was targeted three times on his 37 coverage snaps and allowed 2 receptions for a total of 15 yards and 1 first down on those plays.
HHCD made solo tackles after each of the catches he gave up and finished the game with 4 solo and 6 total takedowns.
Clinton-Dix is by no means a bad player, but he isn’t the Pro Bowl caliber talent we all thought he was, either. He didn’t intercept a single pass in his 9 games with the Skins and only recorded 3 PDs while in a Washington uniform. He did force one fumble and recover another, but that’s all he did for this team in the “big-play department.” And sure, he made a bunch of tackles here (65), but he missed tackles or took horrible angles on a handful plays, as well.
Washington’s defense also gave up a lot more big plays after he showed up than they did in the first half of the season. In Weeks 1-8, the team gave up 23 plays of 20 or more yards (4th fewest in the NFL). After the trade for HHCD (Weeks 9-17), the defense surrendered 35 plays that gained 20-plus yards (tied for 8th most in the league). As the team’s free safety and “last line of defense,” Clinton-Dix should bear a fair amount of the blame for this.
The then 5-2 Redskins gambled a fourth-round pick away because, once again, they thought they were just a player away. That bet failed miserably, as they went 2-7 with Ha Ha in the lineup. I, of course, don’t think he was the main reason for their pitiful record in the second half of the year.
Clinton-Dix has made it clear that he is looking for a big payday in free agency, so don’t be surprised if he never dons the Burgundy and Gold again.
Deshazor Everett- Deshazor Everett took over for the recently-released D.J. Swearinger and set a new season high with 69 defensive snaps, which is actually 3 more than he had coming into the game (66). This was the 11th start of his four-year career.
He recorded 5 solo and 9 total tackles in the game. Both of those tackle figures were season highs and were the third-highest totals of his career. His 9 total takedowns ranked second on the team and his 3 defensive stops represented a new career high.
Everett also intercepted a pass for the second time in his career (Week 14 of the 2016 season at Eagles). He made the pick on a 3rd-and-5 play that started on the Washington 23-yard line. The veteran safety caught the ball at the 7-yard line and returned it 24 yards out to the 31. Not only were those the first return yards of his career, those 24 yards represented the team’s longest gain of the day.
If you only looked at these traditional stats, you’d probably think that Everett had a fantastic game. Unfortunately, outside of the interception and a few nice tackles, Everett actually played quite poorly.
He missed a whopping, career-high 5 tackles, one of which came on the Eagles’ final touchdown of the day. The 5 whiffs were tied for the most by a Redskins’ defender this season (Nicholson had 5 MTs vs. Packers in Week 3). No other player on the team had missed more than 2 tackles in a game all year. Only five other players on the team missed that many tackles all year.
Everett had only been targeted once this season, but on Sunday he allowed 6-of-6 targets to be caught for 52 yards. All of those totals were new career highs for him and ranked second-worst on the team in this game. Two of the three first-down grabs he allowed came on third down.
Everett is a great special teamer and a better-than-average backup safety, but probably nothing more. He will only count roughly $1.5M against the cap in what is currently the final year of his contract.
Jeremy Reaves- After making his NFL debut last week, the rookie DB out of South Alabama made his first career appearance on defense in Sunday’s game. Reaves only played 2 snaps though, with one of those coming at strong safety and the other at cornerback.
He was not targeted and did not record a stat on either play.
Reaves won’t turn 23 until just before the 2019 season kicks off and he absolutely filled up the stat sheet in college (301 tackles, 20.5 TFLs, 8 FFs, 8 INTs and 22 PDs), so there is certainly some potential here.
Harlan Miller- Miller played for the second time this season and in as many weeks. However, all 12 of his snaps this year have come on special teams (7 vs. Eagles).
I doubt he’ll be back with the team next season and it wouldn’t be wise to expect much from him even if he was. Miller has only made one big play in his three-year NFL career (52-yard INT return in 2016). He was cut by the Cardinals five times before he came to Washington.
ALL DEFENSIVE PLAYERS
|Defense (26 Players)|
|Player (* - starter)||Snaps||Snap %||Player (* - starter)||Snaps||Snap %|
|Ha Ha Clinton-Dix *||71||100%||Tim Settle||21||30%|
|Fabian Moreau *||71||100%||Caleb Brantley||15||21%|
|Josh Norman *||71||100%||Stacy McGee||14||20%|
|Deshazor Everett *||69||97%||Marcus Smith||6||8%|
|Mason Foster *||69||97%||Zach Vigil||2||3%|
|Ryan Kerrigan *||58||82%||Jeremy Reaves||2||3%|
|Daron Payne *||57||80%||Adonis Alexander||1||1%|
|Jonathan Allen *||56||79%||Alex Carter||ST Only||0%|
|Preston Smith *||54||76%||Josh Harvey-Clemons||ST Only||0%|
|Greg Stroman||50||70%||Harlan Miller||ST Only||0%|
|Zach Brown||38||54%||Ryan Anderson||Inactive||N/A|
|Shaun Dion Hamilton *||32||45%||Marquis Flowers||Inactive||N/A|
|Pernell McPhee||24||34%||Matt Ioannidis||Inactive||N/A|
|Special Teams (25 Players)|
|Player||Snaps||Snap %||Player||Snaps||Snap %|
|Jehu Chesson||19||100%||Tress Way||6||32%|
|Josh Harvey-Clemons||19||100%||Michael Floyd||5||26%|
|Marcus Smith||19||100%||Tim Settle||5||26%|
|Zach Vigil||19||100%||Jeremy Sprinkle||5||26%|
|Jeremy Reaves||15||79%||Jonathan Allen||4||21%|
|Matt Flanagan||14||74%||Caleb Brantley||4||21%|
|Alex Carter||13||68%||Ryan Kerrigan||4||21%|
|Adonis Alexander||10||53%||Daron Payne||4||21%|
|Deshazor Everett||10||53%||Jamison Crowder||3||16%|
|Byron Marshall||7||37%||Greg Stroman||3||16%|
|Harlan Miller||7||37%||Ha Ha Clinton-Dix||1||5%|
|Andrew East||6||32%||Dustin Hopkins||1||5%|
|Shaun Dion Hamilton||6||32%|
Snaps- Ben Kotwica’s group of 25 players were on the field for a season-low 19 snaps in Sunday’s game against the Eagles. The unit was comprised of 16 defenders, six offensive players and three specialists.
For the first time this season, Deshazor Everett did not lead the team in specials snaps. Instead, Jehu Chesson, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Marcus Smith and Zach Vigil all tied for the lead with 19 teams snaps each.
Despite only playing on 53% of the snaps on Sunday, Everett still led the team in ST snaps this year with 343 of them. He was not-so-closely followed by Zach Vigil (298) and Josh Harvey-Clemons (295). Everett’s 343 teams snaps in 2018 were 60 more than his previous career high (283 in 2016).
Kick Coverage- Everett, unsurprisingly, led the team in special teams tackles with 9 this season (7 solo, 2 assisted). He’s accomplished that feat in three of his four years in the NFL.
Adonis Alexander recorded the Redskins’ lone specials takedown in Sunday’s game, when he shutdown a 2-yard Darren Sproles’ punt return at the Philadelphia 21. It was his second teams tackle of the year.
Zach Vigil downed a punt at the Eagles’ 32-yard line. Vigil finished the season with the second-most special teams tackles by a Redskins’ player (7).
The only other punt that wasn’t fair caught was downed by Andrew East at the Eagles’ 25-yard line.
Dustin Hopkins- Dustin Hopkins only played one snap in the regular season finale against the Eagles. This was easily a new career low the sixth-year pro, as the only other time he had ever played fewer than 5 snaps in game was in Week 13 against the Giants (3 snaps).
The lone snap came on his only kickoff of the day and that kick went for a touchback. Hop led the league with a career-best 80% touchback rate.
Sunday’s game also marked just the second time in his career that he did not attempt a single extra point or field goal (see the aforementioned contest against New York). He connected on 26-of-29 field goal tries in 2018 and set a new personal record with an 89.7% success rate, a mark which ranked 11th in the NFL.
That was the third-best field goal percentage in franchise history (min. 15 attempts). Only Kai Forbath’s 94.4% clip in 2012 and Mark Moseley’s amazing 95.2% hit rate in 1982 were better; Moseley was the league MVP that year and was the first and only special teams player who has ever won the award.
Hopkins also missed just one extra point all season.
Tress Way- Tress Way punted the ball five times for 224 yards and a 44.8 average. Only one of them was returned and Darren Sproles gained just 2 yards on the play before being tackled at the 21-yard line. That return dropped his net average just a tick to 44.4. Way’s season-long average and net average of 45.3 and 41.5 ranked 13th and 9th in the NFL.
Two of his punts against the Eagles were downed at the 25 and the 32 and the other two were fair caught at the 13 and 16-yard lines, which bumped his NFL-best number of punts inside the 20 to 41. That is the seventh most such punts in a single season in NFL history. He also led the league in punts inside the 5-yard line (8).
Way did slide to second, behind only Titans punter Brett Kern, in punts-inside-the-20 percentage. His 51.9% success rate in this regard is the sixth best mark in the last 15 years.
He did all of this while not kicking a touchback once all season. He punted the ball 79 times, more than all but five players did in 2018, and kept the ball out of the end zone on every single one of them.
Sav Rocca is the only player in recorded history who punted the ball more times (84 punts) without kicking a touchback. Rocca and Ryan Quigley (71 punts) are the only besides Way who have punted enough times to qualify and have not punted a touchback once in a season.
Despite each of the amazing things you’ve just read about Tress Way’s 2018 season, he somehow ended up ranked sixth in number of All-Pro votes, with just three of them. Now maybe he shouldn’t have made the First-Team, but the fact that he got this few votes and wasn’t selected to the Pro Bowl either is an absolute crime.
Oh, and by the way, Tress moved the sticks with a 7-yard fake-punt pass against the Eagles. Both of his career attempts have come on fake punts and he completed both passes for first downs.
Punt Returns- Jamison Crowder operated as the team’s punt returner for the second straight week and the second time this season. He fair caught one Philly punt at the 9-yard line, but gained 9 and 11 yards on his two returns in the contest, both of which made it out to the Washington 46-yard line.
Those were Crowder’s first returns of the year. His 20 yards and 10-yard average both were the second-best numbers posted by a Redskins’ punt returner in 2018. Only Trey Quinn’s Thanksgiving day performance against the Cowboys was better (2 returns, 40 yards, 20-yard average).
Unfortunately, Crowder’s late-season return to this role was not enough to save the team from several embarrassing rankings. They ranked 25th in the NFL with a 6.47 return average, but that’s not even the worst part.
The Redskins finished the season with both the fewest number of punt returns (17) and the fewest return yards in the NFL (110). That’s right they ranked dead last in both categories. On top of all that, those figures represented the second and third-worst totals in franchise history. You have to go all the way back to 1970 to find the last time they were worse in either category.
Kickoff Returns- Two of Philly’s five kickoffs went for touchbacks and the rest were returned by Byron Marshall.
Marshall gained 17, 23 and 15 yards on his returns before he was tackled at the 23, 24 and 18-yard lines, respectively. The fact that he never made it out to the 25 and averaged 18.3 yards per return left a lot to be desired, but he did set new career highs in both number of kickoff returns (3) and kickoff return yardage (55).
The Redskins struggled on kickoff returns all season. They finished the year ranked 30th in return average (19.7) and their 570 kickoff return yards this season tied the record for the fewest such yards in franchise history.
*All statistics are courtesy of ESPN, The Football Database, NBC Sports, NFL.com, NFL Gamebooks, Pro Football Focus, Pro Football Reference, Redskins.com, Team Rankings and The Washington Post*
Who was the Redskins’ Defensive Player of the Year in 2018?
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Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
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