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Pro Football Focus Rankings for Washington’s Defense Through Six Games

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NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Washington Football Team Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

In an article that will undoubtedly get some fans IRATE, I am yet again at odds with PFF’s “subjective” grading system as it pertains to our Washington Football Team.

My focus here is on the defense - and for good reason.


First, it think it’s best to go over exactly HOW they grade...

The PFF grading system evaluates every player on every play during a football game. We believe that #EveryPlayCounts and that attention to detail provides insights and data that cannot be found anywhere else. The grading system was founded on the principle of grading “production” rather than traits or measurables, but perhaps a better way to describe it is a player’s “contribution to production” on a given play.

We understand that PFF grade is not perfect, but it’s also a unique look at a player’s production, and when paired with PFF’s advanced data, it’s one of the most powerful tools in the game. PFF grading is both descriptive and predictive, and in many cases, we’ve debunked myths about traditional stats, showing that the production grade is a better indicator of what happened on the field and what will happen going forward.

*You can read the article on how PFF grades in its entirety HERE.


Here are the “starters” grades on defense through 6 games:

Jonathan Allen - 90.5

Matt Ioannidis - 77.0

Chase Young - 75.1

Montez Sweat- 74.4

Kendall Fuller - 66.3

Kam Curl - 65.3

Daron Payne - 63.2

Benjamin St-Juste - 57.7

Bobby McCain - 54.9

Jamin Davis - 50.6

Cole Holcomb - 49.6

Landon Collins - 48.7

William Jackson III - 46.8

First, let’s start out with the most obvious - Kendall Fuller.

IN WHAT WORLD is Kendall Fuller our highest rated defensive back? Fuller had been picked on more that the fat kid in third grade who wears homemade sweaters to school! And his tackling...let’s not even go there!

Second, is the surprisingly low rating for Cole Holcomb - who has been one of the team’s top defenders this season. Now granted, Cole has had some gaffs in coverage, but most of the time, he’s been there (although I do have a problem with any scheme requiring him to cover Alvin Kamara down the sideline on a Wheel route). He has been very solid against the run - already collecting 58 total tackles (two for a loss), forcing two fumbles, and recording a sack. He also has an interception on the season, to go along with two passes defended.

Third is the low rating rookie Benjamin St-Juste was given. I understand he’s not had the reps that guys like Fuller and William Jackson III have been given, but in his limited playing time, he’s far out-preformed both of the previously mention corners - in both coverage and tackling (and the way both Fuller and Jackson have NOT tackled, that’s definitely worth something).

And now, on to some positives...

Jonathan Allen is having an All-Pro type season (at least according to PFF). His 90.5 rating leads the defense by miles. His 24 total tackles, including five for a loss, and three sacks tell some of the story, but it’s his quarterback hits (14), pressures and win-rate verses offensive lineman that really complete the book.

Speaking of positives - I distinctly remember some people already calling Chase Young a bust in just the 21st game of his young career. PFF certainly sees this differently; as do I (see, we actually can agree on some things). Despite not putting up gaudy numbers, Young is certainly making an impact along the defensive front. His 19 tackles, 1.5 sacks and four quarterback hits may not look all that impressive, but his win-rate and pressure tell a different story.

As for the Elephant in the Room - Landon Collins; let’s hope a permanent move to off-the-ball linebacker can turn things around for him.


Please share in the comment section your thoughts on the PFF defensive rankings through the first six games.