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Sam's Film Room: What happened to Washington's defense?

Sam Gold's latest video looks at what is going on with Washington's defense this year

NFL: Washington Football Team at Buffalo Bills Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

If you were to list the top defenses in the NFL before the 2021 season started, you would have included teams like the Los Angeles Rams, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and you probably would have included the Washington Football Team. By all metrics, and by looking at sites like Football Outsiders or ProFootballFocus, Washington was among the best in the entire NFL. Going into this season, many, including myself, expected that to hold true. They had their entire defensive line full of first rounders returning to the field. They spent a first round pick on an inside linebacker in the most recent NFL Draft. They also still have Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio calling all the plays. There is no reason why they should have fallen this quickly, but here we are four weeks into the NFL season and they just don’t look the same.

In this video, I’m going to answer this question: What happened to Washington’s defense? Is it their ability to stop the run? Is it their pass rush with guys like Chase Young and Montez Sweat? Or is it their pass coverage that is simply not good? In my opinion, it starts with big plays due to miscommunications, poor performances by individual players not playing up to their contracts, and a horrible third down defense.