clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Film notes: Defensive standouts vs. Cleveland

Defensive standouts from the Commanders week one preseason matchup against the Cleveland Browns

NFL: Preseason-Washington Commanders at Cleveland Browns Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Washington’s starting defense did not start well against the Cleveland Browns and collectively struggled in a few areas while trying to contain the Browns’ run game and its mobile quarterback Deshaun Watson, who scrambled three times for 20 yards. However, things turned around in their favor once the Browns entered inside the ten-yard line, where the defense forced a turnover-on-downs and got off the field. Throughout the night and on the first drive, there were some positives to shine a light on defensively. Here are some notable reps from the Commanders defensive side of the football from Friday night.

Chase Young gets pressure with effective use of hands.

This was an explosive and effective pass-rush rep from Chase Young. Because of his alignment outside of the tackle, he can attempt to use his burst to threaten the Browns’ tackle immediately, Jedrick Wills. This is a good matchup, though, as Wills has good initial quickness at the snap and reaches his set point to cut off Young’s rush path. However, Young won the rep at the engagement point, where he countered Wills’s punch by getting his hands under Wills’s left elbow and fork-lifting Wills out of the way to get a hit on Watson.

Percy Butler being in the right coverage position pays off.

Percy Butler had a few good defensive reps in pass coverage, but these two specifically allowed him to make a play because he was in the correct position. In the first play, the Commanders are in a Cover 3 defense, where Butler starts in a 2-high structure and sprints down to take away the flats area near the boundary. What is most impressive in this rep is how he could leverage both the crossing receiver approaching behind him and the chipping tight end working toward the flat area. Showing good change of direction, processing skills, and zone eyes with his ability to maintain a reasonable distance between both threats, Butler could quickly close in on the flats receiver because of his patience and limit the Browns to a four-yard gain.

In his second rep, the Commanders call a cover-two defense, where his responsibility is to stay over top of the deepest receiver(s) on his side of the field. Because Butler was in the right place, maintaining his cushion, and the underneath defenders were playing their zone responsibilities well, he turned the ball over after Dobbs failed to throw a perfect ball.

Efe Obada easily creates two pressures.

You see Obada’s defensive versatility in these two clips and why Washington values him. In the first, Obada is aligned as a 5-tech defender, outside of Browns’ tackle James Hudson III. Like Young’s rep, Hudson initially cut Obada’s rush path off with good mirroring at the snap. However, Obada counters at the engagement point using a club move once Hudson over-adjusted, leaving an easy outside path to the quarterback.

In the next rep, Obada aligned as a 3-tech defender, now between Hudson and left guard Wes Martin. Martin attempts to jump Obada at the snap, but Obada’s hands are quick and ready for the engagement before Wes attempts to engage him. Obada swims over Martin and keeps his balance as he clears the line of scrimmage and gets in the backfield.

Christian Holmes processing and physicality signal growth from his rookie year.

Holmes had an outstanding day, and it showed early on the field with his juice and physicality. In the first rep, with Cleveland needing 20 yards to get a first down, Holmes is playing off-man coverage. So giving up what would have been a seven-yard gain is a win for the defense. However, at the catch point, Holmes shows good acceleration and physical toughness to jar the ball loose from receiver Austin Watkins Jr.

Washington utilized a cover 3 zone in the second rep on 2nd and 6. Holmes, again, is playing off-coverage. For Holmes, he did a good job maintaining his cushion and using his eyes and leverage in bail coverage. Again, he dislodges the football at the catch point to prevent the first down.

In the last rep, Washington came out in a cover 2 defense. Holmes on the boundary, aligned in press coverage, re-routing the receiver before getting into his zone. Because of his eyes and how he read the quarterback, he quickly closed in on running back John Kelly for a big hit and minimal gain.