Redskins vs. Colts game review (defense)

Redskins Confidential,Sports,John Keim

1. I know Barry Cofield hasn’t made a lot of splashy plays this summer, but he is more consistent and that’s what the Redskins wanted. The big plays will come off that; he is making some noise in the backfield with pressure. But it’s the consistency against the run that has been noticeable. On the first play of the game he’s low, plays with power and isn’t moved. Adam Carriker, too, was stout. The middle is clogged; the play is stopped for one yard. Carriker and Cofield did a solid job the other night.

2. Cofield did manage some pressure, first getting to the outside of the center and flushing QB Andrew Luck up. Another time he hit Luck as he threw, thanks to a rip move. But mostly he played the run well. He even drew a clipping penalty when he was doubled (pulling down the blocker in front of him as he was clipped; a savvy move. It appeared that linemen initially thought a defensive holding was going to be called).

3. Jarvis Jenkins still had his issues staying low. At the snap he’s often OK, but he then tends to get too upright while engaging the lineman. It’s more pronounced when he has to run some sort of stunt or game and he comes around a little tall. He loses his power, which should be a strength. Once he was too upright when engaging the guard, but he stunned him off the snap. However, the guard was able to recover. As Jenkins learns to stay lower, this is a play that would end much differently. It’s not like Jenkins played poorly, but the last step is for him to mimic a Cofield (or any of the other starting linemen) by staying low more often. Haven’t seen him use a rip or swim move much, either, but first things first. He also might be best served in nickel rushes right now when he doesn’t have to worry about playing the run; his steps are better. Saw that on a third and six in which he just moved his man right back and was in Andrew Luck’s face as he threw.

4. London Fletcher’s sack was the result of more coordination. Carriker took the right tackle and Ryan Kerrigan was engaged with tight end Dwayne Allen going wide. The right guard had pulled to the other side where right outside linebacker Chris Wilson was rushing. That freed up Fletcher to rush through the guard and tackle for a clean shot at Luck. Kerrigan arrived just afterward and in essence Fletcher tackled Luck, Kerrigan and Allen.

5. Bowen had one of the more powerful rushes that ended in a sack for minus-six yards. He tossed aside center Samson Satele and had a clear path to Luck. It helped that Kerrigan applied pressure from the outside, pushing up Luck.

6. Give Bryan Kehl credit for playing outside linebacker in a pinch. He’s a lifelong inside ‘backer, but handled the role OK the other night. There was one time in which he appeared confused about what he should do in coverage. At the snap he started to follow the tight end, stopped and ran back near the line, stopped and tried to drop into coverage.  The middle was open. Not sure where he was supposed to go, but it’s the one time it appeared uncertain about his role on the outside.

7. Rookie Keenan Robinson is starting to play with a little more speed. Showed up around the ball a little more; still not polished, but he is starting to hit his run fits faster. Did have one blitz in which he could have had a sack with perhaps a better angle. He blitzed through the center and left guard, but rounded his angle too much. He’ll learn; all he needs to do is watch London Fletcher or even Lorenzo Alexander come on a blitz. As they say, both those two arrive angry. Ask the running back that tried to pick up Alexander the other night.

8. Seventh-round pick Richard Crawford had his toughest night; he missed a tackle and allowed a couple catches. That’s going to happen. On one, though, he played the receiver to the inside so much so that it appeared he expected help outside. But the receiver took him in, then cut back out for an easy catch. Need to find out what happened on that one. But Crawford did have good coverage on a pass to the back of the end zone.

9. Nothing worse than replay challenges in preseason games (obviously as a coach you have to do them; practice everything you know). Remember the reception the Colts challenged that they won? From the time they threw the red flag until play resumed, it took four minutes, 59 seconds. Felt like an eternity.

10. Loved the tackle Perry Riley made on Donnie Avery in the open field on a screen pass. Riley did get juked on a couple plays, allowing extra yardage, but not on this one. One thing that helped: Corner DeAngelo Hall was wide enough that Avery needed to cut inside where Riley was pursuing.

11. Chris Wilson twice split two blocks, once putting his head down as if ramming through a hole. It worked. We also saw the combination of speed and a powerful left hand slap on the safety.

12. Second-year Markus White remains an intriguing prospect because of his athleticism. After winning a roster spot in 2011 because of his raw ability, does he deserve another year? If so, it’s still based on raw ability as others have performed better. He’s a big, powerful player but doesn’t always play that way as it appears he’s still adjusting to rushing as a standup linebacker. Against Indianapolis, he at times was bent over a bit too much at the waist before the snap. Knee bend leads to power, but he didn’t show enough of it and when he did by the time he’d reach the tackle he was too upright. It’s a tough trick to learn (something Andre Carter struggled with). On one rush, White was bent at the waist but had little knee bend. The left tackle had no problems stopping him. A play later he had a better stance, showed some power but then lost his balance and fell. This isn’t to pick on White, who is eligible for the practice squad, but if you’re trying to pick 53 guys who can help the team now then Chris Wilson should be ahead of him.

13. Ryan Kerrigan still leans so much at the snap trying to get a good jump that he has to balance himself by occasionally putting his left hand down. He’s coming off the snap better this year.

14. No surprise here, but safety Tanard Jackson seemed just as active in re-watching the game as he did live. I’ll also say that it’s very, very tough to gauge how guys did in coverage at times without knowing exactly what the coverage was and what their responsibilities are. It’s impossible. But Jackson kept flashing and that’s a good thing. He broke up a slant pass to Donnie Avery with a vicious hit. He made a quick tackle on a second-and-17 pass to T.Y. Hilton in which Jackson read QB Andrew Luck (who stared down this route) for a six-yard gain. Jackson ended up making five tackles, showing the clichéd good nose for the ball. But I also liked the play in which he came up hard on the right side just before the snap and took on two blockers. He cut the receiver trying to block him and that forced the fullback to take him on instead of a linebacker. And that allowed London Fletcher to run free to the hole for the short stop. Jackson also had a big hit on the Hail Mary pass to close the half.

15. Does this night put him in the running for a starting job? Though Jackson was playing strong safety, he’s considered more of a free safety. (As you know, the Redskins need them to play both. The more versatility you have as a safety the more the defense can do. ). Starting free safety Madieu Williams’ one glaring mistake was the 31-yard touchdown pass he allowed to T.Y. Hilton. On the play Williams got held up briefly by the path of the slot receiver. But Hilton forced him into a bad angle by faking an out route. When Hilton turned upfield, it was all over. Williams has been consistent from the spring to the summer to the preseason games and worked with the first unit throughout. But Jackson stood out.


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