By Kevin Ross II
The Redskins have won four games in a row, but all of the winning has camouflaged a major team flaw. To get right to it, the secondary has been below average, to put it nicely. Those who are not nice would call the secondary horrendous, and it would be hard to argue that point.
Redskins four-game win streak is deceiving
The four game win streak began in Chicago. It was Kirk Cousins who bailed the team out, and no one took time to talk about the secondary. Against Chicago, Jay Cutler compiled 315 yards and had his way with the defensive backs. Cutler was able to mount a nice comeback, but the Redskins offense came through in the clutch.
The next week against the Bills, the defense again needed to be bailed out by Cousins, as Tyrod Taylor connected on multiple deep touchdown strikes to Sammie Watkins, and the Bills almost made a comeback.
In the biggest game of the season against Philadelphia, this time the secondary allowed Sam Bradford to compile 380 passing yards. Although last Sunday can be forgiven, the defense still allowed Kellen Moore to quietly have a career day, posting 435 yards and three touchdowns.
How will the Redskins secondary do against Rodgers?
With that being said, if Washington’s secondary has struggled this much against Tyrod Taylor, Jay Cutler, and Sam Bradford, how will they fare against Aaron Rodgers? The rhetoric developing around Aaron Rodgers points to him having a down year, but the statistics tell a different story. In a year without any noticeable weapons, Rogers was still able to compile 31 touchdown passes—two more than Cousins—with only 8 interceptions, which is three less than Cousins.
And if you’re the Redskins, the last thing that you want is a shootout with the veteran Aaron Rodgers on this stage. If Washington is to beat Green Bay, the secondary of DeAngelo Hall, Bashaud Breeland, Will Blackmon, Dashon Goldson, and Quinton Dunbar are going to need some help. The above unit has struggled, but the problem facing them is that their level of talent doesn’t leave much room for improvement. The secondary will unequivocally need a strong game by the defensive line if the Redskins want to continue in the playoffs.
The stats say that Preston Smith and his eight sacks make him the best rookie pass rusher in the league. Ryan Kerrigan finished the season with 9.5 sacks, and he has been great for Washington. But Kerrigan is still lacking a “JJ Watt” moment where he completely takes over a game. This would be a fine time for Kerrigan to have such a moment. However, Chris Baker, Terrence Knighton, and the guys in the middle will have the biggest impact on the game.
The blueprint to a win over Green Bay
If the Redskins are able to stuff Eddie Lacy and the Packer’s rush attack, this will make Green Bay one dimensional. If the Packers are in a pass only offense, the Redskins can unleash the hounds and blitz Green Bay’s porous offensive line; thus limiting the pressure on the secondary. This is the blueprint to beat Green Bay.
Kevin Ross is a freelance writer covering all things Washington Redskins. His work can be found on Examiner.com.