3 and Out: Who will win the NFC East?
Bye week grades: Defensive line
At 1-3, a quarter of the Redskins’ season is already in the books. It’s not the start the reigning NFC East champions had envisioned, but given the sorry state of their division, all hope is not lost, either. As the team enters its Week 5 bye, the players are on hiatus but Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler are grading the team position-by-position. Join the conversation in the comments below.
Every player on the Redskins’ defense has, at times, struggled this season. After all, there’s a reason the unit plummeted to historical depths after three games and still ranks 31st in total yards allowed (1,762) after four contests. The defensive line has not been immune to those struggles.
El-Bashir: The bright spot has been nose tackle Barry Cofield, who despite playing with a broken right hand has been a menace in the middle, recording nine tackles this season and getting two sacks and a crucial fumble recovery in Oakland. The starting ends – Stephen Bowen and Kedric Golston – probably would agree that there’s room for improvement, even after the unit limiting the Lions and Raiders to 63 and 104 yards on the ground, respectively. Bowen does, however, have 10 tackles, which ranks sixth among 3-4 ends, according to ProFootballFocus.com, and seven stops, which lead all Redskins’ linemen. The big question entering next week is whether Jarvis Jenkins, who is returning from suspension, can provide a boost. Grade: C
Tandler: It’s tough to grade a 3-4 D-line in isolation since so much of their job is to set up others to make plays. And, clearly, the eight players behind the line haven’t made enough plays. But it appears to me that by and large it is not the fault of the line. They are not joining in the epidemic of missed tackles we’ve seen this year. Of the 52 missed tackles that Pro Football Focus has for the Redskins, only one has been charged to anyone on the defensive line (Cofield missed one in the opener due to the club cast he was wearing). The defense has been a debacle largely due to the missed tackle and blown coverages and I haven’t seen the line participating in either of those calamities. Grade: B