Tim Hightower, the running back the Redskins re-signed over the weekend, is not exactly a dynamic runner. His career average is a pedestrian 3.9 yards per carry. But that is not the number the Redskins were concerned with when they decided to bring him back. The number they were looking at was 140.That is the number of 2011 sacks posted by the Eagles (50, tied for first in NFL), Giants (48, tied for third), and Cowboys (42, tied for seventh). According to the research of Pat Kirwan of CBSSports.com, the 140 combined sacks were the most posted by any trio of NFL teams in the same division last year.That comes to about three sacks per game by the Redskins NFC East rivals. Washington actually fared a little bit better than the league as a whole controlling the pass rush in its division games. In their six division games the Redskins quarterbacks were sacked 14 times, an average of 2.3 per contest.Still, Robert Griffin III cant have a successful season if he has to deal with Jason Pierre Paul, Trent Cole, and DeMarcus Ware bearing down on him play after play. In his article, Kirwan outlines some ways that the Redskins can counter the heat they will face in the NFC East including developing an effective running game and having RG3 develop a good relationship with tight end Fred Davis.But while schemes and strategies are important, pass protection boils down to the blocker staying in between the defender and the quarterback. Hightower is good at that and when he is healthy and on the field, Trent Williams, who lines up against Ware, Cole, and Justin Tuck in those division games, is too. Those two players will be critical if Griffin is going to lead the Redskins out of their longtime spot in the basement of the NFC East.
RG3 will face tough pass rush in NFC East
May 17, 2012, 1:21 pm