Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett is well aware that his team last season ranked 31st in the NFL when it comes to yards allowed.
The Redskins can’t continue to allow 389.3 yards a game, the coach said, but as emphasized all of last season, the statistical categories he most cares about are points allowed and turnovers created.
Washington ranked 21st in points allowed (23.6 per game) and 19th in interceptions (14) and seventh in fumble recoveries (13). Haslett this preseason has preached the importance of improving in those areas.
“We keep stressing it because that’s our No. 1 goal: keeping people off the scoreboard and getting the ball,” Haslett says. “If you can do that, you’ll be a much better football team. One thing that’s never changed over the years is the team that wins the turnover battle usually wins the game. People have scored a lot of points, but haven’t won a lot of championships. But the No. 1 thing is, the team that gets the turnovers wins the game.”
The Redskins this offseason made moves to upgrade their defensive front, which in turn will put more pressure on quarterbacks and also create more opportunities for their revamped secondary. If that happens, Haslett thoroughly expects Washington to improve in points allowed and turnovers created. If that happens, they automatically will improve in the total yards allowed category.
“I do, because last year, we held nine teams to 17 points [or less], which is the defensive goal: to always hold them to 17,” Haslett said. “You can’t give up the 59 against Philly or a 30-something over here. Obviously, points are the big thing in the NFL. But if we can keep teams down, get more pressures, and work on the turnovers, you have a much better football team.”