Haslett taking advantage of improved pass-rusher depth

Jim Haslett, Brian Orakpo

Jim Haslett said the Redskins, led by Brian Orakpo, have more pass-rushing weapons this season. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett last Saturday unveiled another wrinkle in his pass-rushing packages when he went with six linebackers in some third-down situations to take advantage of a wealth of talent at that position.

Rather than the alignment of two defensive linemen and two outside linebackers and two inside linebackers as he often has in his nickel packages, Haslett had linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and Darryl Tapp lined up in three-point stances, almost as defensive tackles, and had Brian Orakpo and Brandon Jenkins at their outside linebacker positions, and London Fletcher and Perry Riley as inside linebackers as always.

This differed from the previous weeks’ games, when Kerrigan lined up alongside defensive end Stephen Bowen as the two interior linemen, with two outside linebackers and two inside linebackers.

Haslett said in June that he wanted to find a way to get all of his top pass rushers on the field at the same time, and he appears to be succeeding at that.

“Just something to try to get a little more speed on the field. We are just trying some things out right now,” Haslett said. “Obviously, when we get into the regular season, who we’re playing, when we’re playing, how we’re playing them, the teams we’re playing will dictate what we can do. We ran it last week, wanted to see what it looked like and I thought those guys did a nice job with it.”

Haslett added, “We enjoy it more when it’s third-and-long, so you can do more of that. When you have better players you can do a lot more.You try and get them on the field. If you have players, you don’t want good football players just sitting around either. You like to have an opportunity for everybody to play some spot, somewhere. It’ll help you win games. I think we’ve just got better players up there right now.”

Haslett said he didn’t see a point in holding that package back in the preseason so the Philadelphia Eagles would be surprised when they saw it. He sees the experience gained from running that look in games as more valuable to his players.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do from week to week,” Haslett said. “This is something we wanted to have and have the ability to work on, and we can change that up every week depending on who we are playing.”

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag.

What’s ahead:

● The Redskins do not practice on Wednesday, and play at 7:30 in Tampa on Thursday.

● The second round of cuts, due by 4 p.m. Saturday, requires rosters to go from 75 to 53.

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