Starting defense again holds counterparts scoreless

Brian Hoyer, Ryan Kerrigan

Outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan sacks Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer early in the first quarter. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

Through six series of play over the course of two games, the Redskins defense has stood out as the strength of the team.

The unit hasn’t allowed a point, and has yielded only four first downs while accounting for a total of three sacks.

Left outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan led the way on Monday night, recording two sacks, two more hits on the quarterback, two tackles for a loss and two more tackles.

“The first one was obviously a busted communication or something on their part where they snapped the ball and the offensive lineman didn’t move,” Kerrigan said. “But hey, they all count so I’ll take it as it was. The second one was definitely a coverage sack. So thanks to [cornerback DeAngelo] Hall and them back there for making that happen.”

The Redskins’ defense has appeared to be more aggressive, which is just what coordinator Jim Haslett and coach Jay Gruden wanted.

Kerrigan believes the Redskins can maintain their effectiveness in the regular season.

Haslett’s philosophies have changed some. But Kerrigan attributed the strong start to a collective newfound sense of motivation following the team’s joint practices with the New England Patriots.

“I think it’s more of a mentality than anything,” he said. “It really started with the Patriots practices and we really stepped up and we were able to carry it over to the Patriots game and now carry it over to the Cleveland game. … What’s been the most encouraging thing about it is, we’re not allowing points and we’re not allowing a lot of yardage. It’s a lot of three-and-outs. We’ve had five or six three-and-outs and we’ve played six or seven series, so that’s pretty awesome.”

Washington’s defense will face an offense of a significantly higher pedigree as the team takes on the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.

In that game the Redskins’ starters are expected to log their most extensive playing time of the preseason. The defense will try to see if they can maintain their effectiveness.

Have a Redskins question? Send an e-mail to mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered on Tuesday in The Mailbag.

What’s ahead:

Mike Jones’s five observations from Monday night’s game.

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Takeaway: Another Griffin false startGriffin takes his hits

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D.C. Sports Bog: Redskins vs. Browns best and worst

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