The Washington Post

Redskins look to shore up run defense

In the Redskins’ four-game losing streak, opponents have run relentlessly at the Washington defense, and don’t be surprised if the Miami Dolphins haven’t taken notice and follow suit.

The league average thus far is for teams to run 26.7 times per game, averaging 115.3 yards an outing. In the past four games, the Redskins have faced 35 rushing plays and given up an average of 160.75 yards.

Jim Haslett, the Redskins’ defensive coordinator, says that when opponents choose to run that often, it not only cuts down on the team’s opportunities for interceptions but will inevitably result in some rushing yards.

“There’s a number of different reasons why that happens,” he said. “But somebody rushes 35 times, you hold them to 3 yards per carry, which would be probably number one in the league, you’ve still given up 105 yards of offense.”

The Dolphins’ Reggie Bush has picked up steam in recent weeks. He averaged just 23 yards an outing in Miami’s first three games. He’s averaged 77 the last four. He had 103 yards Oct. 30 at the New York Giants and 92 in last Sunday’s win at Kansas City.

Though opponents are tallying a lot rushing yards against the Redskins, Haslett says the numbers are somewhat misleading. Last Sunday, the 49ers finished with 138 rushing yards, but 27 of those yards came on Frank Gore’s second-quarter run around the right end.

“I think you guys make a little but more of it than it is,” Haslett said. “Last week, we actually did a good job except for one play where we missed a tackle, and he hit the [27-yarder]. Besides that I thought we did a pretty good job on them as a whole.

“I think it’s a missed tackle here, a missed assignment here,” he continued. “Those things happen. We just have to do a better job of tackling.”

Rick Maese is a sports features writer for The Washington Post.


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