The Redskins defense has greatly improved since Joe Barry was hired as the Redskins’ defensive coordinator this off-season. Many were conflicted on the signing, myself included, but Joe Barry’s defense has been nothing short of impressive in his first four games in DC.
According to DVOA Rankings the Redskins have improved significantly since last year under Jim Haslett:
One of the most underrated players on the team, Chris Baker, has stepped up significantly. In his first four games Baker has played a total of 100 snaps. 38 of those snaps have been in run defense while the other 62 have been in pass rush. According to ProFootballFocus’ signature stats, Chris Baker is rated the #1 3-4 defensive end in run stop percent, as well as ranked the #7 in pass rushing productivity through the first four games of the season with snaps greater than 25%. Let’s take a look at a few of his plays against the Eagles last Sunday.
The first sack of the game comes on 3rd down and 10 on the Philadelphia 20 yard line. This is the Eagles first drive of the game as the Redskins drive lasted well over seven minutes.
In this play, #92 Baker bullrushes right guard #64 Mike Tobin after the snap. Tobin actually controls the block for the first 1-2 seconds on the play, but Baker is able to lower is center of gravity, get his left arm underneath the right arm Tobin and throw him off-balance.
This is what opens the door for Baker to finish the sack.
In the second half, Baker and outside linebacker #91 Ryan Kerrigan run stunts. Kerrigan angles his rush outwards and then back inside to the B-gap between right guard #67 Dennis Kelly and right tackle #65 Lane Johnson. Baker attacks the inside shoulder of RG Kelly to turn his body inwards so that he can’t see Kerrigan coming to his right side.
RT Johnson engages with Kerrigan forcing him into RG Kelly, which causes a pile-up of the two Eagles’ blockers. Baker is free at this point to wrap around for the sack on Bradford.
A prefectly executed stunt by Kerrigan and Baker.
Sitting at 6’2″ 325 lbs, Chris Baker’s run defense is his best strength. Against the Giants in Week 3, he dominated the line of scrimmage stopping multiple runs at or behind the line of scrimmage. Baker’s run defense versus the Eagles was sound controlling his gap responsibilities, but the Eagles’ misdirection and horizontal stretch offense pulled him out of the plays more often than not.
Here is an example of Baker penetrating into the backfield on a zone stretch run. Baker’s penetration, caused mainly by a blocking miscommunication by center #62 Jason Kelce, allows him to push running back #29 DeMarco Murray deeper into the backfield to be run out of bounds by Kerrigan and safety #30 Kyshoen Jarrett.
By the start of the second half the Eagles started sending double teams his way for the rest of the game. The combination blocks nullified his pass rushing ability for the most part, but allowed other members of the Redskins defense to pressure Bradford resulting in a sack on 3rd down in the Eagles’ final drive. Baker is a brightspot in the Redskins’ new defense featuring a front seven that is taking much needed pressure off of the Redskins’ secondary.
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