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Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, July 5, 21 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Will the Redskins’ defense be better than average in 2018?


Usually, when we break out the $100 in imaginary casino chips here they are spread out over multiple propositions. But nothing says that the chips can’t go on a yes or no question. Earlier this week we looked at the chances of Alex Smith surpassing 4,000 yards passing. Today, we will look at the other side of the ball and see if the Redskins’ defense can become one of the better units in the NFL. 

We can measure overall defensive performance in a number of ways. Here, we’re going to look at total yards allowed from scrimmage. 

Betting tips: Last year the Redskins ranked 21st in the NFL, giving up 5,566 yards. That was 221 yards more than the league average. So they would have to improve by 222 yards to become better than average or 14 yards per game. That’s about four percent. It may seem to be easy, but every bit of improvement here is hard earned. 

To break it down, the bulk of the Redskins’ defensive problems came from an inability to stop the run. They were fairly strong against the pass, finishing ninth in passing yards allowed with 3,240 or 214 yards per game. It was a different story against the run as they were gashed for 2,146 yards on the ground, 134 per game. 

Yes, $55—During the offseason, the Redskins took major steps to shore up that awful rushing defense. In the first round, they took nose tackle Daron Payne. The team has been running the 3-4 defense since 2010 and they have invested more than late draft picks and low-end free agent dollars in the nose tackle position. And then in the fifth round, they took another nose tackle, Tim Settle. Whether that was planned to build depth or if Settle was just too good to pass up at that point in the draft isn’t known and at the moment and it doesn’t matter. They fixed something that has been broken on their rushing defense for eight seasons. 

The Redskins also should get a full season out of Jonathan Allen, last year’s top draft pick who missed 11 games with a Lisfranc injury. Add in Matt Ioannidis, who should start with Allen and Payne, Stacy McGee, Anthony Lanier, and possibly Ziggy Hood and you have some quality depth.

Add in the re-signings of inside linebacker Zach Brown and Mason Foster and you have a group that should be able to do a much better job of shutting down the run. If they improve by about 20 yards per game, the overall defense will be much better. 

No, $45—The unknown area on the defense is critical, the starters and depth at cornerback. Nickel corner Kendall Fuller was traded and Bashaud Breeland, the starter on the right side, was not re-signed. Orlando Scandrick is likely to end up playing nickel, but he has been hit with injuries the past few years. There is more reason for confidence that Quinton Dunbar will play well, but he still has not played extensively over 16 games in his three-year career. Behind them are two second-year players, Fabian Moreau and Josh Holsey, who are very lightly experienced, and rookie Greg Stroman. 

The safeties are solid and the pass rush was the most effective in the NFL last year, per Football Outsiders, so weakness at corner could be covered up to an extent. But the problems there could push them into the bottom half of the league in defense. 

Side bets: 

—Top 10 in total defense: Yes $35, No $65

—Top 10 in sacks: Yes $70, No $30

—Top 10 in interceptions: Yes $15, No $85

—Over/under 1.5 selected for Pro Bowl: Over $40, Under $60

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler

Tandler on Twitter

Lots of Red Sox fans here at Nats Park. I think I now know what a fan at FedEx Field for an NFC East game feels like.

— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) July 4, 2018


Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 21

—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 35

—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 58

The Redskins last played a game 186 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 66 days. 

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Source : https://www.nbcsports.com/washington/redskins/need-know-will-redskins-improve-defensively-2018

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