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#HailMail: Redskins Take On The Jets

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Redskins.com's Andrew Walker answers YOUR questions submitted on Facebook and Twitter about Sunday's Redskins-Jets matchup at MetLife Stadium.

@FlawZyloo on Twitter asks: "@Redskins How is the defense planning on stopping the run this week compared to last week? #HailMail"

This will be a huge component of the Redskins' gameplan this week against Chris Ivory and the New York Jets, particularly after last week, when Washington allowed Devonta Freeman to run wild on them its overtime loss to Atlanta.

But I see the Redskins on Sunday getting much closer to performing like they did in the first four games of the season against the run – meaning, it won't be a huge factor for the Jets, as long as the game stays close.

Against the Falcons, the Redskins were without their top two cornerbacks in Chris Culliver and DeAngelo Hall. So against such a prolific passing offense – with the likes of Matt Ryan at quarterback and Julio Jones at wide receiver – the Washington defense had to focus on stopping the pass first before they could think about stopping the run. The plan worked for the most part – Ryan had his worst performance of the season, throwing two picks – but what suffered as a result was the Redskins' run defense.

Against the Jets, the Redskins should be able to focus a little less on the pass – that's not to say Brandon Marshall and company can't do some damage, however – and put some more bodies in the box to stop Ivory, who is a huge, bruising running back at 6-foot, 222 pounds. Washington's linebackers, particularly, will need to do a better job shedding blockers and making tackles on Sunday, which hasn't been a huge point of concern for most of the season.

Also, all of Freeman's runs for the Falcons last week were pushed to the outside. Ivory is more of an inside runner, which could play into the Redskins' strengths up front with the likes of Terrance Knighton and Co.

@BarbaraAngueira on Twitter asks: "@Redskins how do the Jets differ from the Falcons in terms of defense? Is this game going to be more or less of a challenge for the Skins?"

If you had asked me this on Monday, the day after the Falcons game, I would've automatically told you that the Jets' defense will pose a much larger challenge for the Redskins just based on talent alone.

But now that the Redskins have their two most experienced offensive linemen out for Sunday's game, the challenge of facing this New York defense – in their building, no less – magnifies exponentially.

Redskins head coach Jay Gruden announced on Friday that Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams (neck/concussion) and starting center Kory Lichtensteiger (shoulder/finger/neck) will not play Sunday against the Jets. In their place will be Ty Nsekhe (zero career starts) and Josh LeRibeus (one career start, none at center), who obviously have a tall task ahead of them.

The Jets have one of the best overall defenses in the league, led by a super-talented defensive front and two shutdown corners outside. They currently rank second in the NFL in yards allowed per game (280.2), and their 13.8 points per game allowed through five games is tops in the league by four points over second-place Carolina.

Compounding problems for the Redskins' offense on Sunday will be the return of Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, who was suspended the first four games of the season this year for violating the league's drug policy. Richardson was the 2013 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and started the Pro Bowl last season after collecting 67 tackles, eight sacks and forcing a fumble.

So will this game on Sunday be more of a challenge for the Redskins' offense? You bet it will be. But the Redskins have already faced some talented defenses this season (Dolphins, Rams) and generally performed well, so they have confidence that, no matter who's out there, they can get the job done.

Jose Acosta on Facebook asks: "Why are we not blitzing more. I know we will get beat once in a while but with our D line and an extra man or two coming qbs are bound to make big mistakes. Why not be persistent on blitzing."

I actually think the Redskins have been pretty consistent with their blitzing this season. But the strength of this team defensively is up front, and for Washington to have success rushing the passer, it will rely on the talent of their defensive linemen and outside linebackers getting to the quarterback. Anything else – a sack here or there from a middle linebacker, cornerback or safety – is just gravy for Joe Barry's defense.

As you pointed to in your question, every time you call a blitz, you do so knowing that you're potentially putting the back end of your defense in trouble by leaving one less person out in coverage. Sacks are great and all, and can certainly be game-changing plays, but if you're calling blitz after blitz and it results in huge passing plays for the opposing team, then is the risk-reward factor really worth it?

Last week against the Falcons, the Redskins couldn't really afford to put on huge blitzes because they were focused on stopping the pass. In the first half, this worked beautifully, as the defensive front got a ton of pressure on its own and had three sacks and forced Ryan to fumble and into some uncomfortable throws. But the Falcons did a good job adjusting in the second half, which resulted in fewer pressure-filled plays for the Redskins' defense.

On Sunday, the Washington defense will likely return to its bread and butter, and that's focusing on stopping the run. Also, no quarterback in the league has been sacked fewer times than the Jets' Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has been sacked just twice.

I'd say with Ryan Kerrigan back to his old form – he had two sacks last week against the Falcons – and with a guy like Chris Baker playing the best football of his life, Fitzpatrick's sack total will at least double on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.


Have Redskins-related questions? Be sure to submit them to @Redskins on Twitter and the Redskins' Facebook by using the hashtag #HailMail.*

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@FlawZyloo on Twitter asks: "@Redskins How is the defense planning on stopping the run this week compared to last week? #HailMail"

This will be a huge component of the Redskins' gameplan this week against Chris Ivory and the New York Jets, particularly after last week, when Washington allowed Devonta Freeman to run wild on them its overtime loss to Atlanta.

But I see the Redskins on Sunday getting much closer to performing like they did in the first four games of the season against the run – meaning, it won't be a huge factor for the Jets, as long as the game stays close.

Against the Falcons, the Redskins were without their top two cornerbacks in Chris Culliver and DeAngelo Hall. So against such a prolific passing offense – with the likes of Matt Ryan at quarterback and Julio Jones at wide receiver – the Washington defense had to focus on stopping the pass first before they could think about stopping the run. The plan worked for the most part – Ryan had his worst performance of the season, throwing two picks – but what suffered as a result was the Redskins' run defense.

Against the Jets, the Redskins should be able to focus a little less on the pass – that's not to say Brandon Marshall and company can't do some damage, however – and put some more bodies in the box to stop Ivory, who is a huge, bruising running back at 6-foot, 222 pounds. Washington's linebackers, particularly, will need to do a better job shedding blockers and making tackles on Sunday, which hasn't been a huge point of concern for most of the season. Also, all of Freeman's runs for the Falcons last week were pushed to the outside. Ivory is more of an inside runner, which could play into the Redskins' strengths up front with the likes of Terrance Knighton and Co.

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