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Redskins Creating Identity With Run Game, Defense

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Through two games, it appears that the Redskins will rely on their run game on offense and make sure teams can't do the same when they're on the field.

While the National Football league may be trending more and more towards a game heavy on passing yardage, the successful teams still rely on running the football and stopping the opponent from getting their own ground game going.

Through two games, it appears as if the Redskins' identity will be forged on a poweful running game and preventing others from doing the same.

"In pro football, I think that's the blueprint for most successful teams," said Redskins head coach Jay Gruden following Sunday's 24-10 victory over the Rams. "You look at all of the successful teams in the history of this league, very few of them are throwing 70 times a game. There's a strong running game there and that is the blueprint that we have to have. We have a young quarterback, we don't want to throw the ball 50 times. We want to run the ball, be physical."

Against the Miami Dolphins in the season opener, Alfred Morris paced the Redskins' offense with 25 carries for 121 yards.

Against the Rams, it was rookie Matt Jones who set the tone, as he carried the ball 19 times for 123 yards and two touchdowns.

Through Sunday's games, the Redskins are averaging the most rushing yards per game in the league at 171.5.

"I think if we run the ball more than we pass it, have equal amount of rushing yards as passing yards, we're going to win a lot of games this year," Gruden said.

Morris said "it's awesome" knowing the coaching staff appears set on letting the backs get their fair share of carries.

"Me being biased as a running back, we want to keep the ball on the ground," Morris said. "I feel like the run game opens up your offense so much more. These last two weeks it's been doing just that. We still have to be more consistent, we've got work to do. I think we have to be more consistent coming out of the second half, just getting the ball on the ground. Getting two guys with a lot of carries that's awesome. You know, we were able to control the clock, control the tempo of the game and just string together long drives. It's through our run game, it's awesome and I'm loving it."

Quarterback Kirk Cousins – who was an efficient 23-for-27 Sunday against the Rams – knows that when the Redskins are running the ball well, especially on first and second downs, it makes it easier to be effective on third down.

Check out these top photos from the Washington Redskins' 2015 Week 2 matchup against the St. Louis Rams Sept. 20, 2015, at FedExField.

Against the Rams, the Redskins were 8-for-16 on third down.

"I mean, you can stay at manageable third downs because you run the ball well and it gives you a great chance," Cousins said after the game. "For a play caller and coaching staff it helps really dictate things for them too and puts them in an advantageous position when you can run the football. So everything opens up and it's the best way to gain yards in this league when you can do it on the ground."

On the defensive side, meanwhile, the Redskins currently rank fourth in average rushing yards allowed at 70.5.

The longest run surrendered was a 17-yard carry by Dolphins running back Lamar Miller.

"Our defensive front really takes pride in being able to stop the run and get after the passer," said defensive lineman Chris Baker. "So we knock out the run early it allows us to be able to attack the pass rush game. We've been able to do that successfully."

Offseason acquisition Stephen Paea – who recorded his first sack with the Redskins on Rams quarterback Nick Foles – said that if the defense is playing like they have been, then the Redskins will "beat a lot of teams."

For linebacker Keenan Robinson, now in his second season as a starter on the defensive unit, he's noticed a universal mindset with all 11 guys on the field.

"We have guys who are all unselfish," he said. "We're all selfless in a way that we'll do whatever it takes to win no matter who's on the field. We have a great D-line who is really two-deep. We don't have backups and starters on the D-line. We have two groups of guys who are starters who rotate and help us dominate up front. That's what we do. We wear the offensive line down. We control the line of scrimmage and that's how we stop the run."

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