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Redskins' Defense Stout Against Run Through Two Preseason Games

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After surrendering just 91 rushing yards through its first two preseason games, the Redskins' defense's focus on stopping the run has been reflected in its play.

Stopping the run is a universal theme for the Redskins' defense, and through the first two preseason games so far, the unit has proven to be capable of stuffing the opponents' ground game.

Check out the top photos from the Washington Redskins' 2015 Preseason Week 2 matchup against the Detroit Lions Aug. 20, 2015, at FedExField.

The first-team defense gave up just seven rushing yards against the Cleveland Browns in the opener and held Detroit Lions rookie Ameer Abdullah – who rushed for 67 yards on nine carries against the New York Jets – to just seven yards Thursday at FedExField.

In total, Cleveland and Detroit combined for just 91 rushing yards against Washington.

Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said a lot of their success has to do with a defensive line that could run seven deep during the regular season.  

"I think our interior defensive line, we're pretty deep," Gruden told the media on Sunday. "So, we take our first unit out and the second unit is as good as our first unit too. We have a lot of depth on the defensive line and some offensive lines in preseason games don't have that same depth as we do on defense."

Gruden also attributes some of their quality play to solid tackling and constant pursuit of the ball, both which were emphasized by the coaching staff during the offseason.

There were several different plays in which the initial tackler failed to wrap up the possessor of the ball, but if they were to get free, assistance was nearby.

"I think this game we wanted to emphasize all eleven guys on defense swarming to the ball, and I think for the most part we really did that," said cornerback Justin Rogers following the Redskins' 21-17 victory over the lions. "We had some missed tackles, but that's going to come with swarming the ball and definitely want to clean that up, didn't want to get so many. I think when we turn on the tape, you're going to see a lot of guys swarming to the ball and that's always good. First defense, second defense, each group that was out there was swarming to the ball and I think it showed."

Nose tackle Terrance Knighton, regarded as many to be among the best run stoppers in the NFL, says the defense is "organized chaos" as waves of players will be attacking opponents.

"Everyone's in the right place but it's just like maniacs – all 11 maniacs – running to the ball," he said during training camp. "That's the mentality that we're going to have and that's what we're out there practicing – everyone getting to the ball and everybody being disruptive."

As the Redskins turn their attention to Saturday's preseason tilt with the Baltimore Ravens, safety Dashon Goldson says first and foremost they "definitely [want to] stop the run."

Starter Justin Forsett is coming off a career year at 28 years old, rushing for highs in yards (1,266) and touchdowns (eight).

Projected backup Lorenzo Taliaferro rushed for more than four yards per carry on his 68 attempts last year while rookie Javorius Allen ran a 4.53 40-yard dash at February's NFL Combine and was USC's team MVP in 2013 following a 15 touchdown campaign.

"No explosive plays," Goldson said. "They have a lot of weapons and we know they have a good running back core. [Joe] Flacco is a strong armed guy so we can't let him put the ball behind us in the secondary. We do that and I think we'll be solid on defense."

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