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Defense Brings The Pressure In Winning Effort

Posted Aug 18, 2014

The Washington Redskins combined for five sacks – two of which coming from Ryan Kerrigan – in their 24-23 victory over the Cleveland Browns Monday night at FedExField

The Washington Redskins’ two-headed pass rush monsters were once again able to flex their defensive muscle Monday night against the Cleveland Browns.

Outside linebackers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan wreaked havoc in the Browns’ backfield in the first half, racking up two sacks – both by Kerrigan – while Orakpo was a constant disruptive presence for quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel.

It didn’t take long at all for Kerrigan to announce his presence with authority.

On the very first play of the game, he took down Hoyer on a play in which the ball was snapped, but the right side of the line was delayed in getting out of its stances.

“It felt good when I came out there tonight and, fortunately, was able to get the first [sack] out of the way on kind of a miscommunication on their part on the first play of the game,” Kerrigan said.

Kerrigan’s second sack – this time on Manziel – came in the second quarter and stalled a drive that saw the Browns cross into Redskins’ territory, forcing a punt.

It was the second of five total sacks for the Redskins’ defense throughout the game.

“The second one was a coverage sack,” Kerrigan said. “So thanks to D-Hall and all those guys back there for making Manziel hold onto the ball a little longer, and then when you get one-on-one blocks, you have to win those matchups, and fortunately I was able to do that.”

The Redskins’ first-team defense primarily played in the first-half of the contest, and allowed just 84 yards of total offense, including just 32 yards on the ground, during that span.

Cleveland was also 0-for-5 on its third-down attempts in the first half, and was held to just six total first downs.

The Redskins’ first-team defensive unit was also able to continue the strong play it established in its opening preseason game against the New England Patriots.

Playing just the first two drives of the game against New England, Washington forced two three-and-outs and gave up a net of -1 yards. On the second drive of the game, Orakpo recorded a sack on third down, forcing a punt.

The Texas product said his defensive unit isn’t taking this preseason lightly.

“Even though it’s preseason, we still want to work on stuff and do the best to our abilities,” Orakpo said. “And that’s getting after it and pressing guys and getting off the field when needed, and I thought we did a great job.”

Washington’s defense, while having the potential to be stout, hasn’t yet seen its full arsenal of weapons on the field together in preseason action.

Along the defensive line, defensive end Jason Hatcher – one of the Redskins’ key offseason acquisitions – is yet to take the field after undergoing offseason knee surgery. In the secondary, Ryan Clark, Phillip Thomas and Tracy Porter all missed the opening preseason game with injuries.

Orakpo said after Monday’s game he was excited about the future of the defense, and looks forward to getting players off the injury report and back on the field together, so they can continue to build.

“One thing about it, we ain’t even fully loaded, man,” the three-time Pro Bowler said. “We still got guys getting ready for the beginning of the season, and I think once we get loaded, we’re going to be something special.”

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