Jack Del Rio is pleased with how his Washington defense has stopped the run

Peter Hailey
·2 min read

Del Rio is pleased with how his defense has stopped the run originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Washington Football Team's defense is currently ranked 21st in stopping the run, as they're giving up an average of 126 yards per game through 10 weeks of action.

For a group that features so many first-round picks up front, as well as one that's led by a former linebacker in Jack Del Rio, that ranking would appear to be disappointing. 

But during a Thursday press conference with the media, Del Rio went as far as stating that he's pleased with what his guys are doing in that area.

"I think actually we’ve played the run pretty well this year," the coordinator said. "That may be a shock to you or to others."

Del Rio is correct; that response was somewhat shocking. He comes across as someone with very high standards, and that's something that multiple defenders have referenced in their own sessions with reporters in 2020.

However, he's also been reticent when it comes to criticizing or evaluating his unit, which may explain why he didn't hammer the run defense despite the bottom-third-of-the-league production against tailbacks. The message he sends behind closed doors very well could differ from the one he delivers on Zoom.

Now, when it comes to better liming opponents' success on the ground, Del Rio believes that'll happen when his players stop "trying to do too much rather than just try to take care of [their] responsibility." That was about as harsh as he got, before focusing on the positives once again.

"One thing I will say is our energy’s been great. Our spirit is still strong," Del Rio said. "I think we’ll continue to make strides defensively and build upon the pretty good start to the season. We’re in the upper half in just about every category."

Del Rio is correct about that, and it's fine for him to point out where he's made a difference. After all, under Del Rio's predecessor, Washington couldn't even define what "upper half" meant.

It'd be a major, major deal if he can further bolster the run defense, though, because some will take issue with him praising the effort in that regard right now due to what the numbers reveal. And if he's somehow able to pull that off in the stretch run, he can go ahead and say whatever the hell he wants.