Redskins Look to Change Mentality on Defense

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The Redskins placed the franchise tag on Brian Orakpo during the 2014 offseason The Redskins placed the franchise tag on Brian Orakpo during the 2014 offseason

The Washington defense allowed an average of 5.7 yards-per-play in 2013, ranking them the sixth worst in the NFL in that category.

Ryan Clark explains that part of revamping the defense in 2014, starts with mastering the basics, and changing the mentality.

"Physicality wins football games," says Clark.  "We have to get used to being physical. We have to get used to hitting. The guys up front, whether its blocking or defending blocks. In the secondary, fitting up running backs, (and) fitting up receivers.

DeAngelo Hall feels the addition of Clark at safety benefits the team in multiple ways.

Hall says, "He can not only line everybody up, but he can go out there and make plays. He's going to be another physical presence back there in that secondary. That as corners you love to have. Guys aren't going to want to run across the middle knowing that Ryan Cark's going to hit them, or Brandon Meriweather's going to hit them."

This offseason, the Redskins added both Jason Hatcher and Ryan Clark to fill the voids at defensive tackle and safety.

Jim Haslett is known for bringing pressure packages in his defense, but Clark explains the team can rely more on its front four this year and less on blitzing

"He keeps saying that, just rush four," says Clark.  "We don't have to blitz. You pay a guy thirty-million and that's what you want to hear. We want to know that we can just sit back there in coverage. If I wanted to rush the passer I'd gain a hundred more pounds. For me its good to hear guys who feel like they can create a rush."

The front seven will be key for Washington's defense.

Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan will be called upon to hold up against the run, as well as provide pressure as edge rushers to help the pass defense.

Kerrigan says, "We definitely have a lot to prove after last year, and we intend on doing that. We got the pieces to do it and now its just about executing."

Clark adds, "My addition and one of my main jobs, is us being sound. Not necessarily us making more plays but us not giving up as many big plays."

Ryan Clark is in his second stint with the Redskins, as he also played for the team from 2004-2005.

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