The 'Alabama Wall' had plenty of cracks vs the Falcons

Josh Luckenbaugh
November 05, 2018 - 8:07 am

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

After keeping the likes of David Johnson, Alvin Kamara, Chritian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley quiet this season, the Redskins defense struggled to stop the Falcons' running back duo of Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith in Atlanta's 38-14 win Sunday.

Coleman and Smith combined for 148 yards and a touchdown on the ground, the former also catching five passes for 68 yards and two touchdowns, Washington's highly-touted "Alabama Wall" of Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne not having the same impact as previous weeks. 

John Keim said the defense's inability to stop the run was the most surprising aspect of the game, and it sounds like the Redskins were just as stunned.

"Zach Brown thought it was the way they were aligning the receivers sometimes on the run, and someone else told me that's not it at all," Keim told The Junkies Monday. "People are gonna have their own interpretations, but what it looks like, at times early in the game, they were running well on 2nd-and-10, 2nd-and-10."

"And it looked like the Redskins were playing more for the pass, so the linebackers aren't gonna attack the line in that situation. They're waiting for that play-action throw, because the Falcons like to throw the ball, and they're probably thinking they're not gonna try and run it like that against us." 

The struggles continued in the second half, Falcons' rushers finding holes seemingly "on any down" as Keim noted. 

"At times, you see guys not being able to get off blocks like they had been in other games," he said. "The linebackers did not do well against the run. They were blocked; Preston Smith was blocked most of the game. (Atlanta TE) Logan Paulsen, former Redskin, looked like he had a good game."

But after one bad performance, it's not time to panic about the Allen, Payne and the Redskins run defense as a whole, Keim says. And after yesterday, Washington still ranks in the top-5 against the run.

However, adjustments may need to be made.

"We make a big deal out of the front, which is very good, and I would not back away from that after one game," Keim told The Junkies. "It's a good front, and overall I think they'll be a good run defense. I think Atlanta did a great job with their schemes."

"But (the Redskins) don't rotate their guys. And if your (opposing) team's gonna pass a lot and all that, I wonder how much it takes out of them to then go handle double teams and get off blocks, et cetera. But that's a question for Gruden for later."

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