- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 4, 2001

Call it the "Red Sea Defense."
The Washington Redskins allowed an opposing running back to gain more than 100 yards in each of their three games this season, exposing an inside weakness that defensive end Kenard Lang tells friends is something straight out of the Bible.
"They wonder why other teams are Moses and we're the Red Sea, because they just part us and run dead up the middle," Lang said. "I have no answer for them."
The Redskins have been awful against the run since 1993, finishing among the six worst run defenses in the league a record six straight years. In this season's 0-3 start, opposing runners have barreled up the middle for 493 yards and 4.0 yards per carry. San Diego's LaDanian Tomlinson gained 113 yards, Green Bay's Ahman Green 116 and Kansas City's Priest Holmes 147 as the Chiefs finished with 200.
Now the Redskins defense, the NFL's worst unit overall and against the run, must ready for the New York Giants' "Thunder and Lightning" on Sunday at Giants Stadium. Well, at least the "Thunder" with Ron Dayne. "Lightning" Tiki Barber is questionable with a strained hamstring, although his status won't be decided until Saturday. The Giants' ground game is still formidable with just Dayne, the 1999 Heisman Trophy winner. Losing 14 pounds over the offseason has quickened Dayne, who has 187 yards on 41 carries.
"He's not just some big power running back," Giants coach Jim Fassel said. "He can make you miss. He's showing that right now. He's making the progress between first year and second year."
The Redskins know the Giants will run straight at them. After all, they didn't win the NFC Championship last season behind quarterback Kerry Collins. But like any beleaguered defender, they're summoning courage while awaiting the challenge.
"We have to stop the run. I'm not even going to worry about the pass," Lang said. "I know if they saw film last week, they're licking their chops and ready to dig in."
The Redskins expect to brawl in the pits in an example of typical NFC East smashmouth football. The Redskins will use Jerry DeLoach at tackle and Tyrone Williams at end with Lang shifting between positions. They hope stuffing the line means shutting down the Giants.
"The main thing is, we have to get our swagger back, too," Lang said. "We need to make people intimidated by us. Right now, nobody fears us. Be aggressive and knock folks out. You hit them big in the mouth, they'll get scared."
Said defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson: "We have to knock their swagger out of them."
Redskins cornerbacks Champ Bailey and Fred Smoot should be able to handle the Giants' receivers in single coverage, allowing safety Sam Shade to play the run more often. That means eight-man fronts for mismatches.
However, linebacker LaVar Arrington remains questionable with a sprained knee, and end Marco Coleman is out with a dislocated elbow, further weakening both the run defense and pass rush. The Redskins will move backup middle linebacker Robert Jones outside if Arrington doesn't play, with Antonio Pierce becoming the weakside linebacker in his second start. Either way, the Redskins will present a makeshift linebacking corps after losing Shawn Barber on Sunday to a season-ending knee injury.
"We've got a few wrinkles, but we've got to do the basic things," coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "They're not dramatic [changes]."
Not that Schottenheimer has suddenly awakened to the team's woeful run defense. He has tried to improve it for the last three weeks.
"That's where we started last week and the week before that and the week before that," Schottenheimer said. "If you don't stop the run, you're doomed. A lot of it has to do with the transition. We have players who are not doing things naturally. They're still in the process of thinking and making decisions, and you have to do it very quickly. We've never really been consistent."

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