- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 27, 2008

They’re the third-ranked defense in the league. They’re in the top 10 in almost every defensive category. But only three teams get to the quarterback less often than the Washington Redskins.

Not that the lack of sacks bothers defensive coordinator Greg Blache.

“We are who we are,” Blache said. “You can wish us to be different, want us to be different. We’re not. We’re lucky enough in spite of our weaknesses to have been successful. That’s a credit to our players. That’s a credit to our coaches. I’ll take what we are as opposed to having sack numbers and being at the back of the league.”

The four top teams in sacks-per-pass are the New York Giants (10-1), the Dallas Cowboys (7-4), the Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3) and the Philadelphia Eagles (5-5-1). The other three teams with the Redskins (7-4) in the bottom four are the Cleveland Browns (4-7), Kansas City Chiefs (1-10) and Cincinnati Bengals (1-9-1).

Washington has just 17 sacks in 11 games, a year after recording 33 in 16. That total figured to go up after active sacks leader Jason Taylor was acquired following the loss of starting left end Phillip Daniels to a season-ending knee injury on the first day of training camp. After all, right end Andre Carter had 10.5 sacks last year with runstopper Daniels on the left side.

However, injuries have slowed Taylor. He sprained a knee Aug. 23 and then had emergency calf surgery Sept. 22 and a minor follow-up procedure Oct. 27.

While Carter leads the Redskins with 13 quarterback hurries, he has just two sacks. Taylor has only one sack and two hurries.

“With Jason in or Jason out, we gotta get there,” Carter said. “Now that Jason’s back and healthy, hopefully that will open up things not only for myself but for the defensive tackles.”

But now Carter might not play Sunday against the Giants after injuring his right foot last week at Seattle. That’s also the case for tackles Cornelius Griffin, who reinjured a shoulder, and Kedric Golston, who badly sprained an ankle.

The tackles have combined for three sacks, less than end Demetric Evans, who leads the Redskins with 3.5 sacks despite starting just five games.

“Of course, I thought we’d have a lot more sacks with Jason and Andre outside,” Evans said. “Everybody did. But we’re winning. That’s what matters.”

Coach Jim Zorn praised his defensive line for containing quarterbacks as opposed to hitting or sacking them. And Blache downplayed the impact of Washington’s low sack numbers.

“There are a lot of other factors [besides sacks] that win or lose a game,” Blache said. “If there’s ever a team that’s proved it, it’s this team. My accountant and my financial adviser, that’s who I care about numbers with - the rest of you guys can do what you want with numbers.”

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