Here's five takeaways from Redskins defensive coordinator Joe Barry's Oct. 1 press conference at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.
1. Despite their early seasons struggles in freeing the ball from the clutches of the offenses they've faced, Joe Barry believes turnovers come in waves.
Through the first three games of the season, the Redskins defense has allowed just five touchdowns.
But while they've been stout against the competition, the Redskins haven't forced as many takeaways as they would've liked to this point of the year.
Preston Smith's forced fumble and recovery in the third quarter of the Opening Day matchup against the Miami Dolphins is the only turnover the Redskins have mustered to date.
Still, Barry is a "firm believer too that takeaways come in droves."
"But it's something that we preach every single day," Barry said. "We practice and stress it every single day and they'll come. They'll come. I'm a firm believer also there's not some make-believe call that you can call to create a turnover. It's our job as defenders to take the ball away."
Barry said the defense, which also didn't record a sack in the Redskins' 32-21 loss to the New York Giants last week, needs to be more aggressive in trying to create turnover opportunities.
"We have to physically take the ball away whether we're punching the ball out, hammering the ball out, raking the ball out, if the ball's in the air, we've got to go find a way to get the ball when the ball's in the air," Barry said. "So, yeah, again, I don't care what 11 guys are out there. We're stressing it the same way and we're preaching it the same way that's it's our job as defensive players to go take the ball away."
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2. The team will more than likely try to use as many players as possible, especially up front, to keep up with the Eagles' offense.
It's no mystery now that the Eagles like to play an upbeat style of play, which, in turn, can cause defenses to become winded quickly.
With three different running backs that are basically interchangeable and speed on the outside at wide receiver, Philadelphia will try to keep some of the Redskins' rotation on the sideline.
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If they are able to switch players in and out, though, they must keep an eye on what Philadelphia is doing.
"When you do rotate, you have got to rotate with what we refer to as urgency," Barry said. "Guys have got to run on and run off. It's not one of those things where you can tap out and jog on and jog off. That's the whole theory behind the up-tempo."
During Miami Week, the Redskins also prepped for a quicker style of play, although Miami elected to stay with a more traditional offense in the game.
"It's something that we spent a bunch of time in the offseason practicing and talking about and coming up with a system for just thinking that Miami was going to do the same thing to us," Barry said. "It's definitely something that you have to be very, very conscientious of because if you're not, they can bite you."
3. No unit has symbolized the "next man up" mentality more than the Redskins' secondary this season.
At the onset of the season, the Redskins were expecting Chris Culliver, DeAngelo Hall, Dashon Goldson and Duke Ihenacho to be their starters at cornerback and safety respectively with Bashaud Breeland being a key backup.
Already, Culliver and Breeland have each missed a game due to suspension, Hall is out with a toe injury, Ihenacho is sidelined for the entire season and David Amerson – a 2013 second-round pick who was expected to contribute some, too – was released.
With Culliver also limited in Wednesday's practice and not a participant in Thursday's practice, the team could be facing a possibility of not having either of their starting cornerbacks against the Eagles.
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"We're not going to have wholesale changes or all of the sudden do different things," Barry said. "I told you before we don't have backups. We have starters in waiting. When a starter gets banged up and can't go, it's the next man's responsibility to step up and step in with that group of 11 men and function as a unit. No, we're going to keep doing what we do and do what we believe in. That's playing hard, playing fast, and again, keep tackling, keep stressing takeaways. We're not going to change anything that we're doing."
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4. The defense could be kept on their toes all game long with a quick-throwing quarterback and running backs that can make plays in the passing game.
With a strong front seven leading the way for the defense, both the Rams and the Giants resorted to offenses that got the ball out of the quarterback's hands as quickly as possible.
The Eagles may very well do the same this Sunday with Sam Bradford under center.
Yes, the former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback isn't off to a strong start with his new team, but the Redskins know that he can be the igniter for a strong offense if it gets going.
"I think the key thing is, when you do have that perfect coverage called and there is nowhere for the ball to go and that quarterback has to hold the ball, whether he is trying to get rid of the ball or not, that's when we always talk about the DBs winning the one-on-one coverage, well we put just as much emphasis on our D-linemen winning the one-on-one blocks," Barry said. "Maybe one guy is getting double-teamed on the line of scrimmage but there might be three or four other guys that have one-on-one blocks. We've got to cash in and win the one-on-one pass rush just like we've got to win the one-on-one coverage."
While the front seven is "greedy" when it comes to their desire in taking down quarterbacks as much as possible, even just messing with their timing is a plus.
"We've got to affect the quarterback," Barry said. "Ultimately affecting the quarterback is by sacking him, but if we can pressure him, if we can hit him, if we can get him off his spot, if we can make him uncomfortable, that's all I care about."
5. Quinton Dunbar has made remarkable progress in a short amount of time at cornerback.
From an undrafted wide receiver to practice squad cornerback, Dunbar is now a member of the team's 53-man roster less than two months after making a training camp switch to the defensive side of the ball.
While he hadn't played anything other than wide receiver since the start of his college career, Barry believes the rookie has a lot of positives, both in terms of physical makeup and mentality.
"The No. 1 thing, you guys have seen all him just walking by him, he has traits in the sense that he is a big, 6-2, long-armed kid," Barry said. "He really can run. He's a phenomenal athlete. He can change direction. From the minute we moved him, he's shown daily improvement. Not weekly or monthly improvement, he's shown daily improvement."