During Friday night's 26-17 loss to the Denver Broncos, Redskins defensive lineman Anthony Lanier II recorded his first sack of the preseason. Though the takedown of quarterback Case Keenum will only show up in Lanier's stats, he made sure to credit his fellow linemen for making it possible.
"Tim Settle did a great job putting pressure in the middle so it was open on both sides," said Lanier. "So I was able to make more movement on this inside."
Settle, a rookie from Virginia Tech, understood the importance of his role in the play, and was happy to see it pay off for Lanier and the defense.
"It feels good, you know, we help each other on the line. Somebody takes the pressure off of somebody for leaving them 1-on-1," Settle said. "He took advantage of the situation and to see that flash, that was big time."
This play -- teammates working together to open up a clear path to the quarterback -- is an example of something the Redskins defensive line is continuing to work toward: a fluid and cohesive group up front.
This defensive unit is a young one. Besides Ziggy Hood, who has been in the league for 10 years, a majority of the depth chart consists of players who only have three years or less of NFL experience.
Two of those are rookie Daron Payne and second-year veteran Jonathan Allen, who were former teammates at Alabama and referred to by many as the "Bama Bros". Though still early in their careers, both have shown the potential to become dominant forces up front for years to come.
Cornerback Josh Norman has opted for a different nicknames for his two teammates, calling them the two "bulls" or "tanks," but he also sees their promise, even comparing them to two of his former teammates in Carolina.
"Literally, those two bulls up front [Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne], remind me of KK and Star. Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short," Norman said earlier this week. "When they played, there was a difference. Literally, a difference. They move men, and they got to the quarterback, and even get it out of their hands when they wanted to. That's when a DB's main play on the ball. Those two guys remind me of them, they're just shorter impact tanks, though. Rocked up guys. I look at that and I loved it."
Check out the top photos from the Redskins' Week 3 Preseason game against the Denver Broncos on Friday, Aug 24th, 2018 at FedExField.
It's clear that the Redskins' defensive line has both youth and potential. So, in the preseason, learning to work together and feed of one another has become a priority. Through three preseason games, the Redskins are seeing improvements.
"It felt good just to see how we were get after it and how we moved, and how we played and how we can move lineman," said Settle, about the growing cohesiveness of the defensive line. "You know, it's a good thing and I feel like the progress is going to keep going and increasing, and we're going to keep on going up."
A dominant defensive line that functions as a well-oiled machine will not only help the Redskins be stout upfront, but it will make the rest of the defense's jobs easier as well. If the line is able to handle the run and keep pressure on the quarterback, the team could opt to leave seven back in coverage to help stifle an opposing offensive passing attack.
"It's one of those things," Norman said. "Quarterback is going to have to make that decision mighty fast. If not, he's going to see a couple guys that are bigger than him, weight a whole lot more than him, in his face. And I don't think he really feels like picking up teeth. So, that's going to be one of those things that he's gonna get the ball out fast, and I'll have a little more opportunities hopefully. I'm crossing my fingers that's going to happen."