By Sally Fahey

On paper, the Redskins have the makings of an elite defense.

Players such as Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Matt Ioannidis, Landon Collins, Montez Sweat, Josh Norman and Ryan Kerrigan populate the unit’s depth chart.

Unfortunately, the NFL is played on turf, not paper.

Allen knows this. Football is a “show me” game, and while having the pieces of an elite unit is nice, pieces alone don’t win games.

“I’ve felt that way the last three years, but we haven’t done it,” Allen said, via

“You can have all the pieces you want, but if you’re not consistent and everybody doesn’t do their job, it doesn’t matter. We have a bunch of pieces, but pieces don’t win games.”

A similar scenario took place last season. Washington thought it was going to be good on defense, but didn’t live up to expectations. It finished 17th in yards allowed and 15th in points allowed.

In reality, the defense will likely be better than it was a year ago.

Their starters at inside linebacker and cornerback are the same as they were a season ago, sure, which isn’t exactly encouraging but it’s also nothing to fully panic about. However, it’s fair to assume that Sweat, Collins, another year of growth up front and some better luck with injuries will produce a jump.

As the old saying goes, though, potential just means you haven’t done anything yet. The defense has loads of potential. Now it’s time to live up to it.

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