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Putting it together

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Posted Oct. 13, 2011 @ 12:01 p.m. ET

By John Keim

ASHBURN, Va. — The Redskins made news for what they didn't do, more than for what they did. They did not chase CB Nnamdi Asomugha. Nor did they pursue DT Cullen Jenkins. Yes, long ago — a couple of years ago — they would have.

That would not have solved their problems. And it would have tied up too much cash. So they opted for lower-budget deals, bringing in NT Barry Cofield and DE Stephen Bowen and FS Oshiomogho Atogwe and CB Josh Wilson. There's not a Pro Bowler in the bunch.

And yet …

The Redskins have shot from 31st in the NFL in total defense at the end of 2010 to No. 6 (and No. 3 in the more important points-allowed category) after five weeks. The big reason Washington has a 3-1 record is because of its defense, which has made critical plays or stands late in each win. Then there was the Dallas letdown. Still, the players are feeling better.

"The proof's in the pudding," Redskins CB DeAngelo Hall said. "I told you we'd be better than last year. Who knew we'd be that much better?"

This is the point we stress: It has been only four weeks. This is the point where we let Hall let you know what they can improve on.

"We haven't had as many turnovers as we want, but we'll take it right now," he said.

To read the rest of this story, which includes the five reasons why the Redskins' defense has improved, order a copy of the current issue of Pro Football Weekly. In the latest edition of PFW you will also find our tribute to football icon Al Davis and an critical look at the Colts' QB situation, including a take on what the team might be thinking about the position long-term.

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