When it comes to rushing the passer, the...

MINNEAPOLIS --

January 22, 1992|By Ken Murray

MINNEAPOLIS -- When it comes to rushing the passer, the Redskins have a critical advantage because they can generate pressure from their four-man line. Defensive ends Charles Mann and Fred Stokes are a force from the outside, and tackles Eric Williams and Tim Johnson give an inside push.

With end Bruce Smith hobbling on a gimpy left leg, the Bills have had to rely on their linebackers -- including top sacker Cornelius Bennett with nine -- to pressure the quarterback.

The Redskins amassed 50 sacks during the regular season in Richie Petitbon's pressure defense. They got nine more in two playoff games. And while Mann (11.5 sacks) and Stokes (6.5) are the top pressure men, the Redskins' depth is such that a reserve lineman (Jumpy Geathers with 27) led the team in pressures.

Smith, who had 19 sacks and was the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 1990, had just 1.5 sacks in five regular-season games. He has one sack and two pressures in the postseason. Just having Smith in the lineup makes the Bills better, though, says coach Marv Levy.

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