Jim Haslett-Led Redskins Defense Can’t Stop AnybodyEagles, General News, News Wednesday, September 29th, 2010
Anybody who has followed the Washington Redskins for the past five years knew that they didn’t need to make any changes on the defensive side of the ball. Year after year they were amongst the best defenses in the league.
Every year regardless of what their record was the Redskins defense used to give the Eagles fits. Everyone figured if Donovan McNabb could help their offensive production, they would have a chance to win more games.
Now after three games the Skins have the worst defense in the National Football League. Mike Shanahan went to D.C. and fired defensive coordinator Greg Blache and all the defensive coaches, who had been doing a great job down there for years.
He brought in defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, who previously was the head coach of the New Orleans Saints from 2000-2005 before getting fired. After that he went to St. Louis where he coached a pathetic Rams squad. For some reason, Shanahan hired him and Andy Reid should have sent Shanahan a big “Thank You” card.
Haslett decided he was going to play a 3-4 defense with an emphasis on zone coverages, despite the fact that their personnel was comprised of 4-3 players with a secondary which had previously done a great job of playing man-to-man. They locked people down in the past without much of a pass rush.
The strength of the Skins defense for years had been in their defensive backfield with DeAngelo Hall, Carlos Rodgers, LaRon Landry and Chris Horton. The corners could cover and the safeties would knock you out.
For some reason, Horton, who was supposed to be one of the better young safeties in the league, is on the bench and Reed Doughty is starting at one of the safety spots. I saw video of Houston’s Andre Johnson catching a touchdown over Doughty on 4th and 25 with the game on the line.
Their linebackers led by London Fletcher and Rocky McIntosh are good backers who can both play run and pass while locking down tight ends and running backs in man-to-man coverages. Of course they’ve got them playing zone now.
The defensive secondary and linebackers used to play great even without much of a pass rush, but now with the addition of Brian Orakpo and Albert Haynesworth, everybody expected them to get better. Instead they brought in Haslett and went the other way.
You know about the battle between Haynesworth and Shanahan during the off season regarding how the big fella should be used. I always lean toward the head coach in those situations, but this time the player was right.
Everybody knows that getting pressure on the quarterback is what defense is about in the NFL nowadays. Haslett has Haynesworth sitting at the line of scrimmage and reading the blocking instead of getting to the quarterback.
Pro Bowl cornerback Hall went into a tirade after they blew a 27-10 lead in the second half and lost to the Houston Texans. They were sitting in zone coverages and waiting to be beaten. They can’t stop anybody and I see Haslett standing on the sideline with that same blank look that he had in New Orleans and St. Louis.
Shanahan must have owed Haslett a favor for giving his son a job.
Bottomline, I think the Birds will be able to move the ball against the Haslett-group that will be lining up on Sunday.
For those of you who know the short history of the Eagles wide receiver group, they have a lot of success against zones, but always struggled against the Skins because Blache had both cornerbacks line up in press technique and beat up the Birds wide outs before they came off the ball.
The west coast offense is perfect against what Haslett is doing. Of course Houston, who carved up the Redskins, plays the west coast offense.
Reid and Marty Mornhinweg will line up DeSean Jackson inside in the slot and have him run deep crossing routes. With his speed he’s able to get across the field, especially if you don’t jam him. They’ll run off the deep guy on the other side and it will be wide open.
They’ll flood the Skins zones and pick them apart. Vick will get his first 300 plus passing game of the season.
I think the Birds will have big success against the Skins. Vickmania is going to another level after this week.
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