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Defense ‘not clicking’
It wasn’t a direct salvo at Washington Redskins assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams, but cornerback Carlos Rogers said yesterday everybody — players and coaches — should be held to the same standard when examining the season-long defensive problems.
“It’s some of [everything] — the scheme, the play-calling and the execution of the play being called,” Rogers said. “It’s the players and the coaches. It’s not just one individual. We’ve got the same group [as 2005] and added some players. We’re not clicking as unit.”
Six weeks ago, the Redskins couldn’t stop the pass but did rank fifth against the run after holding Jacksonville to 33 yards rushing.
Since then, the Redskins have allowed an average of 390.6 total yards and 149 yards rushing. They rank 30th in yards and have fallen to 19th in rush defense. They allowed a season-high 181 yards to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Sunday’s 20-17 loss.
“It’s not an effort problem. It’s an execution problem,” defensive end Phillip Daniels said. “We work hard every day, and everybody is running around and flying to the ball. If we executed and ran the defense like it was supposed to be executed, we’d start coming out ahead.
“Right now, we have to face the facts — we’re not good on defense.”
Said linebacker Marcus Washington: “I haven’t seen anybody give up or quit. Guys continue to get after it. … You find out who really loves football because things are at a point where it’s tough coming h ere and continuing to work after a loss. But this is what you do, and this is what it calls for you to do.”
Williams has, for the most part, gotten a free pass from regular observers because the Redskins finished third and ninth, respectively, in total defense in 2004-05, and didn’t have cornerback Shawn Springs for the first five games this season.
But now with a full lineup at his disposal, he hasn’t been able to work the same kind of magic. He already has benched safety Adam Archuleta and has been unwilling to give rookie linebacker Rocky McIntosh an opportunity.
Daniels said Williams is the same kind of coach he was the last two seasons.
“You have to believe in everything he calls, and if we execute it right, it will work,” he said. “You can’t argue with Gregg Williams because we were No. 3 and No. 9 the previous two years. As players, we have to look at ourselves and ask what we can do better.
“I don’t think everybody is doing all of the little technique things and aren’t studying as hard as they need to study. Some of the young guys need to learn that because you hate for them to get into a mode of it’s OK to lose. And I think Gregg Williams will find a way for us to get better.”
Upon arriving at Redskin Park on Sunday night, Daniels and defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin didn’t go home, instead staying at the complex to sift through the rubble.
“To me, it’s missed tackles and missed assignments — that’s the stuff I see we’re not doing,” Daniels said. “We’re not reaching fast enough, and until we figure out how to get back to that, teams are going to run on us. Up front, I thought we held up pretty well. Nobody is going to play perfect, but we wanted to come in and see what was happening.”
Following the game, coach Joe Gibbs — for the first time since his return to the team — singled out both sides of the running game as disappointments.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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