By the numbers, Sunday's loss was the best performance by the Washington Redskins' pass defense this season. It gave up 201 yards to the Carolina Panthers, 82 on a completion from Cam Newton to Armanti Edwards in the fourth quarter.
But another 201 yards surrendered won't much help the Redskins, who are careening toward giving up almost 5,000 this season. And while answers for the beleaguered secondary are few and far between, Hall of Fame cornerback Darrell Green has his theory on what's going wrong.
"In my humble opinion, you're seeing a lack of skill development. We're not talking about 'Can they do it?' We're not saying, 'Can they play?' But I think that there's a lost art of people knowing how to teach you how to do what you're supposed to do," Green said before Sunday's game. "I think that the league lacks that, and in my opinion that's what they're lacking here. I know some of these kids, and I know that they can do it. But when I watch, I go 'Wow, he doesn't even know.'"
Asked if that meant the problem fell on defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and defensive backs coach Raheem Morris, Green deflected.
"I don't know where it falls. I'm not going down that road," he said. "It falls wherever it falls. But it's still the truth."
Green played 20 seasons for the Redskins, making the Pro Bowl seven times. Now 52 and not interested in going into coaching, he said he accepted that his opinion might be passed off as an "old, retired" guy just talking. And he tried to make it clear that he wasn't attempting to blast anyone with his comments.
Green didn't criticize the Redskins' scheme against the pass but rather the lack of teaching going on.
"It's like when your mama cooks. Yeah, her mama taught her, but she practiced and she tried this and she tried that," Green said. "It's between the coach and the player; you make a cake. You learn, 'Ooh, last time I tried this and I tried that' and you find 'Whoa, grandma can make this cake.' She didn't always know how to make it that way, but through trial and error, through activity, through participation you learn it. That should have a combination of coach and player developing that kind of idea."
Veteran Redskins cornerback Cedric Griffin did not agree with Green's assessment.
"I believe coach Raheem Morris is a great coach in this league. That's why he's here. He's been teaching us great techniques, great schemes," Griffin said. "I'm not really worried about outside sources, to be honest with you, and no one else in this team's worried about outside sources. We're doing a great job right now. We're just giving up a couple plays."
The Redskins went into Sunday last in the league in pass defense. Following the 21-13 loss to the Panthers, they're allowing 301.7 yards per game.
But Green said it should not take long to fix the secondary.
"It can be done in a day. Now it has to be perfected over time," he said. "It's like a doctor [diagnosing] it. That's in a day. He can tell you if your arm is out of place in a moment. Yeah, that can be done in a short period of time."
The Redskins the past two weeks allowed 201 and 215 yards, though that was likely the result of being behind as much as it was evidence of improvement. Still, Green believes the pass defense can turn it around.
"It can be done. And I think it will," Green said. "I'm not giving up on 'em. I think it will be done."
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