Two interceptions, one sack, several hits against quarterback Eli Manning and only 260 passing yards allowed on Manning’s first 39 attempts. The performance seemed masterful, like an ornately-carved jack-o-lantern this time of year.
With 1:13 remaining, Cruz sprinted past safety Madieu Williams and cornerback Josh Wilson, and Manning hit him for a decisive 77-yard touchdown. The failed coverage cost the Redskins an important divisional win and sparked another round of scrutiny involving a secondary that continues to betray Washington’s thriving offense.
“Everybody is sick about it,” Shanahan said. “If we play it like we normally play it, we play a pretty good game. When you do give up that big play it negates all the good things.”
Wilson and Williams were in double coverage against Cruz. Wilson played with inside leverage at the line of scrimmage in the right slot, while Williams shaded to the outside about 15 yards off the line of scrimmage. Cruz simply sprinted between them.
Shanahan on Monday refused to discuss with reporters details of the breakdown.
“We will get those little things worked out in our meetings,” he said.
That’s a familiar refrain in a season full of big plays.
The Redskins have surrendered seven passes of at least 40 yards, tied for most in the NFL. They are giving up 7.71 per pass attempt, which ranks 27th in the league.
It’s a significant drop-off from last season, when Washington gave up only nine such passes and ranked 22nd at 6.98 yards against per attempt.
Any examination of the differences in the secondary between this season and last must start with the coaching change.
Raheem Morris was hired as the defensive backs coach after serving as Tampa Bay’s head coach for the previous three seasons. Incumbent defensive backs coach Bob Slowik was reassigned to the linebackers after Lou Spanos left to become UCLA’s defensive coordinator, and safeties coach Steve Jackson was let go.
Shanahan was asked Monday whether he thinks the coaching changes are negatively affecting the secondary.
“No, no I don’t,” was all he would say.View Entire Story
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