They rotated outside linebackers with hopes of replacing Orakpo’s production. Rob Jackson has played in the base defense since Orakpo tore his left pectoral muscle in Week 2. But sub packages have included Jackson, Lorenzo Alexander, Chris Wilson, Mario Addison and Markus White. Addison and White are no longer on the team.
That rotation thinned to include only Jackson and Alexander after they established themselves as the best options.
Haslett also has rotated personnel at safety, where Meriweather lost 15 games to knee injuries and Tanard Jackson was suspended for the season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Veteran Reed Doughty, Jordan Pugh and DeJon Gomes still rotate depending on the situation.
Because Orakpo and Meriweather combined to play only three games, their replacements now have significant game experience, which enables them to play better.
“The staff has also gotten comfortable with what they can do,” linebacker London Fletcher added. “We have adjusted our defense to fit that accordingly, and we’ve been able to play fast.”
The improvements are easy to see. The Redskins have allowed only 20 points and 5.41 yards per play during their winning streak. They’re pressuring the quarterback more consistently because they’re blitzing more frequently. Haslett continues to disguise coverages effectively. Washington has forced 31 turnovers this season, fifth-most in the NFL.
The progress was on full display Sunday night. The Redskins intercepted quarterback Tony Romo three times. The Cowboys‘ 18 points were their fourth-lowest total of the season. Washington pressured Romo all game by mixing blitzes and blitzers.
“He was the chess master,” Cofield said, “and we were just pawns.”
NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth called Haslett’s game plan “masterful,” before a record-sized national audience.
“We worked a number of different combinations to get to the point where were at,” Haslett said. “It took us a longer time than we would’ve liked, but it worked out for the best.” After Haslett and Wale parted on their way out of the stadium early Monday, the coach and his family continued past the crowd of dozens waiting behind a metal barrier for players to emerge.
“Thank you, Coach Haslett!” one fan shouted.
Haslett turned toward the fan, acknowledged him, and he kept walking
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
By Jay Sekulow
The left's outrage over the IRS turns to a plea to 'move on'
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Politics and pop culture from the perspective of an independent hip-hop conservative
Positive propaganda for a nation in peril.
Al Maurer provides a common sense, conservatarian, Constitutional conservative perspective from the battleground state of Colorado
Manhattan-based free-market urban bloggers bringing original political content with fresh, young voices
World's Ugliest Dog Contest
Spelling Bee finale
Marines train Afghan soldiers
Rolling Thunder 2013
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal