The days of much-maligned ex-special teams coach Danny Smith — remember him? — who took a job with the Steelers during the offseason seemed downright competitive compared to this.
Leaving struggling rookie returner Chris Thompson inactive Sunday didn’t help. Neither did sending veteran Josh Morgan back to return the first punts of his professional career.
All the shuffling added up to seven kickoff and punt returns by the Redskins for 46 measly yards.
“It’s such a different phase of football than offense and defense,” Kehl said. “It’s just such a hodgepodge. This guy’s there. This guy’s here. It’s a free for all, almost, and when something big like that happens it’s not as cut and dried. … It’s just wanting it more than the guy across from you. That’s probably what we’re lacking most is the effort part of it.”
Harris added a 90-yard kickoff return in the third quarter, sprung free as rookie David Amerson absorbed an enormous hit that forced him out of the game with a concussion. E.J. Biggers ran him down to save a touchdown, an admirable moment of hustle, then, later in the quarter, drew a flag for holding on a punt return that didn’t gain one yard.
That’s the story of the failed night that will turn into the story of the wobbling season if a solution isn’t found.
“We found the enemy. It’s us.”