On the heels of Washington’s worst defensive performance of the season, Redskins coach Jay Gruden was asked Monday to evaluate the performance of his defensive coordinator, Jim Haslett.
“Well,” Gruden said, before letting out a sigh. “When you look at that game on tape, there are way too many holes, obviously. And Coach Haslett will take the blunt of the criticism, as he always does. But ultimately it’s on all of us. We are all frustrated with the way we played. I know we can play better.”
Gruden’s answer was not a blatant indictment of Haslett, but it was not exactly a ringing endorsement, either.
The maligned defensive coordinator has drawn increasingly heavy criticism with each blown coverage or poor defensive outing, and the questions surrounding his future in Washington only grew after Sunday’s 49-27 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Gruden said Haslett will be evaluated at end of the season, just like everybody else.
“Moving forward we are just going to continue to coach these guys up and evaluate everything when the season is over, like we do at every position on this team,” Gruden continued. “Head coach, assistant coaches, players, trainers, medical staff — everybody gets evaluated after the season by the owner, by the GM, and that won’t change no matter what our record is or what our season is like. But we are disappointed by the way we played defensively. But moving forward, we’ll see the last four games if we can get some improvement from some of these young guys.”
The Redskins entered Sunday’s game as a top-10 defense in terms of yards allowed, but they ranked 20th in points per game. Against the Colts, they were victims of several blown coverages and missed assignments.
Haslett is expected to address reporters Thursday. In the meantime, players largely refused to place blame on their defensive coordinator.
“The coaching staff, they do a good job of putting in the game plan every week,” outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said. “It’s on us as players to execute it and make the plays.”
Washington’s secondary has been depleted by injuries this season, forcing several young players into action. Players said Haslett has declined to simplify his game plan or play calls because of inexperienced personnel.
Linebacker Keenan Robinson said poor execution falls on the players.
“I mean, people are going to say what they want to say,” Robinson said. “At the end of the day, the coaches don’t play. The players have to execute the gameplan. Like I said, if we didn’t have those busted coverages, we wouldn’t be here talking about this right now.”