- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 22, 2018

NASHVILLE — D.J. Swearinger has been frustrated for a while. After losses this season, the Redskins safety has regularly offered thinly-veiled critiques of the coaching staff.

On Saturday, after a 25-16 loss to the Tennesse Titans, Swearinger did away with the veil, thin or otherwise.

Swearinger blasted Washington’s defensive approach — saying the Redskins weren’t aggressive enough against a backup quarterback in Tennessee’s Blaine Gabbert. He also criticized the team being in man coverage instead of zone.

Gabbert, who replaced starter Marcus Mariota (stinger) before halftime, led a seven-play, 75-yard scoring drive in the fourth as the Titans took a 19-16 lead.

The Redskins had played well on defense for most of the game, but fell apart late.



“I feel like on the third-down-and-6, third-down-and-7, we’re playing a backup quarterback, why would you put us in man-to-man?” Swearinger said. “Why not get out — we are our best on defense when we look at the quarterback. When you go one-high on a backup quarterback? That’s easy, man. They’re going to go backside every time, you feel me? … If we look at the quarterback with all this talent we got in the backend, man, we can dominate every team every week.

“But I’m not the D-coordinator, bruh. But we didn’t make the plays. I guess we didn’t make the plays. There were plenty of plays out there so we didn’t make the play to win the game, so.”

Swearinger said the Redskins don’t utilize their playmakers effectively. He added he watches film of other teams, noting how they send nickel and safety blitzes. Swearinger said “there’s no way” the Redskins should have lost the game, given their amount of talent.

The 27-year-old took issue, specifically, with the team being in man-to-man coverage on a third-and-7 at Washington’s 37-yard line. On that play, cornerback Fabian Moreau was called for defensive holding and that extended the drive.

But if Swearinger had his way, Moreau wouldn’t have been in that position.

“Make him beat us,” he said. “Make him, OK, zone. Go here. No. He’s going to pick you off. If it’s man, three by one (formation), he’s going backside every time. A kindergarten quarterback can know that, man.”

Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, who was promoted to the position in 2017, is responsible for the play-calling. Asked if he voices his frustrations with his coach, Swearinger said he does it every time the defense comes off the field.

Swearinger, who joined the Redskins in 2017 as a free agent, admitted he could have done a better job of finishing tackles. But he said he was “speaking frustrations for everybody.”

Washington’s defense has crumbled as this season has progressed. Though they were dominant against a struggling Jacksonville unit last week, the Redskins went from having the defense carry them in games to a defense that has become a liability.

Against Tennesee, the Redskins allowed 291 yards. Gabbert threw for 101 yards, completing seven of his 11 passes. He was sacked just once.

Before Saturday’s game, the Redskins ranked 17th in total defense and 18th in defensive efficiency.

“I’m a very smart football player,” Swearinger said. “I probably watch more film than the coaches. …. I try to give my insight but you know it doesn’t work, so, I can only put my heart in this [crap], dog.

“Put my heart in this [crap] and give them what I can give them. Whether they take it or not that’s another thing. That’s where the frustration comes in.”

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