- - Sunday, December 23, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

I’ll bet there was a moment Saturday when you felt good about being a Washington Redskins fan. After all, even though they lost, 25-16 to the Tennessee Titans, it was a valiant effort.

Quarterback Josh Johnson nearly led them to victory at the end before he threw an interception to Malcolm Butler to seal Washington’s fate. They were a beaten, bruised and battered unit, down to street vendors on the offensive line. And yet — there they were. Blocking for Adrian Peterson on his way to 119 yards rushing. Keeping the game close. Fighting hard.

You were disappointed, but proud, right?

Then, after the game, safety D.J. Swearinger reminded everyone of the poisonous dysfunction that defines this generation of Washington Redskins, from the boardroom to the locker room. He reminded all of us that the players hate everybody — coaches, fans, everyone.

“The backup quarterback,” Swearinger told reporters after the game, referring to Tennessee second-stringer Blaine Gabbert, who led the Titans to the go-ahead touchdown.

“I don’t care what you say. I don’t care what they say. We’re not supposed to lose this game with the talent we have on defense. The backup quarterback. OK, you can say we didn’t make the plays as players. Yeah, we didn’t make enough. But when we’re in the game at the end of the game, I feel like we should be in something that we can (pressure) the quarterback, man. Go after the quarterback and make plays.”

Someone might have pointed out to Swearinger while he disparaged the notion of losing to a backup quarterback that his team was being led by their fourth quarterback this season. Josh Johnson didn’t even qualify as a backup until two weeks ago.

But Swearinger — one of the team captains, I might point out — was handing out blame like candy canes for a Christmas tree.

“Make him beat us,” he said. “Make him, OK. No. He’s going to pick you off. If it’s man (coverage), three by one, he’s going backside every time. A kindergarten quarterback can know that, man. But I’m not the D-coordinator, bro.”

That would be Greg Manusky, the defensive coordinator, hired, I might point out, by the head coach, Jay Gruden.

Someone asked Swearinger if he had spoken to Manusky about these issues.

“I voice my frustrations every single time I come off the field,” Swearinger said.

The Redskins sidelines must be a regular holiday party during a game.

We now know for sure why Swearinger — a talented player — is on his fourth team in six NFL seasons, and soon likely to move on to his fifth next year. Right or wrong, you can’t be airing out the coaching staff publicly on a regular basis like Swearinger does.

But at least when he is ripping the coaches, he’s not ripping the fans.

The defining memory of the 2018 season may be the attack on the damaged, beleaguered Redskins fanbase by players like Josh Norman, Mason Foster and Swearinger, who, in an appearance on 106.7 The Fan slammed the Redskins‘ lack of a home-crowd advantage on game days at Ghost Town Field.

“I’ve played on four different teams. Never seen it that bad, you know with other teams’ jerseys in the stands, with the boos, whatever it may be. I’ve never been a part of nothing like that.”

Think about this. Swearinger criticized the fans for, in essence, what he does to the Redskins coaching staff on a regular basis.

The season of hate likely ends Sunday, at the place where Redskins players hate to play — their home field — in front of the few Redskins fans that will choose to show up for the season finale to watch the players who hate them play for the coaches they hate.

It’s a wonderful life, isn’t it?

Hear Thom Loverro on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings and on the Kevin Sheehan Show podcast every Tuesday and Thursday.


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