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Defensive Players Look for Answers

While there was plenty to be concerned about following the Redskins 19-14 loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday, perhaps most worrisome was the continued struggles of a defense expected to be more dominant than last year's fourth-ranked unit.

The Lions controlled the game in the first half, holding the ball for 22 minutes to Washington's eight and picking up 274 yards in the first two quarters - 116 on the ground.

On Monday, players said the problems were a result of a lack of discipline and accountability, among other things.

"I really think a lot of it is confidence, just I'm going to whip my guy," safety Reed Doughty said. "I'm not saying that I wasn't doing that the whole time, but we've got to get back to: 'This is my gap. He's not going to run in that gap.' If you have that across the board, they're not going to run anywhere. And just 'my bad' here, or 'my bad' there and that's a four- or six-yard run and now it's second-and-4 instead of second-and-8."

The Lions converted 9-of-12 third-down attempts in the first half and 55 percent of those opportunities in the game - they were ranked near the bottom of the league in third-down percentage entering the game - and they averaged 4.3 yards per rush in the game. (Detroit running back Kevin Smith picked up 6.8 yards per clip on the ground in the first half.)

Players said the struggles started with players missing assignments, sometimes because players were trying to do too much.

"It's everything, coverage, rushing, everything correlates to one another," rookie linebacker Brian Orakpo said. "Everybody has to be on the same page. You can't have busted assignments; you can't have one side doing one thing and one side doing another. Everybody has to be on the same page and that's the problem we're having. Everybody is trying to do too much; everybody has got to play assignment football."

Added Doughty: "I think it's just discipline. It's knowing your assignment and not second guessing yourself and playing with confidence. And I just don't see that right now, [we are not] flying around as much. I don't know if tentative is the right word, but I just don't know if we're playing with the kind of confidence that a top defense would play with."

Tracee's Take

Tracee Hamilton writes about the day after the debacle in Detroit:

Ask Zorn [the locker room] question, and you'll get a discussion of how hard his captains are working to keep the team on a positive note. Always, always, always, no matter the topic, Zorn returns to one word: details. Zorn truly believes that the Redskins' problems are a series of tiny mistakes, and that if he looks at the film, finds those mistakes, points them out and corrects them, everything will be fine.
But sometimes it seems like he's out in the yard, tinkering with the engine in a hot red sports car that's sitting up on blocks.

Steinberg Chats

Yes, he does. Dan Steinberg is back at 11:30 a.m. today and he's got a lot on his mind.

A New Discussion Group

If you find that you've got more to say about the Redskins, there's a new discussion group called the Tailgate Zone. Check it out.

By Paul Tenorio  |  September 29, 2009; 5:54 AM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Portis Still Struggling
Next: Your Call: Who Will Win?

Comments

FIRST to point out that Zorn is VINNY's HC pick.

Posted by: Kenbeatrizz | September 29, 2009 6:38 AM | Report abuse

If you find that you've got more to say about the Redskins, there's a new discussion group called the Tailgate Zone. Check it out.

By Paul Tenorio | September 29, 2009; 5:54 AM ET

I wish "the Tailgate Zone" were about the Redskins cheerleaders, not the stupid Redskins.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | September 29, 2009 7:02 AM | Report abuse

HAYNESWORTH IN FREAK ACCIDENT

Several paramedics and a tow truck were called to the home of Washington Redskins defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth earlier this morning.

According to the paramedics, Haynesworth was finishing up with his "morning constitutional" when he grabbed some toilet paper and reached around to wipe his backside.

The resulting exertion left the football player winded and laid out naked on the bathroom floor.

Paramedics decided to call for a tow truck to pull 300+ pound blob off the floor.

However, and barring any other major crisis, the defensive lineman is expected to make a full recovery and be ready to start Sunday's football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Posted by: Vic1 | September 29, 2009 7:24 AM | Report abuse

i'll say it again, too many nice guys not enough i'll rip your head off and crap down your neck guys in this locker room. soft off the ball on "3rd and short" and never in the backfield on first or second down... that just screams passive.

Posted by: Burrasta1 | September 29, 2009 7:30 AM | Report abuse

However, and barring any other major crisis, the defensive lineman is expected to make a full recovery and be ready to start Sunday's football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Posted by: Vic1 | September 29, 2009 7:24 AM

I just hope he's ready in time to start tomorrow's "morning constitutional."

Posted by: talent_evaluator | September 29, 2009 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone think The Danny should try to lure in Gruden to finish out the season, and see if he can get something out of the team?

The season is salvagable, if a new coach takes over soon.

Posted by: Sports_Guru | September 29, 2009 7:36 AM | Report abuse

i just wish the constitutionals would be down some offesive players neck

Posted by: Burrasta1 | September 29, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

It all starts with attitude, every man doing his job and beating the guy in front of him. Remember back in the day, the hogs would tell the defensive line, this is the play we are running, now stop it. This team doesn’t seem to have any passion, swagger or a nasty mean streak.

Posted by: drumer1972 | September 29, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

This team doesn’t seem to have any passion, swagger or a nasty mean streak.

Posted by: drumer1972 | September 29, 2009 7:37 AM

What do you expect when the coach's motto is "stay medium"?

Posted by: talent_evaluator | September 29, 2009 7:41 AM | Report abuse

What do you expect when the coach's motto is "stay medium"?

Posted by: talent_evaluator | September 29, 2009 7:41 AM


That’s so true. It starts at the top. Look what Rex Ryan has done with the Jets. Whole different attitude there.

Posted by: drumer1972 | September 29, 2009 7:46 AM | Report abuse

This team doesn’t seem to have any passion, swagger or a nasty mean streak.

Posted by: drumer1972 | September 29, 2009 7:37 AM


Russ Grimm would fix that immediately. Just sayin'...

Posted by: brownwood26 | September 29, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

medium = 8-8, this is not very medium looking right now.

Posted by: Burrasta1 | September 29, 2009 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Reed D. nailed this on the head, and I believe cl alluded to this yesterday, it all starts with one guy who says "it starts with me, right here, and right now, they're not running for 1 yard in my gap"....we just don't have that type of player, or that guy hasn't stepped up yet....

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 29, 2009 8:00 AM | Report abuse

grimm would bring back the nasty, he took it to pitt, and then to the cards

Posted by: Burrasta1 | September 29, 2009 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Rex Ryan daddy never won a SB as a head coach. I predict the same for Rexy boy.

The Redskins have serious issues that are undermining the team chemistry. Don't listen to what the Redskin players and coaches say but look at there body language.

Football players and coaches are supposed to be the alpha males but the Redskins aren't. H*ll the WP sport writers and columunists to include Danny Steinberg are more alpha than the Redskins.

As Riggo says the team is seriously dysfunctional. And sorry getting Gruden now wouldn't matter. And how did Gruden teams do in the last 4 years he was coaching? How many QBs to he screw up!

Danny is going after Pete Carroll! Pete Carroll needs to get out of USC before the NCAA investigation hits the fan and Danny will pay him big bucks!

Posted by: vaherder | September 29, 2009 8:02 AM | Report abuse

He didn't look too 'medium' when he was spazzin' out like a geek on the sideline.

...can we all agree he's the wrong guy now?! And Vinny, omfg, Vinny... they're calling you out on national media!! SAid the team should address needs instead of going for name players... durrrrr.

I go away for ONE WEEKEND and we've become the laughing stock of the NFL. SJK, they were making fun of us on NPR for, sjk's sake!

Didn't watch the game. Don't think I needed to, tho. Looking at the comments it seems like more of the same.

And I don't want to hear another word about 'time to develop'. I have two words to answer to that: Rex Ryan. If you don't like those, how about: Mark Sanchez....

...I can think of another Sanchez that describes this team perfectly.

Posted by: DikShuttle | September 29, 2009 8:03 AM | Report abuse

I hope those rumors of Shanahan being interested in the job are true. If we can get any of the big name Coaches out there to come here next year, that would be a coup. Even better, hire a real football guy to by GM and let him decide on the coach. But of course that would require firing 'Teflon' Vinny, who must know where all the dead bodies are buried.

Posted by: ralston21 | September 29, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse

ds, instead of watching the game, just take a hammer and mash yourself in the groin like 3-4 times....I just saved you 3 hours....don't thank me.

What about John Fox, he's probably on his way out in Carolina after this year....just throwing stuff out there...

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 29, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Danny is going after Pete Carroll! Pete Carroll needs to get out of USC before the NCAA investigation hits the fan and Danny will pay him big bucks!

Posted by: vaherder | September 29, 2009 8:02 AM


Oh yeah, that's right...the last time we got a college coach it worked so well we should dip in that vat of acid again. Good call.

Ask the Pats and Jets if we should make a run at Carroll. Good way to keep the 8-8 trend alive.

Posted by: brownwood26 | September 29, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Ask the Pats and Jets if we should make a run at Carroll. Good way to keep the 8-8 trend alive.

Posted by: brownwood26 | September 29, 2009 8:11 AM

I agree

Posted by: drumer1972 | September 29, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

What about John Fox, he's probably on his way out in Carolina after this year....just throwing stuff out there...

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 29, 2009 8:10 AM


Finally...something we can agree on.

John Fox is way underrated as a coach. Jake Delhomme is single-handedly tanking their season. I'm not sure Fox is good enough to win in spite of the Danny/Vinny train wreck, but at least he'd bring a brand of football here that would more resemble Redskin football of old.

Posted by: brownwood26 | September 29, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Sounds about right, Beaner, lol.

btw, Bahstahn was ah laht of fun this weekend! Ate too much, but it was great.

Posted by: DikShuttle | September 29, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

From the Times:

*Great quote from Casey Rabach that I couldn't fit into the story.

"There are Naval terms like DEFCON 5. What’s 10 steps below DEFCON 5?" Rabach said. "That’s where we are right now. Seriously, this is the lowest note we’ve been on in a long time."

That quote would have made for a great lede ... if it made sense. I Google'd the DEFCON information and as it turns out, DEFCON 5 is complete peace-time conditions. DEFCON 1 is an on-the-brink-of-war situation.

*What an offense. The Redskins are now up to 13th in yards. Of course, that statistic was padded by two garbage-time drives against Detroit.

*S LaRon Landry had an interesting take on things today when I went to his locker for a minute.

On if the little things could develop into big things: "We just have to buckle down as a team. There’s too much (talking) about this needs to be corrected, that needs to be corrected. We just need to come together as a team, be a family and do what we need to do to win."

On if there will be finger pointing: "It can be corrected. If you have guys pointing fingers, that can be corrected."

On if he's surprised things haven't come together: "We have big time leaders on this team who can say something. As of right now, we’re not coming together. It’s pretty surprising, but, I don’t know what to say about it. Something has to change."

*DE Andre Carter doesn't think the Redskins will point fingers.

"I don't forsee us doing that," he said. "You can't have individuals pointing out other individuals. Everybody has to look at themselves, realize what they did wrong, correct the mistakes and go from there."

*CB DeAngelo Hall thinks the Redskins are too talented to be performing like they are.

"That’s why you had the reaction you had last week – we have the talent to be better than we were even though we won the game," Hall said. "You saw the sense of urgency knowing we didn’t accomplish what we wanted to do. This week was even more disappointing because we didn’t even get to win. To come off that field without a win we felt we needed to have, it was frustrating."

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 29, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

its frustrating to watch D-hall and CR play soft defence on 3rd down.

Posted by: Burrasta1 | September 29, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

I would like a coach who has had some NFL experience as a Head Coach. That being said, Russ Grimm would be the only guy I'd like to have that has not. He would be great. Bring back some old school attitude.

Posted by: FedorEm | September 29, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

talent + medium = bad
talent + fire = medium
Talent + fire + brains = great

Posted by: Burrasta1 | September 29, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

ds, what did you do, and where did you eat? Tell me you went into the North End for some italian food....

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 29, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

"Paramedics decided to call for a tow truck to pull 300+ pound blob off the floor."

One minute Prince Al is a savior, then a joke the next.

Oh well.

I wasn't for signing the guy and I still don't agree with it.

Oh well.

Posted by: MistaMoe | September 29, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

We did hit the North End, but we picked the wrong place. It was ok, but nothing special. Forentine Cafe. ehhh.

Next time we'll pick a better spot.

The Rendevous (sp?!?) in Cambridge was really good. And there was an awesome Cuban spot in Jamaica Plains.

Posted by: DikShuttle | September 29, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Time to BLOW IT UP

Build the team around the following players :

on defense :

Reed Doughty
Chris Horton
Albert Haynesworth
Jeremy Jarmon
Brian Orakpo
Kareem Moore
Kevin Barnes

on offense :

Malcom Kelly
Devin Thomas
Fred Davis
Marko Mitchell
Marcus Mason


Everybody else can go.

Posted by: TheTruth11 | September 29, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

I think the defense gets better with the defensive line. Rotating guys constantly doesn't seem to be working, so it is time to put the starting four in there and keep them in: Daniels, Griffin, Haynesworth and Carter. I think the big reason why London Fletcher is getting so many tackles is because the defensive linemen in front of him aren't taking care of business. By the way, does anyone know why Renaldo Wynn is still on the roster? Three games = no tackles. Why are they keeping the guy? Let him go and activate Skolnitsky. It will send a message.

The team needs to get back to basics with a two deep zone. Keeping safeties near the line of scrimmage are just exposing the corners, who are not playing all that well. They need deep support - at least on D. Hall's side if he is going to continue to gamble.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | September 29, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse

beantown

"What about John Fox..."

As defensive coordinator next year?

Sure.

But I think Zorn will return with restrictions:

a. Sherm or Miedt calls plays

b. Zorn oversees the entire team

c. Olivadotti or Fox manages the D

Zorn is a good coach who's learning on the fly.

His playcalling isn't bad: his overall game management is.

Zorn can't call plays and manage the entire team.

Snyder will give him a season--next year--to prove if he can.

And if he can't, Fox (or whomever) gets promoted.

Posted by: MistaMoe | September 29, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse

"I wasn't for signing the guy and I still don't agree with it."

I've been against any "big name" FA acquisition for years, but at least they're getting more talented and younger.

Just make sure they fit, and don't overspend. That's all I ask.

Acquiring a dominant DT who made most of his plays freelancing on the field and asking him to play disciplined, gap assignment football doesn't seem like the best strategy.

Only 3 games in though. Hopefully these guys can start to mesh.

Posted by: Yoder-lay-hee-who | September 29, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

ds, good stuff....usually the north end is can't miss no matter where you go...

moe, you might have a good point there...I can't see blache coming back next year, and having someone else call the plays just makes too much sense not to do it...

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 29, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

beeps....another poll.....

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 29, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Here's what I think needs to happen...
1) Trade Landry (hopefully for a 2nd) I still think he can pull a pick that high
2) Try to trade Portis for 3rd rounder. If not, keep him
3) Draft OL in the first round
4) Draft OL and OLB in the second round
5) Draft LaGarrett Blount from Oregon (the running back who cold cocked the boy from Boise State)
6) Blitz Blitz Blitz Blitz

Posted by: ronjon629 | September 29, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Moe, that's crazy talk. His play calling is abyssmal and that's been welllll documented on there.

The sad part is, you're probably right in the conclusion...they'll all stay 'cause The Danny doesn't care.

Posted by: DikShuttle | September 29, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Gruden, Shanahan, Cowher, Lombardi, George Allen...it doesn't matter who is coaching if the personnel do not match the scheme, if the talent is not there, if the shiny new free agent is fat and happy with their cash...WE NEED A FOOTBALL MAN AS GM. This person hires a coach...the coach describes his vision to the GM who then goes out and acquires players to match the vision. Then in the off season, the GM and coach review the team, identify the needs - say offensive line, and draft and grab free agents to match the need.

Not very hard.

Posted by: sanantonioredskin | September 29, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

LAST MOST IMPORTANT LOSING INGREDIENT

They offense is immensely PREDICTABLE. Any credible defense can stop a predictable team in the Red Zone. Needing a yard, the 'Skins will run to the left; they obviously don't trust the right side of the offensive line. Becoming unpredictable is NOT an exotic play like the half-back option or a double reverse. It is a sensible and creative mix of plays.

They obviously lack an end-game plan for scoring in the last two minutes. Against Detroit, they were ad hoc in calling and executing the offense. No time-outs! Needing a touchdown. Yet all of the plays went down the middle where the clock could not be stopped, and the final play of the game was a running play started over 60 yards from the goal line.

It's great to know they're working on getting the ball down the field earlier in the game. But take an hour, guys, and frame some serious, permanent plans for 1) getting into the Red Zone in the final 2 minutes and 2) assuming (because of recurrent mistakes earlier in the half) that you'll have to do it with NO time outs.

Posted by: Predictable | September 29, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Ronjon, a 3rd rounder for Portis? A team can get a better RB than CP in the 3rd round and he will cost about 1/5 CP's salary.

I do agree, however, that this team would be as good, if not better, with R. Doughty and C. HOrton as starters. LaRon Landry is the most overrated player on this squad.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | September 29, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

What we are doing is not working. Try something different. Here's a few ideas.

Smoot has to go. Bring in Barnes. Barnes will get burned but at least he'll get better and he may knock someones block off. That kind of stuff can really fire up a defense. Smoot is only going to get worse. Barnes will only get better.

Marko Mitchell needs to play. DT11 and MK12 are not getting it done. Give the guy a shot on gameday and put all the preconceived notions about draft position behind you. Let the best player play.

Portis is injured. Deactivate him and bring in Marcus Mason. Save Portis for the end of the season. Mason is pretty much the same back anyway. Isn't this why he's on the roster in the first place? Mason is a young hungry player. He will get that 1 yard on 4th down simply because his entire future depends on it. Portis seems unmotivated and unwilling to take a hit. Let Mason try to make a name for himself. Alternatively, let Sellers run the ball with Cooley lead blocking. That's a train I wouldn't want to get hit by.

Let's see Alridge on third downs. Try checking down to him instead of betts. He could be a game breaker. Work on the fumbles in practice.

Bring in BMW on short yardage running plays or all plays if Heyer doesn't get better. Right now we can't run or pass right. BMW will at least allow us to run.

Try Orakpo at DE and Chris Wilson at SLB(we may already be doing this on third down but I'd like to see it on every down).

Move Laron Landry up to strong safety and start Kareem Moore at free safety.

DT11 needs to return punts and kickoffs.

Try Phillip Daniels at DT this week in practice. Who the hell knows? Crazier things have worked. He's got the strength.

Posted by: PAskinsfan17 | September 29, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Is kareem moore the new leigh torrence?

Posted by: priceisright | September 29, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

"What about John Fox, he's probably on his way out in Carolina after this year....just throwing stuff out there...

Posted by: BeantownGreg"

A harmonic convergence? I was thinking this exact same thing last night. John Fox is a very good coach. The Panthers might have a had a few bad seasons during his long tenure, but never back to back. I would be fully on board.

My bromance with Russ Grimm non withstanding, I would love to see a defensive HC, and a youngish OC with some fresh ideas....not a 4th gen LT in an old system.

Posted by: chrislarry | September 29, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

I have really been turning Hall's comment over in my head, because I couldn't agree more (though I tend to believe Hall might be one of the offenders). What a sense of entitlement on this team! If you are given a chance to play for the Burgundy and Gold, its got to go beyond your rap and your press conference costumes.

It seems like he directed it to younger players, maybe Horton, Moore, Orakpo, Kelly, et al.

What I would really like would be if these Skins shed that sense of entitlement, come correct and start playing football. Do they cherish the game? If they play like they do, the season can still be a success no matter what the record is.

Posted by: ElYeah | September 29, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

its frustrating to watch D-hall and CR play soft defence on 3rd down.

Posted by: Burrasta1 | September 29, 2009 8:21 AM


Los was the only corner to play ANY press-man sunday. He spent about 1/3rd of the plays pressing the receiver before he sprained his ankle.

D.Hall was playing 8 yards off the reciever every play, and Smoot was lined up in the locker room everytime he was on the field.

Posted by: ecale25 | September 29, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

dikshuttle:"And I don't want to hear another word about 'time to develop'. I have two words to answer to that: Rex Ryan. If you don't like those, how about: Mark Sanchez.... "

The Jets didn't need much time to develop. They won 9 games in 2008, including a five game midseason winning streak, before Favre's arm injury led to four losses in their last five games. This was a playoff-caliber team that's currently playing better than they did last season.

Posted by: Samson151 | September 29, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Do you idiots really think bringing in Gruden or Cowher at this point and changing everything in the middle of a game week would be appropriate? New schemes in a week? Have you heard Gruden's verbiage? Are you drunk? If they were to let Zorn go, Sherman Smith or Greg Blache would be the interim head coach, possibly Buges. Lay off the crack.

Posted by: lavararrington | September 29, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I still don't understand these comments about let's play Marcus Mason. If Mason was so good he would have been playing in the NFL 2 years ago. Just because a guy leads the preseason in rushing doesn't mean he is the next Walter Payton. Portis can get the job done if the O-line holds up. Adrien Peteron couldn't run behind the Redskins O-line. Use Aldridge as the change of pace back.

Posted by: cspwoods3 | September 29, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

If its not the talent level, then Zorn and company can't coach. If it is the talent level,then Vinny can't assemble talent. Since we've been in the same for about a decade- talking about great talent and poor execution, perhaps we need to consider the idea that its not about coaching (See- hall of fame coach Joe Gibbs 2.0) its about talent. The redskins simply do not have the horses that we think we have...and Vinny (the mouth piece for Danny) is to blame. Until Danny is fired, Snyder will continue to believe that he knows how to run a winning football team. Until Danny admits failure (via the firing of his talking head Vinny) the redskins will never change. Danny must take a back seat and do what he does best- which is be the best Redskins fan he can be- only he gets the best seat.

Posted by: HonestSkinsFan | September 29, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I doesn't matter who the coach is. Unless you bring in a real GM to construct the roster in a professional manner, with an overall plan and philosophy, you could bring in Vince Lombardi and the best this team will ever be is 9-7.

Posted by: HighPlainsDrifter | September 29, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Who in the hell would ask this kid whether the redskins are the worst team in football? He's the one who pulled a George Bush when asked to name something positive at Redskins Park and said there's not one single thing. lol. He's out of his depth and I imagine the Post will be putting him out of his misery after the season.

Posted by: themantoyou | September 29, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

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