Keeping Tabs on Washington's Team

Defense In Need Of Overhaul

The 'Skins can't win with this D

By Ryan Wilson
|  Thursday, Nov 1, 2012  |  Updated 8:43 AM EDT
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Defense In Need Of Overhaul

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PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 28: Jonathan Dwyer #27 of the Pittsburgh Steelers stiff arms London Fletcher #59 of the Washington Redskins during the third quarter on October 28, 2012 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh won the game 27-12. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

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If the Eagles can fire their defensive coordinator during the bye then the Redskins certainly must be considering it. Philly has their own problems but if you made a list, the defense wasn't near the top. And still, coach Andy Reid canned Juan Castillo, installed assistant Todd Bowles and … then the Eagles had their worst defensive outing of the year against the Falcons last Sunday.

And maybe that fear (Is there somebody better out there?) is what will keep Redskins' defensive coordinator Jim Haslett employed for the foreseeable future.

Then again, Washington's D is among the worst in the league and that was on full display in the Week 8 loss to the Steelers. The 'Skins didn't have an answer for third-string running back Jonathan Dwyer, who went for over 100 yards, nor could they slow down Pittsburgh's passing attack. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger may have thrown for just 222 yards, but he was untouched all afternoon, completed passes to nine receivers, and tossed three touchdowns.

So either something has to change or, well, something has to change. Washington is already without Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker and their replacements have been ineffective. Meanwhile, London Fletcher has been hobbled by hamstring injuries and DeAngelo Hall hasn't played well. To borrow an old phrase: At the end of the day, rearranging the deck chairs on the Titantic won't make much of a difference.

This could mean that Haslett could be out of work.

The Washington Examiner's Rick Snider thinks the decision is straightforward. “Washington plays Carolina on Sunday, then has its bye. The Redskins’ defense either needs to reboot under Haslett or restart under someone else during the break.”

Meanwhile, former 'Skins cornerback Fred Smoot is mortified by what he's seen.

“Jim is, I think, an average coordinator right now,” he said during the the postgame show on 106.7 (via the Sports Bog). “He might not have the players he wants. But I also think he’s so pig-headed right now, he’s gonna continue to run his style of defense, even though it’s killing the team. …

“I’m embarrassed for them,” Smoot continued. “Because I used to wear those colors. I wore that on my helmet. I represent that to this day. And I know the one thing we always prided ourselves on was going out there and playing defense the best we could. We might not have been the greatest defense, but we played with our heart on our sleeve, and we went out there and laid it on the line. And I’m not seeing that. And I don’t know if I’m not seeing that because these guys don’t believe in the scheme or the coordinator, or if I’m not seeing that because these guys just shouldn’t be playing together.”

Whatever the reason the reality is this: Washington is 3-5, host the Panthers before their bye, and then have two weeks to fix a season's worth of problems. If the first eight weeks are any indication, it'll be a tall order.

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