Redskins high-octane offense negated by no-octane defense

Since 2004, give or take a few stretches of games here in there in between, the mantra has always been the same for any Redskins fan who watches this team:

“If only the Redskins had a real offense.”

We believed the defense was good, if not great, but at least plenty sufficient enough to where it could help take the team to real contention, something Redskins fans haven’t seen in decades.

Fast forward to 2012, when we’re witnessing one of the most explosive and creative offenses that Redskins fans have ever seen, and yet the fan base still feels like we’re trying to pay for something with a one-sided coin.

It’s been pretty well discussed to date, but I’m not sure enough people are talking about how putrid the Redskins passing defense is.

This pass defense isn’t bad; it’s historically bad. It’s actually on pace to allow 5,255 net passing yards, which would make it the worst pass defense that the NFL has ever seen. Ever.

Just think about it: six of the seven quarterbacks the Redskins have played against this season have thrown for 300 or more yards, and the one that didn’t (Josh Freeman) threw for 299 yards. Sure, they’ve played against guys like Drew Brees and Eli Manning and Matt Ryan, but they’ve also allowed big passing games from guys like Andy Dalton, Christian Ponder, and Sam Bradford, all of whom I can promise won’t be challenging for the passing yardage title this season. At this point, i’m pretty sure the local girl scout troop that sometimes sells cookies in front of my local grocery store could get together and put up 250 yards or so passing against this secondary.

The defense — lead by the secondary, with a healthy assist from a virtually non-existent pass rush — has proven that no lead, to date, is safe. They blew a 15 point lead in the third quarter against the Rams (who are ranked in the bottom half in the league on offense) which ended in a loss. They blew another 15 point lead (in the second quarter) against Tampa Bay, before Robert Griffin III lead the Redskins to a last second game winning field goal. They almost blew yet another 15 point lead against Minnesota (the Vikings cut the lead to five) before Griffin bailed the team out yet again with his 76 yard touchdown run.

It’s to easy to point to the fact that we have two former head coaches on this defense — one of whom has the exclusive job of doing nothing but coaching this secondary — and yet we still have the worst passing defense in the league. But Jim Haslett and Raheem Morris can spend every hour of every week putting together a masterful game plan for any upcoming opponent, and it won’t matter if the players they coach just get beat play after play

I’ll make no reservations or show hesitation in my disdain for DeAngelo Hall, who is only good at one thing when he’s on the field: shooting his mouth off at opposing players, opposing coaches, and even the referees, often at the most inopportune and boneheaded times. Josh Wilson’s coverage abilities can best be described as “bipolar”: sometimes it’s on one end of the spectrum (very solid), and just as often on the other end of the spectrum (patently terrible). Calling Cedric Griffin a “has been” would either be generous, or perhaps insulting to has-beens, depending on how you look at it.

The Redskins are putting up maybe their most consistently explosive output since 1999. It offense reminds you of one of those high octane college football offenses — something like what Chip Kelly at the University of Oregon runs, or what Urban Meyer ran when he was at the University of Florida — in that opposing defenses don’t really have any idea where the offensive assault will come from next, and everything changes from week to week. If there were an “offensive coordinator of the year” award, Kyle Shanahan would be the runaway winner.

And that’s what’s so damn frustrating about this year’s team, to date. It’s like trying to make a bloody mary with the best Vodka, tomato juice, and accoutrements that money can buy, and then stirring and garnishing it with a stalk of celery that’s fermented and rotten (the secondary).

In Pittsburgh this Sunday, the Redskins are going to face a trio of receivers that are as good as any that the NFL has to offer. Mike Wallace could very well be one of the five fastest receivers in the game right now. Antonio Brown is one of those crafty receivers that slices and dices secondaries on the underneath routes and racks up plenty of yards after the catch. Emmanuel Sanders is a jack-of-all trades that can hurt a team underneath or over the top (think of a Ricky Sanders-type for all you Redskins old-timers). And the guy throwing the football to them in Ben Roethlisberger is quietly (unless you count him publicly discussing how much he dislikes his completely unlikeable offensive coordinator) having a phenomenal season. Oh, and it’s far from a walk in the park in general having to play in front of the uber-homerrific Steelers fan base, that mostly knows nothing of the free world besides “Stiller football.”

Seven games into the season, Robert Griffin III has done things that make us — and fans all over the country — shake their head, week after week. He reminds me a lot of LeBron James during his early years with the Cleveland Cavaliers: history-changing talent surrounded by a support cast of clown shoes.

Griffin can throw for 300 yards and run for another 100 this Sunday (it’s not that far fetched; the aging defense they’re playing this Sunday aren’t ‘your daddy’s Steelers’), but would it be enough?

Even a mediocre performance from Griffin’s defensive teammates would be welcomed at this point. It’s sadly ironic that after years of counting on this side of the football, Redskins fans aspire for them to just provide semi-adequate performances week after week.


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One Response to “Redskins high-octane offense negated by no-octane defense”

  1. Keith Scriber says:

    For the guy who wrote this article i can tell you don’t know shit about football because
    If u did you would know that the steelers are not that good this year but to bash our defense is some real chicken shit to do. Everybody in the DMV area wants to win now but doesn’t want to take the time and let these coaches coach or let the players build a chemistry with each other, I have been a fan of the Redskins since i can remember i still have faith in them and i know they will come together as a team they have a leader on offense and a leader on defense they will be good. If any member the redskins reads this the stuff they write about yall the shit you see on TV use that as motivation to shut people up like him who wrote this dumb ass article and the critics who always have negative things to say. HTTR tell the day i die