Yesterday during the lack luster Washington Redskins vs. Carolina Panthers game I had to close Twitter down. Yes the team, especially the defense played poorly, but the fan reaction was getting ridiculous.
All the complaining about defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has reached the heights of ridiculousness. Is our defense terrible? Yes. Are some of the play calls questionable? Sure or definitely yes if you listen to the folks on Twitter who's combined football coaching experience is at best Pop Warner level.
I'm not making excuses for Haslett but at the same time a lot of the defense's under performance isn't exactly his fault. We knew last off-season that we needed to upgrade the cornerbacks and safeties. All signs pointed that Bruce Allen and company was looking to do such a thing, then bam, the night before free agency opens up this Skins are hit with a $36 million cap penalty, 18 million which was removed from this season. So a clear choice was made that the team needed to use it's money to try and get some weapons for either Peyton Manning or Robert Griffin III (or Andrew Luck if he wasn't drafted at the number one spot). I can't say for sure but the hope was probably that the front seven of the Redskins defense would provide enough pressure that the lack of a defensive backfield wouldn't be as noticeable.
In week one that seemed to work. The Skins defense pressured and hurried Drew Brees often. Also in the first quarter of the Rams' game in week two the front seven harassed Sam Bradford. However, defensive end Adam Carricker and outside linebacker Brian Orakpo went down with season ending injuries. Those two were a big part of the Skins pass rush and in one half they were gone along with the Skins' pass rush.
No one on the line matches Carricker's speed and power and ability to get to the quarterback. At outside linebacker Ryan Karrigan is just as good (maybe better) then Orakpo, but without Rak on the otherside teams are doubling up on Kerrigan and the other side isn't getting any pressure.
Even when the Skins blitz they don't get any pressure, that could be the scheme or just could be the bits and pieces that Haslett has to work with not getting the job done.
Now that the Skins have reached the bye-week a lot of fans on Twitter are calling for Has to get the ax, but who are we going to replace him with? Raheem Morris, the cornerbacks' coach? The guy who's squad is the worst in the league, he's suppose to to turn this defense around?
Some have argued that he'll spark the defense. Maybe he'll provide a spark but the problem is that the defense at this point in the year is a wet pile of kindling and no amount of spark will get wet wood to catch on fire.
With our lack of defensive moves in the off-season the team has made it's bed and now has to lie in it. Firing Haslett won't fix anything. I say ride out the season with him and if there is a better option go that route in the off-season.
Ok, on to my next gripe with Twitter yesterday. The talk of losing affecting Robert Griffin III's attitude and how this will translate to his career. What the hell is that all about. It's so moronic I don't even know where to begin. Look, losing sucks and when the clock expires on a particularly bad game we all sulk. However, RG3 is a professional in every sense of the word. I assure you he hates losing but the Monday following the game he's moved on. He's going to be fine and he's going to win more and more games when the pieces are around him. Remember how dreadful the offense used to be (though they did look bad yesterday) now we're surprised if they don't put up at least 20 points.
Again though, the offense has sustained two big injuries, Pierre Garcon and Fred Davis. I'm not making excuses for this team, but the injuries we've sustained are staggering and for a play-off caliber team they'd be tough to overcome and for a team that's best hope was 9-7 or 8-8 these injuries are resulting in the kind of season we're seeing.
When head coach Mike Shanahan during his press conference said they'd be evaluating players from hear on out Twitter blew up with "he's throwing away the season!" Granted I don't think Shanny is throwing in the towel on the season but let's be real at 3-6 at the bye the Redskins are a pretty big long shot at making the play-offs. They'd pretty much have to run the table to get there. Fans who wanted a spark by firing Haslett should be all for this. After all if Shanny's evaluation means throwing some young players into games that might be a spark. These would be guys who don't get that much playing time and will leave it all out on the field if it means a starting job or even a new contract next season. Who knows how many Alfred Morrises we have on the bench right now who are just waiting for a chance to get on the field. Granted it's probably not enough to turn the season around but hell let the young guys play.
And lastly, everyone on Twitter, shut up about Andrew Luck. The Colts were a Super Bowl contender two years ago with Peyton Manning at the helm and before he got hurt were still a contender last year. It took a monumental suck job by Curtis Painter to nab the number one draft pick for the Colts, and shocker with a good quarterback under center they're in contention for the play-offs. If RG3 was taken number one and Luck taken two by the Skins we'd probably be seeing the exact same thing in Indy and DC. Griffin isn't the problem here, in fact I dare not even think about what our record would be without him. Also talking about Luck's record is monumentally stupid because we didn't have shot at drafting him. I'd give that argument a little water if we had the number one pick and took RG3 over Luck but we didn't. We had no choice, we were left with the QB that the Colts didn't pick. So for all of you "but Andrew Luck is doing this…" folks out there you're an idiot and no nothing of sports since you can't even comprehend the fact the Redskins didn't have a chance to draft Luck.
So, in summation Redskins fans, calm down. We knew the play-offs were a long shot this season and yes we had a nice start but the wheels have fallen off with a defense that couldn't afford any injuries and has been hammered with some severe ones. If next season with everyone healthy we're 3-6 again then I'll give you permission to go nuts but lets put the pitch forks and torches back in the shed. Try to enjoy the games on Sunday and if they play terribly turn it off and go do something constructive. Fly a kite, paint a picture, stuff bananas up the tail pipe of a Cowboys' fan's car. But by all means don't let the Skins give you an ulster, at least not this year's team.
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