Washington Redskins Lose to Philadelphia Eagles: The Armchair Coach
This is the first of a new weekly column called “The Armchair Coach.” In it, I'll offer my opinions on the game and try to back them up with the facts that lead me to them.
The Redskins sit at 3-2 after six weeks and find themselves facing an uncertain future. There are many questions the Redskins need to answer quickly if they want to have a chance of seeing a winning season.
Here are four things the armchair coach sees about the Redskins.
1. Jim Hasslett Is Responsible for 20 Eagle Points
As the game got under way. It looked like it was going to be a typical NFC East slug-fest. The Eagles went three and out, and then the Redskins went three and an interception.
Then the Eagles calmly and easily marched down the field and scored a touchdown.
Michael Vick, under no pressure at all, simply picked apart the defense. Their next possession, they did it again.
With a total absence of aggressive defensive play-calling, the Eagles passed and ran at will.
This is both perplexing and inexcusable. Did Jim Haslett somehow miss the film from the the first five weeks? Is he the only coach in the NFL that doesn't know the the way to beat Vick is to pressure him?
The entire first half, the Redskins brought only four rushers, and the Eagles were able to pick them up and block them. The result was an overwhelming time of possession and 20 points. It's a testament to our defensive players that the score wasn't 28.
This first half was entirely the coaches fault, and the second half proves it.
2. The Redskins Will Live or Die by the Blitz
Belatedly, Haslett adjusted at the half and began bringing the heat against the Eagles offense. The result was a second-half shutout and two interceptions.
Sure, Vick tore off a few of his trademark scrambles for some significant yardage. So what? He didn't score a single point.
I'm sick and tired of hearing the coaching staff talk about protecting against the big play. The big play is a part of professional football.
It's going to happen every week, whether you protect against it or not. Get over it!
“Protecting against the big play” is this generation's “prevent defense”—a failed and loathsome concept.
It's playing not to lose instead of playing to win. Face it—Michael Vick is going to run on you. You can sit back and let him throw all over you as well, or you can pressure him and get interceptions.
Ask the four teams that already beat him this year which plan works.
Aggression wins games on defense, and the Redskins defense has the players to be dominant in the league this year.
3. Three Touchdowns Equals a 5-0 Record
The Redskins have two losses this year. The Eagles beat them by scoring 20 points, and the Cowboys beat them with 18.
Playoff teams don't lose those contests because they score three or more touchdowns a game.
It's ridiculous to think that your team can't put it in the end zone once in three of the four quarters of a game. The Redskins have the players with the skill to do it—but it's not happening.
Is there anyone who wonders if the Green Bay Packers will score three touchdowns a week? Didn't think so.
The difference between 3-2 and 5-0 is three touchdowns. This fact, beyond any other, is why the Washington Redskins are an average team looking at an 8-8 record. If the Redskins could reliably score 21 points, they would win 10-12 games this season.
Realize this important fact—not one team has scored more than 21 points against the Redskins so far this year.
The Washington offense needs to start scoring touchdowns.
Could this change happen? It certainly could, but it will have to happen soon, and the change needs to start at the most important position on offense.
4. John Beck Needs to Be the Starting Quarterback.
I was always in the John Beck camp, but I supported the coaching decision to start Grossman.
The one and only positive about the Redskins' quarterback situation going into this year was that we had two QB's with different skill sets both capable of running this offense at a similar level.
Grossman had more experience in the system, so he deserved the start, but the whole idea was that Beck was ready to step in if he faltered.
It was another stupid coaching decision to keep Grossman in the game after the first half. Four interceptions is unacceptable.
You can blame one of them on Davis, since it's baffling how a man with arms the size of tree trunks could let a defensive back pull a ball out his hands, but the others were all Rex.
On top of that, Beck got in and drove it down the field for a touchdown. That is something Rex seems to have forgotten how to do.
Next week, the Redskins play the Carolina Panthers—another powerful, high-scoring offense.
Shanahan says he will name his starter on Wednesday. If he wants to win, it had better be Beck.