DJ Swearinger Rips Redskins' Practice Habits, Lack of Discipline: 'It's a Joke'November 27, 2018
Washington safety D.J. Swearinger was publicly angry with the team's defense after its Thanksgiving day loss to the Dallas Cowboys, and on Monday he took aim at the team's preparation.
Swearinger let loose during while speaking to Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on 106.7 The Fan (h/t Scott Allen of the Washington Post):
"I just feel like when we're in certain preparations—when it's Friday, when it's Saturday, when it's time to lock in and really be focused in—I feel like it's a little bit too much playing. Whether it's on Friday or whether it’s the Saturday walk-through. A lot of guys just walk through that Saturday as if that Saturday doesn't mean much. But truth be told, that Saturday means a lot. If you're a focused individual, every time that you step on the practice field—whether it's a walk-through, whether it's a real practice—any time the coach is saying something, that means business. When we have our walk-throughs on Saturdays, I feel like it's a joke, to me—with the amount of focus that we have, with the amount of playing that we have, the amount of lack of discipline that we have on those Saturdays and Fridays, on days where I feel like we should be tuned in. That's where those comments come in."
Swearinger's frustrations seem warranted. The team lost a chance to take a stranglehold on the NFC East against the Cowboys, losing in large part due to several defensive mishaps, including allowing Amari Cooper to score on 40- and 90-yard touchdown receptions.
Yes, Washington was without starting quarterback Alex Smith, lost for the season. In his place Colt McCoy had his ups and downs, throwing for 268 yards and two scores but also tossing three interceptions. The loss dropped Washington to 6-5 and in a tie with Dallas for first place in the division, though technically Dallas is ahead of Washington in the standings due to a superior division record.
Losing a key game to a good opponent has become par for the course. Washington is now just 2-4 against opponents with winning records this season.
Swearinger's decision to once again vocally take a shot at his team's focus and preparation is a pretty telling sign that all is not well in Washington. As Allen noted, Swearinger has repeatedly made similar comments in the past, suggesting there are underlying issues at play in Washington.
The consistency of his complaints doesn't reflect positively on head coach Jay Gruden either. If complacency is an ongoing issue, that could stem from a lack of accountability from the coaching staff. Former running back Clinton Portis hinted at as much during an appearance this week on The Kevin Sheehan Show (h/t Allen):
"I just feel like [Swearinger] should address the player. Say his name, let him know that's who you're talking to, but you can do it behind closed doors and whatnot. You can't leave it on the coaches, because obviously these coaches aren't those types of coaches that's in your face or that's willing to call out guys or push guys to the max."
The team was already a longshot to make a postseason push with Smith out of commission. The concerns Swearinger has raised, however, make their task all the more difficult.