The Redskins won a division title in 2012 and then had one of their worst seasons in franchise history in 2013, despite employing many of the same coaches and players on the sidelines. That’s been kind of puzzling.
Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said recently that the difference was mostly turnovers, and that the Redskins remain closer to their NFC East title form than to last year’s disaster.
“To me, when I look at this team, I think we’re closer to the 10-win season than I do the three-win season,” Haslett told Larry Michael on Redskins Nation recently. “The last two months of the year were probably the worst I’ve ever had in pro football. [In] 10 years playing, 25 years coaching, I’ve never been through anything like that — he said, she said. A lot of things going on that shouldn’t be going on in your locker room, that eats up players’ time when it shouldn’t. They should be worrying about football and none of the other stuff. Hopefully we never have to go through that again — or I’ll never go through that again — because I don’t want to be around something like that. That was an embarrassment to the organization, to yourself.”
Then he started discussing what had changed between 2012 and 2013, and he mostly settled on turnovers.
“Here’s why we won [in 2012]: we had a bunch of turnovers on defense, and the offense didn’t turn the ball over,” Haslett said. “That’s why we won games. That was the bottom line. You turn the ball over 14 times, you get 39 turnovers, you win a lot of games. Last year we kind of went backwards. We didn’t get enough turnovers — I think we had 29 turnovers [actually 26] — and the offense turned it over close to 40 times [actually 34]. So that’s why we lost games.
“It wasn’t what [scheme] you’re doing, it’s not who you’re doing it with,” Haslett continued. “We had the same exact players that we had the year before. We just got the ball [back], we turned the ball over, and we played much better on special teams. We weren’t put in bad situations like we were last year. So it was a number of different things. I do think this team’s closer to the team that won the division than the three-win season.”
Later in the segment, Haslett talked about how the atmosphere is now so sunny around Redskins Park.
“We had a defensive staff meeting the other day and we were talking football for about an hour-and-a-half,” the coordinator said. “We were talking one coverage, things that we want to change, things we want to do to get better. And the D Line coach, Jacob Burney, said this is the most fun he’s had in two years. And I thought all we’re doing is sitting around and talking football, trying to get some things right. And it is different from that standpoint.
“You’re going to like what you see in Jay [Gruden],” Haslett said. “Jay does a great job with the quarterbacks, he does a great job with the offense. He utilizes what the player does best. He doesn’t worry about what [players] can’t do. He finds out what they do best and he tries to use those players to the best of their ability.”
You can watch the full segment here.