Chris Baker: Haslett critics are misinformed

Months after the NFL season ended, Redskins fans continue to seek consensus on whether the 2013 Washington defense was good or bad, nobly striving to improve or hopelessly outmatched, cursed by poor circumstances and bad luck or plagued by inferior talent and scheming, brimming with untapped potential or infested with rancid failure.

How you feel about those issues likely correlates to how you feel about defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, whom some fans defend while others, to put it gently, do not.

So when defensive lineman Chris Baker re-signed with the team last week, ESPN 980′s Scott Jackson presented him with that debate. After a down year for the team, Jackson noted, some fans were questioning why Haslett would be back.

“I’d tell them that they don’t really know what they’re talking about man,” Baker responded. “We have a good defense; we were just put in bad situations at certain times. But it’s up to us as players to make more plays and to get the job done. It’s not always the coaches who are to blame for the way we play all the time. But we’re gonna grind hard this year, and hope everything turns out to be a lot better than it was last year.”

As for his decision to remain in Washington, Baker told 106.7 The Fan that he was loathe to leave the area.

“I was very comfortable here,” he said. “I’ve been here for the last three years, so I’ve built a lot of relationships here, with the guys on the team and outside of the team. So I’m very comfortable here. I didn’t want to leave. My first three years I left and had to go to different states every year. So I finally found somewhere where I could call home, and I look forward to staying here for many more years.”

SELFIE OF THE WEEKEND

Whole lot of talk about selfies over the weekend. Here was my personal favorite: Marcin Gortat and Trevor Ariza, after the latter had his career night in Philadelphia.

JOSHUA MORGAN’S HAT

I was at the George Washington-George Mason game on Sunday afternoon, in the stands. So was Joshua Morgan. His hat was visible from every corner of the gymnasium.

SIGN OF THE WEEKEND

Fans in Charlottesville greeted Syracuse with many signs, about the ACC, the color orange, and their mascot.

BOZ ON THE CAPS AND THE NATS

Thomas Boswell makes a comparison, in print, that many fans have been suggesting ever since the Strasburg Shutdown: the Caps should be a reminder that top-of-the-league excellence might not stick around as long as you’d imagine:

If the Caps had made horrid mistakes, the pain of watching them now as they struggle to be average would not be so annoying and poignant. But they didn’t. Their exceptionality just slipped away as the years sped past.

The Caps should illustrate to the Nats that you don’t have to be a farce franchise run like the FedEx football circus to disappoint your dreams. Everybody from the owner to the Zamboni driver can be pretty good and extremely conscientious. And the result can still be “no dice.”

A WASHINGTON BASEBALL DISCUSSION

Frederic Frommer, whose “You Gotta Have Heart” chronicles the history of baseball in D.C., will discuss that topic with legendary announcer Phil Hochberg Tuesday evening at the MLK Library downtown. The two men will discuss the history of local baseball and the upcoming season — the 90th anniversary of Washington’s only World Series championship. The event begins at 6:30; see more here.

WHAT TO WATCH TODAY

The Wizards host Memphis at 7 on Comcast SportsNet. All radio and TV listings are here.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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Dan Steinberg · February 28