The Washington Post

Mike Shanahan: Defense needed better preparation

One of the first things Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said following Sunday’s loss to the Carolina Panthers was “I’ve got to do a better job of getting these guys ready to play.”

Shanahan’s Redskins had dropped to 3-3 on the season after getting outplayed by the then 1-5 Panthers, giving up 407 yards of total offense and letting rookie Cam Newton make plays with his legs and arms. Meanwhile, the Redskins struggled on offense while starting a new quarterback and trying to overcome the loss of even more offensive starters.

Redskins players said after the game and on Monday that they weren’t exactly sure what Shanahan meant by that remark. They believed they simply hadn’t executed.

“They just did a better job than us out there on the field,” linebacker Brian Orakpo said. “We need to play better.”

When asked the day after the game – and after he had a chance to review the film – if he still felt that same way and why, the coach explained that he didn’t think that his defense was well-enough prepared to handle the Panthers’ explosive offensive attack.

Shanahan’s fuller explanation: “I thought they did a good job of kind of keeping us off balance with the option, a little bit of their formations and shifts and doing some things with Cam [Newton] that we haven’t seen a lot of. I have to do a better job of making sure that we’re better prepared during the week because our defense is too physical and too good. Even though they are a top five team [offensively], I’m going to give them credit too. They have been pretty consistent through the season keeping defenses off balance. I have to make sure that I put them in situations more times than not to make sure that they feel very comfortable in every look that they see.”

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.



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