In the far right corner of the otherwise empty room, however, members of the team’s much-maligned secondary were in front of their lockers. They sat on their wooden stools, smiling sheepishly, bracing for the interrogation.
The defensive backs had seen their defensive coordinator, Jim Haslett, come under fire after the two previous games in which the pass defenders had been burned repeatedly. And their struggles had only continued against Cincinnati.
The defensive backs – sticking with a theme of accountability being preached within their ranks this season — insisted that neither Haslett nor new secondary coach Raheem Morris were to blame for the problems.
“Honestly, it all falls back on the guys on the field,” free safety Madieu Williams said. “You can’t worry about the calls being made on the sideline. We have to execute. You can’t worry about the calls that are being made on the sidelines. It’s up to us to execute whatever call that’s made regardless of the situation.”
Said cornerback DeAngelo Hall: “You’ve got to be better. It ain’t no secret about it. Any time you give up big plays like that, the chances you’re going to win a game is going to be slim to none. . . . This defense hadn’t been used to things like that happening. We have to re-evaluate it, look ourselves in the mirror and get better as a team, as a defense, and better at the one-on-one matchups and we have to win them.”
After allowing 401 yards and three touchdowns through the air against Cincinnati, the Redskins’ season total swelled to 1,012 yards (fourth most in the NFL) and 10 passing touchdowns (a league high) allowed. And the average 9.1 yards per catch that the Redskins have allowed is second highest in the NFL.Washington has allowed 13 pass plays of 25 yards or more this season.
Haslett took the blame for the Bengals’ 73-yard touchdown pass on the game-opening play, when Cincinnati used a wildcat formation and snapped the ball directly to wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, who had lined up in the backfield, rather than quarterback Andy Dalton. Sanu connected with wide receiver A.J. Green to give the Bengals a 7-0 lead.
Haslett said the Redskins had never practiced for the formation. But his players said Hall should have switched coverage assignments with safety DeJon Gomes so Hall could have covered Green on the play. Hall actually said he attempted to signal to Gomes to make the switch, but that Gomes didn’t hear him.