Linebacker Brian Orakpo and lineman Adam Carriker also were lost to injury. Kerrigan is a nice, create-havoc player who had one of his best games of the season Sunday. But without Orakpo, he doesn’t have the green light off the edge of the offensive line that he used to. Truth is, the Redskins really don’t have a bull-rushing presence without Orakpo.
As a result, the defensive front doesn’t get the pressure on the quarterback it once did. And then it becomes a domino effect, with the secondary out there by its lonesome, ready to be picked apart.
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On top of that, Haslett had never coached a 3-4 defense before 2010. He had it forced on him because Coach Mike Shanahan was convinced that was the future of the NFL. But he didn’t give his defensive coordinator 3-4 personnel. Haslett still had to coach it.
His most important player the past three years, London Fletcher, now leaves games and practices in a walking boot, which Hall was also wearing last week. They are a cut-and-paste, Band-Aid group — “ Battlers,” Fletcher said, “we’re all battlers right now” — that somehow has managed to stay together and help this team win amid so many holes and yards given up.
The idea that Haslett ever should have been the primary scapegoat for the Redskins’ woes earlier this season was always misguided. He and that defense deserved blame, but not the amount of criticism they received. And irrespective of the yards and points still surrendered, they now deserve praise.
“I know the way he thinks about us,” Golston said of Haslett. “He believes we’re a very special group. He thinks we should shut down teams every week and can’t believe we’re given up the yards we do. But it speaks to his character and the character of that group that we keep finding a way to get those stops we need to.”
The NFL is all about making adjustments at this point in the season. Haslett has made them. His maligned and banged-up defense has made them.
The season goes on because of the defensive coordinator and his unit’s ability to get an offense off the field — not in spite of them.
For previous columns by Mike Wise, visit washingtonpost.com/wise.