The former personnel man said he doesn’t consider defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and secondary coach Raheem Morris, the former Buccaneers head coach, primarily responsible.
“You have a little bit of the mad scientist element, where you can devise a game plan to shut down the best offense in the league but you leave yourself open to all these big plays,” he said. “There is a bit of that. But I’m sure they’d tell you they have to play that way because of the talent they have.”
The Post Sports Live crew discusses the poor secondary coverage on the game-winning 77-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning to Victor Cruz in the Redskins’ loss to the Giants.
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Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan defended his assistants Monday. When asked during his news conference whether the pass defense struggles are attributable in part to an adjustment period with Morris, Shanahan said no.
“You take a look at that one play for a 77-yard big play, everybody is sick about it,” Shanahan said Monday. “All of a sudden, if we play it like we normally play it, we play a pretty good game. We got a couple turnovers. We get a sack. We hit Eli a number of times during the game where he hasn’t normally been hit that many times. Then all of a sudden when you do give up that big play, it takes all of the good things that we did on defense. Instead of having 260 yards passing, you’ve got 340. You’ve got the play of the game. It negates all the good things.”
Shanahan declined to assess blame or discuss the specifics of what happened on the Cruz touchdown. He said the Redskins are “pretty tough on ourselves” and will work to improve what needs to be fixed. He mentioned a list of losses on defense that also includes the season-ending injuries to outside linebacker Brian Orakpo and defensive end Adam Carriker,
two of their better pass rushers.
“Different guys are playing different positions,” Shanahan said. “And it doesn’t happen just like that. Sometimes there is a break in a coverage or a guy not aligned properly or maybe the stats aren’t quite the same as they were a year ago. But we’re going to keep on working to try to fill some of those holes. And hopefully guys that fill those voids can step up and play at a high level.”
The Redskins do have 10 interceptions, tied for third in the league, and have returned three of them for touchdowns. But without Orakpo and Carriker, they have a relatively modest 13 sacks, which ties them for 18th in the league. Cofield said the defensive front must do its part against the pass.
“We’ve got to get there faster,” Cofield said. “We had some hits. I wouldn’t say that Eli enjoyed himself today. I don’t think he felt like he had all day. But we didn’t get there soon enough. We’ve got to get some sacks, force some fumbles, whatever it takes to limit these passing yards.”
Notes: The Redskins re-signed running back Keiland Williams and cut seldom-used backup RB Ryan Grant. The team also signed cornerback Domonique Johnson to the practice squad and waived wide receiver Emmanuel Arceneaux.