I mean, using just the crude measure of points-per-game, the defense ranks seventh in the NFL, yielding 19.8 per game. The six teams ahead of them — San Francisco, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Houston, Cincinnati and Detroit — each have at least five wins.
On the other hand, Washington’s offense ranks 27th in the NFL in scoring, with 15.9 points per game. The five teams behind them — Seattle, Cleveland, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Jacksonville — have a combined eight wins. Something here isn’t matching up.
And it’s been even worse recently. The offense has put up 31 points in John Beck’s three starts. That’s the worst three-game stretch for a Redskins offense since a three-game losing streak late in Jim Zorn’s first year, and it’d be worse than that if not for Sunday’s garbage-time touchdown.
So when DeAngelo Hall called in to 106.7 The Fan’s Kevin and Rock Show Sunday night — to discuss criticism of his own performance — he was inevitably asked what the defense thinks of the offense and the switch to Beck. His answer was long, but interesting.
“Yeah, it’s kind of frustrating,” Hall said. “I find myself out there trying to be the peacemaker, because I been through a situation like this before when Mike [Vick] got thrown in jail in Atlanta, and we had Redman, and Leftwich, to Joey Harrington. Hell, we got Redman from home, selling insurance.
“So I mean, it’s tough,” Hall continued. “It’s definitely tough. But at the end of the day, there’s nothing we can do to control that. I can’t play quarterback, or I’d put my [name] on the ballot, but that’s not what I do. So all we can do defensively is try to limit as many points, try to limit as many plays, try to make as many plays defensively as we can, because we know they need all the help they can get.
“It’s almost like your little brother. Obviously you can’t go beat up an 8-year old. If you’re 15 years old, all you can do is keep training your little brother — hey, this is what we need to do, dude will come at you, throw your hands up, duck and weave, bob and weave, throw this punch, keep attacking em — but it ain’t much more we can do. We can’t, defensively, go out there and play offense.
“It is frustrating, but at the same time, like I was telling our guys, it doesn’t matter what they do. The more plays we’re on the field, is it tiring? Absolutely. Is it frustrating? Absolutely. But at the end of the day, if I’ve got 80 opportunities to make a play, hopefully I can make a play. I haven’t made many, but we’ve had enough plays out there to where we should be able to make plays. It’s not like we’re playing 50 plays. We’re playing enough plays where we have to be able to go out there and make stops.
“That’s kind of the way I look at it. They’re 3-and-out, is it frustrating? Yeah. Do we want them to pick up first downs and score? Absolutely. But at the end of the day, if that’s not happening, all I can do is try to be positive and try to say hey guys, let’s go, let’s go make a play. They can’t make a play, let’s go make a play for them. That’s just trying to be a leader and trying to stay positive. Everybody could bash dang near everything going on. It’s easy to do that. It’s harder to try to stay positive and keep guys upbeat.”
And I don’t know what else he could really say. In four games since the bye week, the Redskins have scored 12 total first-half points. Which is why it seemed weird when Mike Shanahan recently suggested he would spend more time preparing his defense.
“I don’t know, man; this is an offensive league in general, from the ways referees call [pass interference penalties] and things like that, to unnecessary hits, to the rule changes,” Hall said. “They want to see points scored. So that comment, saying he was gonna come in and help us out — we appreciate the help. I don’t think we need it that much.”