I’m going to catch a lot of flack for this, but it needs to be said: London Fletcher should have been on the sidelines Sunday resting his body — either by choice or the decision of his coaches.
I’ll be the first one to respect Fletcher and acknowledge his perseverance through injuries. But when it hurts the team, it’s counter-productive. Although his heart is in the right place it was a bad move for him to play. I think there were more able bodies ready to go that should have been on the field.
Sure, Fletcher’s leadership would have been missed, but I think that’s a chance the Redskins should have taken. I believe the team would have been better off with guys that could at least have had a chance of making the kind of routine tackles a middle linebacker has to make.
Fletcher missed a lot of them on Sunday.
Beyond that, here are my other takeaways from the Steelers game:
As I studied the film of the game, what jumped out at me was the Skins’ inability to match the level of intensity and execution of the Steelers.
The Skins were evenly matched against the Steelers. Both teams had to overcome key injuries; the Steelers’ top two running backs were sidelined and on defense Troy Polamalu was out and Ryan Clark went out.
This was a very vulnerable team, in other words, and it showed at times. What didn’t show was the Skins’ ability to capitalize. In fact, where the Steelers were lacking in personnel, they made up for by playing with intensity.
On offense, the Skins’ one major issue was dropped balls. Dropped balls stalled so many promising drives all game long. Sure the weather played a factor, but weren’t the Steelers playing in the same weather conditions? They seemed to catch the balls thrown to them. It was surprising that the Redskins weren’t able to pull things together enough to make a run in the game, but chalk it up as a learning experience.
On defense it’s plain and simple as it has been all season long: no pass rush, poor coverage and poor tackling.
I could copy and paste my takeaways from previous games and it would fit perfectly. No need to bore you with the obvious but I did find myself questioning some coaching decisions.
First, I wondered how many fundamental drills take place during a week’s practice? The tackling seems to be getting progressively worse. Same goes for pass coverage. This unit seems to be unable to cover, which leads me to the pass rush. I mean the non-existent pass rush. Ben Roethlisberger is a franchise QB. I get it. But any QB can look the part with all day to throw.
And then, as I said, there’s the decision to play London Fletcher.
If this defense is going to have a chance to improve, some hard decisions on personnel may have to take place soon. After all, it can’t get any worse than it already is.
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