The Washington Redskins can not play pass defense. The Redskins are 3-5 and in last place in the NFC East. The main reason is that they can not stop teams defensively. The biggest culprit is their secondary.
Washington is going with a lineup that has DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson as their cornerbacks. Madieu Williams and Reed Doughty are the safeties. This group was put together in training camp with the hopes that they would be able to jell and become a solid unit. This has not been the case. They have contributed to Washington giving up a total of 227 points in eight games. Teams are averaging 28 points a game against the Redskins.
Washington’s defense was weakened early in the season when defensive ends Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker were lost due to injury. Like all good teams, the Redskins were counting on their pass rush to take pressure off of the secondary. Without Orakpo and Carriker this has not been the case. Washington has 14 sacks on the season. On Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers the Redskins never laid a glove on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. He torched them for 222 yards and three touchdowns.
Hall is supposed to be the leader of the group. He made the Pro Bowl in 2010 and once picked off four passes in a game against the Chicago Bears. Since coming from the Oakland Raiders, Hall has had a decent career with Washington, but nothing to write home about. On Sunday, he became so frustrated that he took things out on an official and was ejected from the game.
Wilson was with the Baltimore Ravens in 2010. The Redskins signed him as a free agent last season. Wilson has always been a steady player, but never great. With a defense like the Ravens, he was not asked to do too much, because of the top notch talent around him. With a team like the Redskins any corner would have a hard time and Wilson is no exception.
Williams was signed as a free agent to back up Brandon Meriweather. When Meriweather was injured Williams became the starter. He has never been a great man to man cover guy. What Williams likes to do is play aggressive near the line of scrimmage. He is a linebacker in a safeties body. Going forward, Williams is fine. Having to cover territory behind him is not what he likes to do. Thus, he gets beat over the top.
Doughty has been with Washington for seven years, mostly as a backup. Like Williams, Doughty is not a man to man cover guy. He is good at playing close to the line of scrimmage. In space Doughty is vulnerable. This is not good, because all safeties are asked to cover a lot of space.
If the Redskins expect things to turn around in their secondary this year it is not happening. The unit that they have is just not a very good one. They give everything that they have, but it is not enough. Couple this with the lack of a pass rush and Washington defenders will be chasing receivers for the rest of the season.
Washington’s secondary is doing its best. However, their best is just not very good.