Billy Davis had his crew ready to play Monday night as the defense came out and stifled the Washington Redskins for the first half. Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris both looked sloppy, with Morris fumbling twice and Griffin adding his own turnovers to the mix. Davis mixed up blitzes and had people in the backfield. He was able to generate pressure and make an impact.
Until the second half.
Chip Kelly said in the post-game press conference that they took their foot off the gas, and he was correct. Davis, after gaining a sizable lead, backed into zone coverage. This is a trend that never works well, even with the best defenses. Griffin settled into a rhythm and picked apart the secondary. Jordan Poyer was victimized more than once, and Griffin stormed close enough to make the game within an onside kick possession.
Davis needs to heed Kelly’s advice. Forget the prevent defense and man up. He must keep the blitzes coming and not back away with almost ten minutes left in the fourth quarter. Hopefully he learned from this game, one that should not have been this close, and can figure out how to finish. This was an issue all last season. Davis needs to bring a finishing mentality to his unit and, if he can, they will find continued success.
The Philadelphia Eagles will face the San Diego Chargers next week and should not have as strong a test as they did against the Redskins. Davis must use each game as a learning opportunity and build on the successes he did find. If he can keep the pressure and keep his guys ready to play, it will be a long season for opposing offenses.