After playing lights out during Robert Griffin III‘s voltaic freshman season and propelling the club to their first playoff birth in a long time, the Washington Redskins‘ secondary self-destructed in 2013.
It’s pass prevention detachment splintered, allowing an alarming 29 touchdown passes, 3,896 net yards and conceding 244 yards of aviation traffic per game. The unit also finished the season athletically shot and mentally impaired as it ranked 20th in league play, just for everyone’s information. But who’s counting, right?
The Redskins’ new skipper Jay Gruden probably should have been, but all presiding signs would suggest that the freshman head coach doesn’t care about the state of the team’s maladroit and aging outfield. Or does he? All factoring cards Gruden has played during his first offseason strategics as head coach would suggest otherwise.
I mean, come on. He retained defensive coordinator Jim Haslett. A move that could very easily cripple Washington’s defensive efforts as it game plans for 2014. The Redskins then turned and resigned slumping and defective defensive backs DeAngelo Hall and Brandon Meriweather. And finally — I’ve saved the best for last — Washington secured the professional services of defensive backs coach Raheem Morris. And, no, none of the previously mentioned defensive liabilities come with a warranty.
You might ask yourself, as did I, what caliber of internal madness would provoke Gruden and Redskins GM Bruce Allen to pull the trigger, committing such an irresponsible, misguided case of personnel mismanagement? Especially considering the quarry of seasoned defensive prospects and reputable coaches who were available during free agency.
It’s a fair question. But temper your cholesterol, if you would, and I shall enlighten all parties present the unforeseen value concerning the cast of questionable football operations that occurred at Redskins Park during the offseason. The retention of Morris could be a steal for the Redskins’ defensive strategics as the team vies to make their outfield as impenetrable as the Federal Reserve Bank.
Building a defensive empire in the NFL isn’t an overnight transaction. But having Morris as the secondary’s presiding coordinator could be an indispensable domino effect. Morris is entering his third season with the Redskins as the outfield coach. Continuity is essential.
In 2012, Morris’ secondary played a principal part in helping the defense finish fourth in the NFC and tied for fifth in the NFL with 31 takeaways. The Redskins’ defense scored four touchdowns for the first time since 1999. That included two that came from the secondary. Morris coordinated a defensive backfield that tied a league-high in passes defended with 94 and ranked fifth in the NFC in its interception rate (3.3 percent).
Don’t be too impulsive to throw Morris in front of the firing squad on the grounds of the secondary’s substandard performance in 2013. If memory serves, the man didn’t exactly have much to work with. He now has a cast of reckoning, young (healthy) and hungry defensive backs to groom. And in time, Morris will in all likeliness deliver.