What a humiliating loss. It isn't just because the Redskins were defeated at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. It had more to do with the soundness of the beat down. There was plenty of blame to go around. You can easily look to the Washington receiving crop that dropped an amazing double digit number of passes. It was pathetic. However, the defensive effort was poor. The Redskins drop to 3-5 and search for answers that have yet to be answered.
In a loss like this, for the first time this season, we refuse to award any Thumbs Up. No one deserved it. But, after that performance, there are four things that were clear from this game. Here they are . . .
1. Defensive Coaching: Sure the Washington Redskins are battered. Many teams are. Good coaches find players to compensate or at least tweak the system to find a happy medium. Pittsburgh's offense scored on each of the first four possessions. The defense really had no response. Were they playing it safe after being stung last week by the late TD pass to Victor Cruz that sent the Giants over the Redskins? Otherwise, then we just have to assume the personnel on the defense just plain stinks. Who do you blame? Mike Shanahan is in overall charge. He is the decision maker along with GM Bruce Allen. Do you blame Jim Haslett for not having a stronger voice for better talent? Either way, Jim Haslett has no answers. The Redskins have been torched by opposing pass offenses all year. It is hard to fathom that a defense can falter from 11th ranked last year to the pathetic state of the defense this season. The Redskins have now allowed 2,514 passing yards through 8 games. Folks, that is the second most in NFL history. It is an ongoing problem and Haslett has no answers. Perhaps it is time for a change at defensive coordinator. Time to move on. The deeper question for the offseason is whether Mike Shanahan deserves to return. Can you say the Redskins mental and physical mistakes are improving? I think not. The Redskins are slipping further and further into the NFC East cellar that has become all too common for this football franchise. That is on Mike Shanahan.
2. Special Teams: You will get a thumbs down here anytime you allow a blocked extra point. There are no excuses for it. The problem in Washington is that these types of miscues have become all too common on special teams. When problem arise in blocking on special teams, it is the job of the special team a coach to fix it. Danny Smith hasn't. These type of miscues wreak of incompetence. Luckily for the Redskins, there was a block in the back on Niles Paul or the Danny Smith led special teams would have allowed a punt return for a touchdown. The once solid special teams unit continues a downward spiral. That is on Danny Smith. Perhaps Smith has been too comfy in Washington for too long.
3. Wide Receivers: Redskins receivers dropped so many passes that by late in third quarter, it as becoming nothing more than comical. When a wide receiver like Pierre Garcon goes down to injury, it provides an outlet for another receiver to step up and make a name. That is not happening in Washington. You have to feel bad for Robert Griffin III. He did not deserve the performance his receivers gave him today. Yes, Garcon is hurt. Yes, Fred Davis is too. But folks, that had nothing to do with what you witnessed today. Robert Griffin III delivered most of the 10 dropped passes right where the ball should have been. The receivers just failed to make the plays. My problem is --- these guys are professional football players. They are paid to make at the least the easy grabs. That is what RGIII provided. When you suffer significant injuries at receivers, offense can sputter with backup receivers failing to get open. That was not the case today. RGIII delivered the catchable passes. Additionally, how long will the Redskins continue to throw any trust to Leonard Hankerson? For every terrific catch he makes, you get three dead on drops. Today, his easy drop cost the Redskins a touchdown. I just don't see what others see in Hankerson. The receiving unit should feel ashamed of their performance today and apologize to their teammates. It was an awful effort.
4. CB DeAngelo Hall: How lame. Getting ejected for taking the helmet off and yelling at the referees is a sure sign of arrogance and stupidity. Hall acts like he is an elite corner, when in reality, he plain stinks. He has steadily regressed into nothing more than a defensive liability. His ejection is nothing less than a smack of embarrassment on the whole team. If I were Mike Shanahan, I would be releasing Hall right on the way home. Play Richard Crawford instead. Not like you will get any worse play than what Hall is providing. I am so over DHall in DC.