No excuses for Redskins' defense

No excuses for Redskins' defense
November 1, 2011, 3:14 pm
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Really, the Redskins defense has no excuses for whats happened the last three weeks.

Theyre healthy the Ideal 11 started against Buffalo.

Theyre experienced only Ryan Kerrigan has less than three years in the NFL.

And theyre accomplished good resumes all around.

So what the heck has happened to them against Philadelphia, Carolina and Buffalo? Points against totals of 20, 33 and 23 points. Yards against totals of 422, 407 and 390. And three losses.

As the Redskins began preparing for Sundays game against San Francisco, there are myriad theories.

The cop-out excuse is they faced good offenses. The Eagles, Panthers and Bills rank 1-5-10, respectively in yards per game. But theres more.

Missed assignments (see London Fletcher blowing a gasket in the second half). Missed tackles (see Rocky McIntosh whiffing on Fred Jackson, setting up a field goal to end the first half). Penalties (see Josh Wilsons 34-yard pass interference flag to set up a score).

Definitely not what you expect, cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. As a defensive unit, especially with the guys in this locker room, you feel you can hold teams to field goals when put in stressful situations and then make stops.

Other teams have been game-planning us pretty good. We havent been going against slouches weve played against good offensive coordinators and teams that understand where were not weak but more vulnerable and thats where they attack.

Since returning from their bye week, the Redskins have sunk from sixth (296.5 yards per game) to 14th (343.6) in yards allowed. The offense has the custom-built excuse for their futility, having lost starters for the year or significant weeks. Not so for the defense.

Things dont get any easier Sunday. The 49ers (6-1), which improbably will have the same quarterback Alex Smith as when they visited six years ago for a 52-17 beat-down, are sixth in rushing.

Knowing the offense as their currently constructed will be challenged to reach 20 points, the Redskins defense has to raise their game to save the season.

The 49ers are going to come in here looking to capitalize, nose tackle Barry Cofield said. Theyre going to love what they see on film and theyre going to be looking to pound us.

Contact OHalloran at rohalloran@comcastsportsnet.com