By Tarik El-Bashir
The Redskins’ biggest problem against the Bengals, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said Thursday, was the same one that cost them a week earlier against the Bengals: Big plays.
The one difference last Sunday, though, was that all of the big plays were the result of poor execution by the secondary. Haslett also mentioned injuries – safety Brandon Meriweather has yet to suit up because of a knee injury and cornerback Cedric Griffin left the game in the first quarter – and technique as issues, as well.
“We have to play better technique, No. 1,” Haslett said. “It would be good to get guys healthy, get some guys back. But like I mentioned last week, and it holds true again this week, we gave up the three big plays against Cincinnati.”
Tampa Bay, the Redskins’ opponent on Sunday, ranks 24th in points per game (20), and quarterback Josh Freeman has completed only 51.3-percent of his passes. But Freeman and the run-oriented Buccaneers’ offense has shown the ability to make big plays in the passing game, completing two plays of 40-plus yards and nine of 20 yards or more in the season’s first three games.
On Thursday, though, Haslett still was explaining what went wrong against the Bengals.
The first miscue came on Cincinnati’s first play from scrimmage. The Bengals lined in the wildcat formation and the Redskins’ did not adjust properly.
“We didn’t get lined up right,” Haslett said before adding that the team also was not prepared for wide receiver Mohamed Sanu to uncork a perfectly placed deep pass.
“We actually knew the receiver could throw,” Haslett added. “We just didn’t know he could throw 50 yards on a rope.”
On 48-yard touchdown pass that put the Bengals ahead 14-7, cornerback Josh Wilson simply misplayed Armon Binns. Wilson did not have any safety help on the play and, therefore, no room for error.
And on the decisive touchdown – a 59-yard pass from Andy Dalton to Andrew Hawkins – rookie Jordan Crawford simply got beat. Crawford, who was playing for the injured Griffin, bit on a double move by Hawkins.
So, to review, the Bengals' first big play was poor preparation. The second was poor technique and the third was poor execution exacerbated by an injury that put a young player in a difficult spot.
“They’ll get better,” Haslett said. “We covered our butts off [against New Orleans] in the first game against maybe the best offense that played in the National Football League. So I know they can do it.”