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Monday, November 7, 2011
Redskins' O frustrates Redskins' D

By Dan Graziano

Over the past few weeks, as the Washington Redskins have lost a significant number of offensive players to injury, I've mentioned a few times that I think the Washington defense is being asked to do too much. Well, you know who else is noticing that? The players on the Washington defense.

John Beck
John Beck and the Washington offense continued to struggle on Sunday.
Per Dan Steinberg, Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall addressed this issue in a radio interview Sunday night. And while Hall didn't say anything nasty or controversial, his comments about the offense indicate that everyone in the locker room is well aware of what the Redskins' problems are:
"It's almost like your little brother. Obviously you can't go beat up an 8-year old. If you're 15 years old, all you can do is keep training your little brother — hey, this is what we need to do, dude will come at you, throw your hands up, duck and weave, bob and weave, throw this punch, keep attacking em — but it ain't much more we can do. We can't, defensively, go out there and play offense.

"They're three-and-out, is it frustrating? Yeah. Do we want them to pick up first downs and score? Absolutely. But at the end of the day, if that's not happening, all I can do is try to be positive and try to say hey guys, let’s go, let's go make a play. They can't make a play, let's go make a play for them. That's just trying to be a leader and trying to stay positive. Everybody could bash dang near everything going on. It's easy to do that. It's harder to try to stay positive and keep guys upbeat."

I think Hall may have set a record for the least inflammatory, most matter-of-fact way in which a defensive player has ever ripped his entire offense. I mean, the facts of the case are that he equated the whole offense to an 8-year-old kid brother and said the words, "They can't make a play." But he did so in a way that acknowledges the issue simply as something the team is going through and dealing with together. He was asked, first of all, which is always important to remember when quoting somebody from an interview like this, and he didn't insult his interrogators by dodging the question or pretending something was true that was not. Anybody who watches a Redskins game these days can see that they have nothing on offense, and what good would it do to claim otherwise?

One of the things I have felt the Redskins had going for them since before the season began was the veteran element in their locker room. Led by London Fletcher, this is a team loaded with guys who will tell it like it is, in public and behind closed doors. There might be other teams on which a defensive player in this same situation would feed you a line -- tell you all about how hard John Beck is trying and how he just needs to have some breaks go his way. But that's not true. Right now, with Santana Moss and Tim Hightower and Chris Cooley and Kory Lichtensteiger all out the Redskins are outmanned on offense. They weren't a great offensive team to begin with, and the injuries have reduced them to one of the worst offenses in the league. That's frustrating for players on both sides of the ball, including those who play on a defense that's still just allowing a very respectable 19.8 points per game, and it doesn't do any good to sugarcoat it.

There are two ways the rest of this year could go for Beck and the current Redskins offense. The first is that they could get better. That the work they do in practice every week starts to pay off, rookies like Roy Helu and Leonard Hankerson start blossoming, the offensive line begins to jell and they start scoring some points again. The second, more likely way it can go is that they play out this season with what they have and spend the next offseason finding their quarterback of the future and the pieces they need to put around him to make him successful. But either way, they have eight games left. They surely plan to play them all and try to win each one, and so their goal is to get better in the short term. The first thing you have to do in order to improve is understand what you're doing wrong. So no matter what else is going on around the Redskins right now, Hall's comments indicate that at least they're not kidding themselves.

The question is whether there's anything they can do about it.