Thursday, September 12, 2013
Redskins notes: Haslett gets defensive
By John Keim
ASHBURN, Va. -- Jim Haslett had problems with some aspects of his defense Monday. E.J. Biggers wasn’t one of them.
The Washington Redskins played Biggers, a cornerback, at strong safety in the 33-27 loss to Philadelphia. The combination of Biggers’ speed and the Eagles' dangerous open-field ability forced the Redskins into this move, especially when Brandon Meriweather’s availability was in question.
It’s unlikely that Biggers will play a lot of strong safety in other games, unless they face other teams that stress a defense like Philadelphia did. But the coaches have often discussed their corners’ versatility.
“He actually played well,” Haslett, the Redskins' defensive coordinator, said of Biggers. “E.J. had nothing to do with what happened in the first quarter.”
Haslett was defensive when talking about Biggers. One reporter asked if the switch was an unusual move.
“For you, maybe,” Haslett replied. “If you’re a football player, probably not.”
Biggers said he did not practice at strong safety for long.
“Just last week,” Biggers said Wednesday. “But me playing a nickel [cornerback] position, knowing a nickel position, you know where the safety’s gonna line up, what the safety’s responsibility is most of the time. It was a change. But it was nothing that I wasn’t ready for and I wasn’t prepared for.”
Haslett said, “He was there a lot longer than that. So he actually worked and he actually did a nice job.”
In other news:
Haslett wasn't too happy with another question in which he was asked if he would assess the defense differently against Green Bay because he'd be able to play more of the defense he envisioned. In other words, they were forced into their nickel package all game and could not tap into all their packages. "No," Haslett said. "You're not going to second-guess us. We played the same defense in the second half that we played in the first, but we played it much better." Thing is, nobody was second-guessing their strategy. The Redskins stopped the Eagles in the second half. And three of their scoring drives started in Redskins territory. The defense gave up big yards early, but not late -- and it helps when their own offense actually moves the ball and holds onto it. Still, Haslett was not in a good mood during his press conference. It happens.
Everyone was full-go in practice, including corner David Amerson, who was limited Wednesday by a sore back. It's probably the healthiest Washington has been since training camp started on July 25.
Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said everyone on offense looked rusty, not just quarterback Robert Griffin III. As for Griffin's footwork during the game, Shanahan said, "It was up and down. He had some plays that were good and he had some plays that were bad. That was the same last year. It's the same for any quarterback. I don't think I've ever gone through a game where a quarterback has perfect footwork. Overall he was all right and can always get better from it."