One play a microcosm of Redskins' problems

One play a microcosm of Redskins' problems
November 18, 2013, 1:45 pm
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Orakpo: "We've got each others back"

There have been a lot of low moments during the Washington Redskins’ disappointing 3-7 season. It is safe to say that one of the worst, at least as far as the Redskins’ defense is concerned, was Brent Celek’s 42-yard gain on a simple screen pass. It said a lot about what’s wrong with the Washington defense.

On first and 10 at the Washington 43, Nick Foles make a quick pump fake towards Bryce Brown to his right and then looked back to Celek on his left. Celek, along with the offensive line, were pass blocking and then released. Here was the first issue in that none of the four Redskins, including Brian Orakpo, the defender Celek was blocking. The tight end caught the ball about six yards behind the line of scrimmage with four Philly offensive linemen in front of him.

They took care of the defenders in front of Celek, who simply ran in a straight line. He didn’t make any jaw-dropping moves but he still appeared to be better than any of the Redskins on the field. Even though he’s not especially fast even for a tight end he seemed to simply outrun the rest of the Redskins defense. Nobody got an angle on him, nobody laid a hand on him as he chugged towards to goal line. Reed Doughty lunged near the 20 but never had a chance. Finally Brandon Meriweather was able to wrangle him down (as a replay review determined) just short of the goal line.

[Related: McCoy’s impact on Redskins game greater than his stats]

The tackle mattered only to fantasy players as LeSean McCoy carried the ball into the end zone on the next play.

This play was in part a result of the Redskins’ pass rushers not thinking, ‘hey, he just let me get by him too easily, I’d better look out for the screen’. They just all continued to dash madly towards Foles, reacting and not thinking. The other part was that Celek looked like a better athlete than any defender on the field. He didn’t get invited to the combine after his career at Cincinnati but he did run 4.79 in the 40 at his pro day. That’s decent but at age 28 he’s probably lost a few steps and he certainly shouldn’t be able to run through a Redskins secondary unless it is caught completely flat-footed.

Which, of course, appeared to be the problem. This is a defense that gets fooled too often and either isn’t athletic enough or isn’t fundamentally sound enough to make up for it.