Redskins Ingredients for Improvement after Week 1 loss to Eagles
By Ian Cummings
No. 3 – Have more situational awareness on defense
Just as coaching and play calling catalyzed the Redskins offensive collapse on Sunday, the defense lost a lot of ground when Greg Manusky started playing it too safe in the second half.
It was a common theme last season for Manusky to use his players in ways where they weren’t as comfortable, or in ways that minimized their chances of success. There were times when he assigned 3-4 outside linebackers to slot receivers and tight ends, and it was a common occurrence for him to line defensive backs up in soft coverage, when the offense only needed a short gain to keep the chains moving.
We saw some of that lack of play calling common sense on Sunday. Manusky again frequently lined his defensive backs up off the line of scrimmage, allowing immediate separation for Eagles receivers. He also used nickel alignments for much of the second half once Jonathan Allen was gone, limiting the team’s ability to fill space at the line and stop runs.
It was these little inconsistencies that caused the threat of an Eagles comeback to balloon until it was no longer a threat, but instead reality. The Redskins have the talent to field a very good defense, and flashes of that were noticeable on Sunday. But Manusky’s lack of situational awareness once again limited the unit’s potential, and it’s a trend that doesn’t bode well for future success.