ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said he’s seen one thing since moving to a booth during games.
“Ugly football,” he said.
Nobody would disagree, not after his unit has allowed a combined 1,023 yards during the first two games combined. The Redskins have allowed 68 points, all of which have been scored in the first three quarters.
“I’m going to put that on myself,” he said.
One big culprit: missed tackles. Once again, Haslett accepted the blame.
“I’m going to put that on us coaching because obviously we haven’t done a good job of stressing the issue,” he said. “The first two games that’s been an issue. I’ll wear that because I’ve got to put them through more situations where they are tackling an individual and make sure they are better at it.”
Haslett said they worked more on tackling in training camp after rookie safety Bacarri Rambo missed two open-field tackles in the preseason opener at Tennessee.
“I thought we made great strides,” Haslett said. “Bacarri had his bad [game] and then we actually tackled well the next games. Then the first two games of the season that’s been an issue with us.”
Because of the missed tackles, the Redskins have allowed a league-high 208 yards after contact. Philadelphia placed them in bad spots, getting speed players in the open field. The Redskins did not have enough players around the ball to help if one guy missed. Sunday was just a bad day.
“We’re not going to make excuses and blame it on you can’t tackle,” Redskins linebacker London Fletcher said. “There are teams that are great tackling teams in the NFL. It’s something you have to work on and train your body and be in good position.”
Haslett said they’ll spend more time working on it in practice. The Redskins do not do live tackling during practices, in training camp and especially not during the season. However, they will do more hitting on occasion -- last year before the Ravens game, for example, they did just that.
“You can tackle without pads on,” Haslett said. “You can work on wrap tackling. There [are] dummies out there, you can do different things. Obviously other teams aren’t having this issue so whatever they are doing it’s got to creep into what we’re trying to do. But we’ll fix that problem.”
The missed tackles hurts their attempt to defend the run. Against Green Bay, the Redskins routinely put themselves in bad spots with the missed tackles -- in some cases, for example, turning a potential second-and-12 into second-and-3. They allow 5.5 yards per carry. That as much as the missed tackles has been the point of emphasis in practice.
“If we can stop the run and make a team one-dimensional, that’s where you get your turnovers,” Haslett said. “When you get down and guys are trying to make plays and somebody wants to make a play so he jumps around a block, trying to make a play. But he gets out of his gap and then the linebacker fits wrong and they get a 10- or 15-yard run and that’s what happened last week.”
The Redskins defense started slow last season. Through nine games, they allowed 27.6 points per game and 397.9 yards. In the last seven games they allowed 20 points per game and 351.7 yards.
“I feel good about these guys,” Haslett said. “For what they did last year, the way we came back last year, and then what we did in the preseason, I know what this team can do. We just have to put everything together and get our swagger back.”