FanPost

Hope?

I'm coming out from under the cloud of depression caused by retaining Haslett. Fact is, I'm starting to realize that while I'd never consider our defense to be halfway decent, it's also hard to blame the defense for losing so many games. Going back to 2010, I looked at every game to see whether the blame should mostly be on the defense or the offense.

2010: in 16 games, the defense held the opponent under 20 points 9 times. You'd think that keeping the other team from scoring 20 points would give you a win most of the time, but the Redskins only won 6 of those games (the only 6 games won all season). Even in the other 7 games, the defense wasn't entirely at fault. The Redskins should have beaten the Texans, but blew a 17 point lead thanks to a combination of a good offense figuring it out, and the defense being on the field far too often (the Redskins went 3 and out 3 times in the fourth quarter, and had a field goal blocked). The Rams game the next week was also not completely on the defense; the Rams got one touchdown when a blocked punt gave them the ball at the 3, and the defense also did well to hold them to field goals on multiple possessions. In the second game against the Cowboys, turnovers and bad special teams gave the Cowboys the ball in Redskins' territory three times, resulting in 17 points. While this defense wasn't good, with a passable offense the Redskins go 9-7 at worst or 11-5 at best.

2011: the 2011 defense was better statistically, finishing 13th in total defense. But it still finished 21st in points allowed, the same as in 2010. This time, the points were more spread out; in only 6 games did the defense hold the opposition under 20 points. The Redskins went 4-2 in those games. But the offense had multiple chances to win the first Eagles game, and failed. The offense failed to score at all against Buffalo, and never held the ball longer than 4:18, in a game in which the defense held the Bills to 23 points. The Dolphins game and the second Cowboys game were similar stories. With a passable offense, the Redskins go at least 6-10, possibly 8-8 or 9-7.

2012: the defense was worse in 2012 than in either year before, particularly at the beginning of the year. At the end of the year they were 22nd in scoring defense, 28th in total defense. Losing several starters early probably was a part of that, but there is still no excuse. They held opponents under 20 points only 3 times, all wins. Still, there were two games (Steelers and Panthers) that a bit more help from the offense could have turned into a win.

2013: a train wreck I'm not going to revisit, because we all know it was a cluster****

In conclusion, I'm not going to decide that because Haslett is sticking around, there is no hope. I'm more concerned with what seems to be the reason he stuck around (and why Gruden was hired). Still, if the offense is passable and he gets a few pieces, I think he can design a defense that can keep you in games. The only question is whether Gruden can design an offense that can win them.

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