Let's get the numbers out of the way. 30th overall, 28th scoring, dead last in sacks and total takeaways.
Cadillac Williams averages 3.7 YPC against the NFL. 4.5 against the Redskins. 61.9 YPG against the NFL. 122 against the Redskins.
Opposing QBs have a 103 QB Rating against the Washington Redskins. That's dead last as well. Rookie QB and 25th round draft pick (of the sixth damn round!) Bruce Gradkowski outdid us with a 104 QB Rating. Swell.
Redskins are giving up about 8 yards per attempt. That's dead last. While we're sticking with this dead last theme, let's throw in passing touchdowns (20) and interceptions (3).
Carlos Rogers is not a reliable starter. But the 34 yard touchdown he gave up to Joey Galloway wasn't entirely his fault. If you blitz 8 guys, there's probably not going to be anyone deep to protect you. Also if you blitz 8 guys you should get some serious pressure on the opposing QB; no dice for us.
Every level of this defense worries me. In our secondary only Sean Taylor (who runs on "alien technology") represents a future star. Troy Vincent is old and now injured. Even that wouldn't convince Gregg Williams to play Adam Archuleta, as if this situation wasn't already spiraling out of control. I thought the only way to salvage the deal was to keep him around for a few years. Looks like that won't be happening; adios 10 mil in cap space within the next two years. More bad news from WaPo Redskins beat writer Jason La Canfora:
We're one-and-a-half linebackers short of a solid unit. Warrick Holdman is not reliable, though he didn't look nearly as confused as Lemar Marshall this weekend. Your middle linebacker should have more than 4 (2 solo 2 assist) tackles if the opposing team runs the ball at you 42 times.
But back to Holdman; why isn't Rocky McIntosh playing yet? When you trade two draft picks to get a guy, including a 2nd rounder, best to find out what you've got. Mr. Williams, we're 10 games into the season and have lost 7 games. Warrick Holdman is not the answer so how about getting the rookie some snaps.
On the line is some good news, as rookies Kedric Golston and to a lesser degree Anthony Montgomery have played well enough to encourage hope from the tackle position. Demetrick Evans, backing up Phillip Daniels, leads the team in sacks (3-way tie). That said we're an aging line and it is showing. As mentioned above we are dead last in sacks, and by year's end Joe Salave'a, Cornelius Griffin, and Phillip Daniels will all be over 30 years old. Yikes.
Of 11 positions only two truly impress; Marcus Washington and Sean Taylor. We have immediate needs at cornerback and safety. Troy Vincent is not the future. Carlos Rogers might not be either. We might have a need at outside linebacker if Rocky McIntosh can't earn playing time. Our line is supposed to be talented by isn't playing that way at all; and they aren't getting any younger.
We need draft picks and lots of them. Positional battles at those key positions should motivate the current starters, as well as give Gregg Williams a better opportunity at finding guys who fit particular schemes (which was once thought to be his strength). Getting sacks is the most glaring need as I think all our woes stem from that, as sacks are good way to generate fumbles and interceptions and disrupt opposing QBs. In 2004 when we had that dominant defense we recorded 40 sacks (10th in the league). We're on track for less than 20.
Given the mishandling of Archuleta and the overpaying for Andre Carter, I don't think a free agency orgy will be a viable option come 2007. Instead we need to go for youth to solve our problems which is probably for the best. Perhaps it's about time we started developing our own stars (like Sean Taylor for instance) as opposed to overpaying for other people's boobs.
Readers, while I try and wrap my head around the dilemna that is this defense, what are your thoughts on fixing this team and returning the D to a top 10 unit? Does anyone still have faith in Gregg Williams' ability to head coach this team, given the precipitous decline in defense?
I've been reluctant to say so because I've always viewed it as the type of problem teams love to have. But are there too many cooks in this kitchen?