…Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said the Redskins needed to play better technique against the wildcat formation against Cincinnati. The biggest issue, which isn’t a surprise given that corner DeAngelo Hall said it the other day, is that Hall needed to be on receiver A.J. Green and safety DeJon Gomes is supposed to take the quarterback split wide to the right. Instead Gomes stayed on Green and waves Hall back to Andy Dalton. A 73-yard touchdown followed.
“I take the blame for that one because we didn’t practice it all week and London [Fletcher] checked to it when they came out of [the huddle],” Haslett said. “We just got misaligned.”
…Haslett said they knew that rookie receiver Mohamed Sanu could throw the ball out of the wildcat – he did it 18 times at Rutgers. However, safety Madieu Williams said Monday that the first he learned of Sanu’s passing ability came when he spoke to him after the game. Another player said he didn’t know either.
“We just didn’t know he could throw 50 yards on a rope,” Haslett said. “We knew the background. We just didn’t know he could launch one right on the money. Even if he takes a shot and DeAngelo is on [Green] and you’re off him 10 yards, you’re fine.”
…Haslett on big plays being allowed: “We have to play better technique. It would be good to get guys healthy and get some guys back. But the big thing is to play with technique….We covered our butts off against maybe the best offense [New Orleans] that’s ever played in the National Football League. I know they can do it. We just have to keep working.”
He pointed to the touchdown allowed by Richard Crawford as one of the technique issues. Haslett said the corners were instructed that if they’re in cover-2 – they were only in it twice all day – and Andrew Hawkins is in the slot, then he needed to stay on his “high shoulder.” In other words, you can’t stay underneath him as Crawford did.
One NFL source said the Bengals coaches had to be salivating when they saw that look, with the safeties splitting out wide to either side of the field and leaving the middle open. It’s an automatic adjustment for the slot receiver to break down the middle.
…Defensive end Stephen Bowen is off to terrific start. “Stephen’s playing about as good as I’ve ever seen that position played. He’s impressive. He’s had three really good games. I hope that continues the rest of the year.”
…Brandon Meriweather’s return, whenever that may be, should help at safety. Gomes would return to a reserve role. Meriweather was unwanted at the end by his previous two teams, but the Redskins like what he has to offer.
“He’s an ex-corner coming out of college and he has football intelligence,” Haslett said. “He can take something from the classroom to the field. He brings energy to the back end. We’ve missed him.”
…Haslett on the cover zero: “We had a free run to the quarterback. He had a free hit. You run a five-yard speed out on second-and-20, you tackle a guy and it’s third and 14. Guys have to feel comfortable knowing the ball is coming out that you’re properly executed up front, which we have been because we’ve worked hard at it. We knew we could get someone to the quarterback. The back end has to do their part of it.”
…Receiver Leonard Hankerson didn’t have many opportunities to show what sort of blocker he was a year ago, receiving legitimate time in only two games. But he says his blocking success is nothing new. It dates to his days at the University of Miami.
“I’ve always been a big fan of blocking,” he said. “At Miami that’s part of the game. You’ve got to go in and do a good job blocking and get the ball. That’s what the coaches love and you have to do it… It’s all about wanting to do it. That’s pretty much it. The coaches teach us technique but you have to want to do it.”
Hankerson isn’t sure how much time he’ll receive when Pierre Garcon returns. Hankerson has played the X receiver spot the past two games; he competed at the Z receiver spot this summer behind Joshua Morgan. But he’s now shown he can play both spots.
“That’s up to the coaches,” he said. “I’m out there doing my job and doing it well. I keep performing and things will work their way out.”
…Receiver Brandon Banks wants to stay involved in the pistol formation. Against the Bengals he carried the ball three times for 29 yards.
“We probably can do it six or seven times throughout the game,” he said.
Not every pitch will go to him, however. But when it does Banks knows he’s a threat.
“Speed kills,” he said.
Another benefit of that look: The Bengals went from a two-deep safety look to a single high safety, opening the middle for more routes.
“It adds a dimension the defense has to study for,” Banks said.
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