The question has been asked time and time again. What is wrong with the Redskins defense? There doesn't seem to be any simple answers. Aside from a few personnel changes, the defensive players and system remain the same as last year's dominate defense. So what the hell is going on here?
Obviously injuries haven't helped. Key players like Shawn Springs and Cornelius Griffin have missed games which has hurt the performance
of the defense. But in football, injuries happen and you can't blame a complete
collapse on a few players missing a couple of games.
Gregg Williams is a self-admitted hard-ass. He seems to take pleasure in having rookie players get burnt in exhibition games. That approach works well in the short term, especially when turning around a struggling unit; but it can also prove to be disastrous in the long-term. After a while players learn to tune out the constant barrage of insults and the threats on a player's job just don't work anymore.
In this Washington Post article from the preseason, Williams is quoted as saying Reed Doughty 'looked stupid' after getting burned by a trick play. He tells some rookie that his play 'belongs in the World League' and complains about Chris Clemons' injury troubles. That kind of complaining might work for a while, but it gets old pretty quickly. It's especially ineffective when you are coaching a team with a bunch of guys who have huge contracts. You can threaten to cut Adam Archuleta fifteen times a day, but he knows you can't release him due to the salary cap.
I remember listening to Buffalo sports radio just after the Redskins originally signed Williams. They absolutely hated the guy (the only person they hated more than Williams was Drew Bledsoe). At the time I thought it was just sour grapes from a bitter group of fans, but now you start to wonder if his act just started to wear thin. At the time of his firing, then-Bills president Tom Donahue said "I don't know if you can coach in the National Football League if you cannot adjust to change. The players change, circumstances change, and you have to be adjusting to that all the time." Williams lasted three seasons in Buffalo, if he hasn't learned to make those adjustments yet, his tenure in D.C. might not last much longer than that.
This article originally appeared on The Redskin Report.