SMITH ON THE DEFENSE

The play typified the Redskins' night and it set a negative tone. On the first play from scrimmage Philadelphia sent a man in motion and caught the Redskins thinking too much about how to adjust. They should have shifted to a zone. Not everyone did. The result: a 33-yard pass to a wide open James Thrash.

But that's where the Redskins' defense is these days. And it could be where they're at for a little bit as they adjust to their fourth defensive system in four years. It's not an easy one to learn.

''Marvin has a complicated system,'' Redskins end Bruce Smith said. ''There's no question about that. There's a lot of information so you have to be on top of everything to make sure that you're focused. As soon as the defense is called, we have to start thinking, from the time it's called until you put your hand on the line of scrimmage.

''We have to constantly be thinking and unfortunately offenses won't let us just line up and play the way we like for it to happen. They'll move around and shift to make us think even more. Sometimes they catch us and we get caught off-balance. The only way teams can beat us is if we're off-balance. They know what type of talent we have.''

Smith wasn't upset with the schemes. His point was this: Washington is still learning and that's led to breakdowns. In two games, the Redskins have allowed nine plays of 20 yards or more.

''When you're hesitant or unsure, you're a step or two late,'' Smith said. ''That's all that your opponent needs. We have eight or nine guys on the same page and one or two who aren't. Then you have a problem and that's what happens.''

Naturally, Lewis disagrees with Smith's assessment.

''I don't see any hesitation,'' he said. ''I just see it as us not getting where we belong. Hesitation is an easy word to use. But it's a cop out. Everyone has games like these.''


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