A trying season for the Washington Redskins has given way to in-house criticism.
Safety D.J. Swearinger had some pointed objections for defensive coordinator Greg Manusky after Saturday’s 25-16 loss to the Tennessee Titans. Among his primary complaints was the team’s use of man-to-man coverage when backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert entered the game for Marcus Mariota, who left with a stinger and did not return.
“We should have blowed them out,” Swearinger said, according to ESPN. “If I’m the D-coordinator, I’m calling zone every time on third down because you got a backup quarterback. Make him beat us.
“We’re playing a backup quarterback. Why would you put us in man to man? We are our best on defense when we look at the quarterback.”
Swearinger specifically took issue with one third-down play in which cornerback Fabian Moreau was called for holding against Titans wide receiver Taywan Taylor, who was isolated on the left side of the field, on what would have been an incompletion if not for the penalty.
“Man, it’s three by one (receiver set). You’re going backside every time,” Swearinger said. “A kindergarten quarterback can know that. That’s my frustration right now, dog. We played a hell of a game.”
Gabbert completed seven of 11 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown. Washington held a slim advantage in total yardage (292 to 291) and forced two turnovers while committing none..
Swearinger’s comments were just the latest flare-up for the Redskins after the loss. Cornerback Josh Norman threw his helmet at Titans offensive tackle Taylor Lewan following the game in a heated confrontation. Lewan accused Norman of trying to injure running back Derrick Henry late in the contest.
Washington has now lost five of its last six games. At 7-8, the Redskins are still alive in the playoff chase, but their chances are remote.
“I express my frustrations every single time I come off the field,” Swearinger said. “I’m a very smart football player. I probably watch more film than the coaches. … I’m trying to give my insight but it doesn’t work.”
Follow Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz on Twitter @MikeMSchwartz.