Washington’s defense had several busted plays and bad coverages on Monday night, the apparent product of miscommunications. Coach Jay Gruden, despite have an offensive background, takes full responsibility for the mistakes.
“I’m ultimately responsible,” Gruden told reporters on Thursday.
“I don’t know if it’s about simplifying or just communicating better, making sure everybody is on the same page that’s all,” he added. “We’ve been doing some of the same stuff since training camp that we messed up, which is a little mind-boggling. But we’ll get it fixed up. [Defensive backs coach Torrian] Gray and [assistant defensive backs coach James] Rowe and [defensive coordinator Greg] Manusky, they’ll do a good job of fixing it up. It was an abysmal performance by a lot for people not just the secondary, not just the defense, but the offense included. I think we all have a lot of work to do.”
Gruden was asked to explain how the communication can, and will, improve.
“Well it starts in the film room, film study, and then we go out and practice for a reason,” Gruden said. “Give them different looks, as many different looks as we can, and communicate and it carries over on the field. There’s only so much we can do. There’s only so many looks we can give them. We’re always going to see something new. The Saints gave us a few different formations with [Mark] Ingram and [Alvin] Kamara in at the same time, a couple different things. But nothing that should’ve been that confusing.”
Gruden doesn’t believe the problems on Monday night were the product of being confused in the moment.
“I think they’re coached up and for whatever reason we had a couple busts,” Gruden said. “You know, three or four of them that cost us big time. It’s up to us as coaches to make sure that doesn’t happen because the play is a reflection of us. We have to make sure they totally understand and have a good grip on what they’re doing. Then on game day, they have to go out and execute.”
They’ll get another chance to do that on Sunday, against a Panthers team that, for some reason, is a one-point underdog. Which means that the oddsmakers have faith in the Washington defense to turn it around.
Based on Monday night, that’s a whole lot of faith.