Another loss for the Washington Redskins, their fifth in the last six games games. And it was another colorful quote from safety DJ Swearinger, as he ripped Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Manusky for his play calls late that led to their 25-16 loss to the Tennessee Titans Saturday.
Titans starting quarterback Marcus Mariota exited the game just before halftime after suffering a stinger on his throwing arm after a Jonathan Allen sack. Blaine Gabbert entered the game, and proceeded to lead the Titans to two key scoring drives, including a late touchdown pass to MyCole Pruitt off a beautifully-executed play action from the two yards out.
Swearinger was not pleased that the Redskins were in man coverage on a key third-and-7 play on the go-ahead drive by Tennessee. Redskins cornerback Fabian Moreau was called for defensive holding, despite Gabbert’s throw being overthrown out of bounds. The penalty gave Tennessee a first down on what should have been a drive-killing play. Instead, Tennessee went on to score a touchdown.
“I feel like on the third-down-and-6, third-down-and-7, we’re playing a backup quarterback, why would you put us in man-to-man?” Swearinger said via NBC Sports. “Why not get out — we are our best on defense when we look at the quarterback. When you go one-high on a backup quarterback? That’s easy, man. They’re going to go backside every time, you feel me? If we look at the quarterback with all this talent we got in the backend, man, we can dominate every team every week.”
Gabbert completed 7-of-11 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown. While initially he seemed phased by the Redskins defense, he got in rhythm as the game went on.
“We should have blowed them out,” Swearinger said. “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.”
While the Moreau play was his initial focus, it was clear Swearinger has been bothered by the playcalling by Manusky of late. This isn’t the first time he has chimed away and made remarks after a loss that seemed geared to the coaches. And Saturday he added and added.
“I voice my frustration every single time I come off the field,” Swearinger added. “I’m a very smart football player. I probably watch more film than the coaches. That’s 100. That’s probably documented. I try to give my insight, but it doesn’t work. So I can only put my heart in this s—, dog … and give them what I can give them. Whether they take it or not, that’s another thing. That’s where the frustration comes in at, when we don’t win.”
Swearinger has had a Pro Bowl-caliber season despite not being named to the initial NFC roster — he was named an alternate. However, as talented as he’s been for the Redskins the past two seasons, his open mic sessions lend a glimpse of what may cause him to wear out his welcome on teams. Washington is his fourth team during his career.
“But I’m not the D-coordinator, bruh,” Swearinger continued. “But, we didn’t make the plays. I guess we didn’t make the plays. There were plenty of plays out there so we didn’t make the play to win the game, so.”
Whether he is right or not doesn’t matter. Questioning the defensive coordinator so vehemently and this is not the first time, it paints a bad picture of character, as former Redskins defensive back Will Blackmon stated in a tweet about Swearinger’s rant.
Swearinger missed a key tackle on third down in the game. Then there was the near interception by Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. A Gabbert pass went through Clinton-Dix’s hands into a waiting hands of Darius Jennings for a 23-yard pick up on 3rd-and-7 on a third quarter-drive that ended in a field goal.
“I’m not giving excuses on my play, I’ve missed a few tackles, but I feel like with a lot of these playmakers we got on the team, you should try to get your players involved,” Swearinger said. “We got a lot of talent on this team. When I look at film of other teams, I always see nickels blitzing, I always see safeties blitzing. It’s frustrating, I don’t know what to say about it.”
On the go-ahead touchdown, Swearinger blitzed off the edge, and with no backside help, the play produced a wide opened Pruitt for the score. It will be interesting the reaction of head coach Jay Gruden or Manusky about Swearinger’s vocal lashing following the game.