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Redskins ‘D’ reflects on job only half done

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — These are a few of the lasting images for the Washington Redskins defense from the season opener against the New York Giants:
— Prized acquisition Jason Taylor getting pushed off the line of scrimmage when the Giants opted to run wide to his side.
— Tough safety LaRon Landry getting bowled over by Brandon Jacobs near the end of another long run.
— Plaxico Burress eating the secondary up, with many of his 133 yards on 10 catches coming on simple curl routes.
‘‘We stepped on our toes the whole first half,’’ cornerback Fred Smoot said.
Easily overlooked is the Redskins only allowed one touchdown, on New York’s opening drive. The Giants kicked three field goals on their next three drives, but they didn’t score after halftime and had only 113 total yards in the second half in Washington’s 16-7 loss.
‘‘One we settled down, got off the hype, we played good,’’ cornerback Carlos Rogers said.
Glass half-full or half-empty? Depends on whom you ask.
‘‘If it was all bad, then you’re like, ’Maybe we’re just bad,’’’ safety Reed Doughty said. ‘‘I felt like they came out with a little more intensity, and I don’t think we quite matched that. The second half, we really picked it up. What you take away from that is that we have to play like that all the time.’’
The disconcerting news is the Giants seemed to let off the accelerator in the second half, calling plays designed to eat up the clock. Meanwhile, upcoming opponents are going to examine the first half replays and see plenty to exploit. For instance, having two ends better known for their pass-rushing abilities — Taylor and Andre Carter — can be a liability against the run, especially as long as Taylor has a sprained knee.
‘‘They were running the ball well on the stretch play,’’ defensive line coach John Palermo said. ‘‘We weren’t as good as we need to be up front, obviously.’’
On the positive side, some players cited defensive coordinator Greg Blache’s halftime adjustments as making a difference. Smoot said the cornerbacks were ordered not to give the receivers as much cushion when playing the zone.
Overall, though, there was no great change in strategy for the second half.
‘‘We called the same defenses,’’ middle linebacker London Fletcher said. ‘‘We just played them better.’’
Smoot picked off a pass for the game’s only turnover, but coach Jim Zorn counted ‘‘three legitimate interceptions’’ that were dropped. Rogers had two bounce off his hands.
‘‘He hasn’t connected the idea of making the play and getting great position with just putting his hands up,’’ Zorn said. ‘‘Some guys can do it more naturally. He seems to be a guy who has to concentrate.’’
Still, Rogers passed a major test, playing nearly an entire game for the first time since reconstructive knee surgery. He was on the field more than anticipated because Shawn Springs sat out with a bruised shin. He became even more valuable when Smoot went down in the third quarter with a hip injury.
Both Springs and Smoot are expected to play Sunday in the home opener against the New Orleans Saints, who piled up 438 yards in a 24-20 season opening win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Drew Brees passed for 343 yards, and Reggie Bush had 163 yards combined rushing and receiving.
‘‘Sometimes with other teams you can find weaknesses in certain areas, but that’s not the case’’ with the Saints, Fletcher said.
Fletcher also cautioned against focusing on the second half of the Giants game at the expense of the poor first half.
‘‘We’re obviously not where we need to be,’’ Fletcher said. ‘‘We’re not playing great defensively right now. We did some good things in the second half, but the first half, particularly on third down, those things were very disappointing.’’

Redskins ‘D’ reflects on job only half done

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — These are a few of the lasting images for the Washington Redskins defense from the season opener against the New York Giants:
— Prized acquisition Jason Taylor getting pushed off the line of scrimmage when the Giants opted to run wide to his side.
— Tough safety LaRon Landry getting bowled over by Brandon Jacobs near the end of another long run.
— Plaxico Burress eating the secondary up, with many of his 133 yards on 10 catches coming on simple curl routes.
‘‘We stepped on our toes the whole first half,’’ cornerback Fred Smoot said.
Easily overlooked is the Redskins only allowed one touchdown, on New York’s opening drive. The Giants kicked three field goals on their next three drives, but they didn’t score after halftime and had only 113 total yards in the second half in Washington’s 16-7 loss.
‘‘One we settled down, got off the hype, we played good,’’ cornerback Carlos Rogers said.
Glass half-full or half-empty? Depends on whom you ask.
‘‘If it was all bad, then you’re like, ’Maybe we’re just bad,’’’ safety Reed Doughty said. ‘‘I felt like they came out with a little more intensity, and I don’t think we quite matched that. The second half, we really picked it up. What you take away from that is that we have to play like that all the time.’’
The disconcerting news is the Giants seemed to let off the accelerator in the second half, calling plays designed to eat up the clock. Meanwhile, upcoming opponents are going to examine the first half replays and see plenty to exploit. For instance, having two ends better known for their pass-rushing abilities — Taylor and Andre Carter — can be a liability against the run, especially as long as Taylor has a sprained knee.
‘‘They were running the ball well on the stretch play,’’ defensive line coach John Palermo said. ‘‘We weren’t as good as we need to be up front, obviously.’’
On the positive side, some players cited defensive coordinator Greg Blache’s halftime adjustments as making a difference. Smoot said the cornerbacks were ordered not to give the receivers as much cushion when playing the zone.
Overall, though, there was no great change in strategy for the second half.
‘‘We called the same defenses,’’ middle linebacker London Fletcher said. ‘‘We just played them better.’’
Smoot picked off a pass for the game’s only turnover, but coach Jim Zorn counted ‘‘three legitimate interceptions’’ that were dropped. Rogers had two bounce off his hands.
‘‘He hasn’t connected the idea of making the play and getting great position with just putting his hands up,’’ Zorn said. ‘‘Some guys can do it more naturally. He seems to be a guy who has to concentrate.’’
Still, Rogers passed a major test, playing nearly an entire game for the first time since reconstructive knee surgery. He was on the field more than anticipated because Shawn Springs sat out with a bruised shin. He became even more valuable when Smoot went down in the third quarter with a hip injury.
Both Springs and Smoot are expected to play Sunday in the home opener against the New Orleans Saints, who piled up 438 yards in a 24-20 season opening win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Drew Brees passed for 343 yards, and Reggie Bush had 163 yards combined rushing and receiving.
‘‘Sometimes with other teams you can find weaknesses in certain areas, but that’s not the case’’ with the Saints, Fletcher said.
Fletcher also cautioned against focusing on the second half of the Giants game at the expense of the poor first half.
‘‘We’re obviously not where we need to be,’’ Fletcher said. ‘‘We’re not playing great defensively right now. We did some good things in the second half, but the first half, particularly on third down, those things were very disappointing.’’