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Defense Needs to Rediscover Swagger




It's not as if the Redskins' defense was pushed all over FedExField in their surprising 19-16 loss to Minnesota in the opener. But, at the same time, the group looked mediocre in giving up 309 yards of total offense to Brad Johnson, Troy Williamson, Chester Taylor and the Vikings.

Johnson was sacked just one time--by Demetric Evans--and was for the most part a pretty comfortable quarterback, especially on third down. In those situations, Minnesota was 9-for-17, which goes a long way toward explaining why the Vikings were able to score the upset win in their first game under Brad Childress.

After the game, Evans put it best: "We have to put this game behind us and just get focused on Dallas next Sunday."

Without Shawn Springs and Pierson Prioleau the Redskins were missing two players who are really coaches on the field. That's an overused expression in today's NFL, but it is accurate when applied to Springs and Prioleau, who was injured on the opening kickoff.

Missing Springs and Prioleau, the Redskins were once again victimized by an old nemesis, veteran wide receiver Marcus Robinson.

When you talk about great wide receivers in the NFL, Robinson's name isn't likely to come up. But how can the Redskins forget about this 10-year veteran out of South Carolina? Three times in his career, the 6-3, 215-pound Robinson has spelled trouble for Washington.

In the middle of the 1999 season, Robinson had a nine-catch game for Chicago that included 161 yards and two TDs. Champ Bailey was a rookie that day and Robinson made him appear as such in a game the Redskins won 48-22 at FedExField.

Then, in the 2004 season finale, the same Robinson contributed a 38-yard TD catch at FedExField in a close game the Redskins won 21-18.

Last night, Robinson hit the trifecta.

The Redskins held a 13-9 lead midway through the third quarter when Robinson and Johnson hooked up on a 20-yard scoring play. From there, the Vikings never trailed.

"Since Shawn is injured, everybody in the secondary needs to step up and make plays," cornerback Kenny Wright said. "We came up short [against the Vikings], but we're going to keep doing what we have to do."

Overall, the Redskins turned in a decent defensive effort, but beyond that was without their swagger, something that's been missing since the 17-10 Wild Card win at Tampa Bay back on Jan. 7.

From the Redskins' point of view, the worst thing about Monday night is that a visiting team came into FedExField and looked pretty at ease with things. The marching orders for this season are to establish a definitive home-field advantage and to make visiting clubs cringe at the thought of having to play in Washington.

The Redskins missed that target in their opener.

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