Embarrassing record spurs Redskins hope to improve takeaways Print
Written by Admin   
Monday, 30 July 2007 10:40
NFL Headline News

 ASHBURN, Va. (AP) -On the first play of the first 7-on-7 drill on the first day of Washington Redskins training camp, free safety Sean Taylor read Jason Campbell's pass perfectly. Taylor stepped in front of tight end Chris Cooley and got both hands on the ball, a sure interception if there ever was one.
Then he dropped it.
The moans from the fans could have been subtitled ``Oh no, not again!'' The Redskins were historically inept at intercepting passes and recovering fumbles last season, and the last thing they or the team needed was an indication that the trend might continue.
Just hours earlier, in fact, coach Joe Gibbs had cited the team's 12 takeaways - an NFL record for a non-strike season - in his opening speech to the team. The coach was trying to motivate the players, not embarrass them - they've already been embarrassed enough by that statistic.
``It bothers us,'' defensive end Phillip Daniels said. ``It's just one of those years when nothing went our way.''
The job of finding more ways to force more turnovers falls on assistant coach Gregg Williams, whose stock plummeted last season as the defense's overall ranking fell from No. 9 to No. 31 in a 5-11 season. Williams has an in-your-face, I'm-always-right coaching style that's more difficult to tolerate when his schemes aren't working, and he enters this season knowing he has to much to do if he is again to be considered a future head coach with the Redskins - or anywhere else.
``We have a lot to prove,'' Williams said Monday. ``We've got to reprove ourselves, and I think I'm a better coach when we have a chip on our shoulders. Nobody should be feeling good about last year. I know I'm certainly not feeling good about last year, and so we've got a bitter taste to get out of our mouth.''
The Redskins tried all sorts of gimmicks in practices last year to increase turnovers, and they've added a few more this year. Defensive players are being told to pounce on incomplete passes as if they were fumbles and take off toward the end zone.
``We've got to get used to scooping and scoring,'' Williams said.
Turnovers can have an element of chance - fumbles have funny bounces, and passes can be tipped the wrong way - but the Redskins could double their tally by simply catching the easy ones and playing better all-around defense.
``I could have had 10 more myself, just by catching the ball,'' said cornerback Carlos Rogers, who had one interception but displayed hands of stone on several other chances. ``It was just concentration. It's not thinking about taking the ball and scoring, just catching the ball first and running.''
Williams has also altered his defensive schemes. Taylor will play safety more like a center fielder, using his speed to chase down the ball. An upgraded secondary - including newcomers LaRon Landry, Fred Smoot and Vernon Macklin - should give the defensive line more time to rush the quarterback and cause havoc. London Fletcher is an upgrade at middle linebacker, and outside linebacker Marcus Washington will be allowed to play more aggressively.
And Williams, who used to boast about the complexities of his defense, has simplified the game plan so that each player can focus on his strengths.
``We've identified fewer things that we want them to master,'' Williams said, ``so that they can get real good at those things.''
All those factors, plus fewer injuries, should add up to more takeaways, which in turn should give the offense better chances to score. Taylor has picked off several passes since his drop on the first day, and Omar Stoutmire hauled down a nice interception off a tipped ball Monday.
One thing is for sure - it will be very hard to be worse than last year. Williams likes to needle his players over their shortcomings, but the stark reality of forcing only 12 turnovers is one topic for which he had no humor.
``We laugh and joke and we smile an awful lot about different things that are funny that happen on the field of play - but that's not,'' Williams said. ``I don't have a big smile on my face about those kind of things. We hope to have more of those (takeaways) this year.''
 

NFL Team Pages

Top NFL Public Bets

View All: NFL |  NBA |  NCAAF |  NCAAB |  MLB |  NHL

NFL Futures

NFL TEAM CONFERENCE ODDS CURRENT
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 3/1
DENVER BRONCOS 7/2
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 7/2
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS 4/1
GREEN BAY PACKERS 7/1
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 9/1
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 11/1
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 12/1
CHICAGO BEARS 12/1
PITTSBURGH STEELERS 12/1
View All

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Contact Us | Advertising | 888-99-SPREAD

THIS IS NOT A GAMBLING SITE – If you think you have a gambling problem click here.

Disclaimer: This site is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Individual users are responsible for the laws regarding accessing gambling information from their jurisdictions. Many countries around the world prohibit gambling, please check the laws in your location. Any use of this information that may violate any federal, state, local or international law is strictly prohibited.

Copyright: The information contained on TheSpread.com website is protected by international copyright and may not be reproduced, or redistributed in any way without expressed written consent.

About: TheSpread.com is the largest sports betting news site in the United States. We provide point spread news, odds, statistics and information to over 199 countries around the world each year. Our coverage includes all North American College and Professional Sports as well as entertainment, political and proposition wagering news.

©1999-2013 TheSpread.com