The New England Patriots do many things differently from the way other teams do them. But like every other team, when something goes very, very wrong they feel the need to find a scapegoat.
In this case what went wrong was the Patriots’ pass protection in their AFC championship game loss to the Broncos. Tom Brady was sacked four times and according to the official NFL game stats he was hit 20 times and some in the New England media counted 23 hits. Per the official numbers it was the most a quarterback has been hit during any game, regular season or playoffs, since 2006.
Less than 24 hours after that game ended, the scapegoat was identified. The Patriots fired offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo on Monday. He received praise during much of the season for dealing with a multitude of injuries along the line and having to shuffle multiple lineups, which often included three rookies.
But the injury issue didn’t hold water in the final analysis and DeGuglielmo was let go.
The Redskins have had their share of issues with pass protection in recent years. In 2011, quarterback John Beck was sacked 10 times in a game against the Bills. That is the most the Redskins have given up in a game since sacks became an official stat in 1982.
And Beck wasn't getting roughed up by a modern day Fearsome Foursome or anything. Buffalo only posted 29 sacks that whole season so they got 19 of them in 15 games and 10 in this one.
I’m not sure how the O-line starters that day compared to what DeGuglielmo had to deal with on Sunday but it wasn’t very good. Trent Williams was out with an ankle injury so Sean Lockear starter at left tackle. The rest of the group was LG Will Montgomery, C Eric Cook, RG Chris Chester and RT Jammal Brown. Regardless of the line, Beck's propensity to hold on to the ball for too long didn't help matters.
Offensive line coach Chris Foerster did not lose his job after that. In fact, he stayed on the job through the 2014 season and then he was replaced by Bill Callahan.
Someone did lose his job over the debacle against the Bills; it was Beck. He didn’t lose it immediately. After one more start against the 49ers, a 19-11 loss where Beck was sacked just twice but he mustered just 5.4 yards per pass attempt and couldn’t get the team into the end zone until just over a minute left, Beck was benched. He never took the field for the Redskins again.