FEDEX FIELD -- The New York Giants didn’t just clobber the Washington Redskins 40-16. They briefly silenced Josh Norman and D.J. Swearinger.
The talkative defensive backs separately passed on answering questions in the postgame locker room, a combination of events as rare as Washington trailing by 40 points at home.
They didn't remain quiet for long. Stinging opinions eventually followed on what went down during their most lopsided setbacks in recent memory, and the Redskins’ four-game losing streak.
Both declined to comment to similar questions about the Redskins’ readiness entering a pivotal late-season contest.
In response to a query over whether he felt the team was ready to go at kickoff, Norman offered a “Next question."
The first question to Swearinger, a frequent critic of the team’s practice habits during his two seasons with the team, focused on comments moments earlier from his head coach. During his press conference, Jay Gruden said Sunday’s result was not indicative of the team’s week of practice.
After brief and silent contemplation, Swearinger answered, “No comment.”
Two of the league's greatest quotes passing on answering questions. The universe now officially makes no sense.
The situation didn’t silence all of their takes.
The second question to Swearinger involved what’s gone wrong for the defense in recent weeks after a strong start to the season. "We just didn't execute. We just didn’t execute. We didn't get the job done. That's the answer they want me to give."
Norman, on what went wrong in the game: “Everything.”
Swearinger, on what changes are needed defensively. “I’ve been saying that for two years, man. Obviously, they didn’t listen. I can’t tell you what needs to change. I’m not the coach.”
Norman, on where he thought the game went off the rails: “You saw the game,” he responded.
Swearinger on whether he felt the game slip away in the first quarter when New York opened the scoring with an interception return for a touchdown: “Somewhat, somewhat, somewhat, but as a defender, you have to try to stop them, and we didn’t do a good job.”
Both players were part of a defense that surrendered three touchdown passes in the loss. Norman was also asked about the team’s mindset following the defeat. “We got took behind the barn like my grandma would do,” Norman said. “Had one of those big, thick paddles and got put to the backside pretty good.”
It’s understandable that the current slide, one that dropped Washington from 6-3 and a two-game lead in the NFC East to a losing record four weeks later, left the defensive leaders flummoxed.
Washington’s run defense ranked among the league’s best through seven weeks, allowing an average of 70.7 yards on the ground. Only two opponents topped 100 yards in a single game. Over the next six games, the Redskins allowed each team to reach the century mark for an average of 150 rush yards.
“Can’t say it’s the players,” Swearinger said on the topic of the plummeting run defense. “We’re the same players. We’re the same guys. We’ve put in the same work. We’re practicing hard. I’m speaking for my (fellow defensive) players. We’re practicing hard. … I can’t give you no answers to that because I’m not the coach, but I know we’re trying to do what we need to do on defense as players. We’re trying. We’re trying hard.”
Through the frustration, both proud players passed on declaring the season over despite the dire projections with three games remaining and the losses piling up.
Josh Johnson, signed by the Redskins Wednesday, played in the second half Sunday and will start next week at Jacksonville. The Redskins then face Tennessee before a Week 17 home finale against Philadelphia. They likely must win all three games for any hopes of a playoff berth.
Swearinger admitted it’s not easy remaining positive, but he had no intention of flipping to the dark side.
“I’m going to keep grinding,” Swearinger said. “I’m blessed to play football. I’m blessed to be a Washington Redskin. I’m going to approach this thing like a pro. Positive attitude, Get ready to beat Jacksonville if we can.”
Staying mentally positive is one thing. Flipping the momentum that way is quite another.
“Hell I don’t know,” Norman said. “Come to work Monday and find out. It sucks. Trying to keep my emotions intact. I really am.”
Like Swearinger, Norman has no intention of folding with games remaining.
“We fight. We’re warriors. We go out there, and we try to win, try to put ourselves in position to be successful,” Norman said. “Sometimes it just doesn’t work out in our favor. That’s the cards we’ve been dealt right now. Got to play it and hopefully, we’ll catch a full house one of these times.”
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