The Redskins' secondary entered 2019 with a new position coach, a new high-priced safety, one of the most expensive cornerbacks in football, a third-year pro who was apparently poised to break out and a seventh-round draft darling who was a major offseason hero.
All of that was supposed to lead to a stingy unit that contributed on an improved defense.
All of that is looking like a mirage.
Through 10 games, the Redskins are 15th in passing yards allowed. That sounds decent, right?
Don't fall for it. Nothing about what they're doing is decent, and a huge share of the blame should go toward the secondary.
Quarterbacks are completing 71.4-percent of their passes on Washington. That's an atrocious number for the defense, and as of Sunday night, that meant they were the second-friendliest defense in the league.
The team has given up 19 passing touchdowns, meanwhile. That's good for seventh-most in the NFL. Speaking of seventh, they also are letting QBs post the seventh-best average passer rating against them.
After their disgusting Week 11 loss to the Jets, where the Burgundy and Gold let the very mediocre Sam Darnold throw for a career-high four scores, Quinton Dunbar sounded exasperated.
"It's just getting old," Dunbar said. "At some point, as a grown man in a professional football league, you've got to get it together."
The disaster began in Week 1, when DeSean Jackson exploded for eight catches, 154 yards and two touchdowns in Philly. Other established pass catchers, like Julian Edelman (eight catches, 110 yards and a TD) and Stefon Diggs (seven catches for 143 yards), have torched the Redskins as well.
Ray Horton's group hasn't just been getting lit up by the stars, though.
On Sunday, Ryan Griffin — a tight end who's had five showings with one or fewer grabs this year — hauled in five balls for 109 yards while also finding the end zone at FedEx Field.
Looking further back, when the Bears came to Landover for Monday Night Football in Week 3, Taylor Gabriel notched three six-pointers in one half. Taylor Gabriel!
Then there was Devin Smith, a Cowboys wideout who got behind the team's defensive backs for a massive scoring strike and finished Week 2 with three receptions for 74 yards. In his 17 other NFL contests, Smith has 12 receptions to his name.
Aside from Dunbar, try to make a case that someone in the back end is having a passable season. Here's a hint: you can't.
Josh Norman has become so irrelevant, it's almost startling. Landon Collins hasn't been a difference maker at all. Fabian Moreau is looking more and more like a third-round whiff by the week. Jimmy Moreland's best moments came in OTAs and training camp. Montae Nicholson and Troy Apke have totally underwhelmed.
Yes, not all of the struggles can be pinned on the safeties and corners. The pass rushers are failing to get home and the linebackers are losing their coverage battles as well.
Everyone lining up for Greg Manusky, plus Greg Manusky himself, has disappointed. Assignments are being blown everywhere and no one's really doing anything to stop it.
But the DBs are the ones primarily paid to communicate and cover, and when guys are constantly running so unbelievably free every single game, that means the DBs are failing.
Those failures have made 2019 a nightmare year for the Redskins' secondary. It's a nightmare that'll thankfully end after six more contests. Opposing pass catchers, of course, will hate when it's over.
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