Safety DJ Swearinger falls on sword, faulting Redskins’ defense

Safety DJ Swearinger falls on sword, faulting Redskins’ defense

ARLINGTON, Texas — With a banged-up offense, the Washington Redskins needed more from their defense. The defense failed to deliver. What it got afterward was the blame from safety D.J. Swearinger.

The fiery Swearinger did not talk after a 23-21 loss to the Houston Texans last week. But he had plenty to say after the 31-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday.

“We lose two games in a row because of the defense,” Swearinger said. “Ain’t no damn offense, man. Defense, we lost the game. We lost the game on defense two weeks in a row — defense. You wanna be a championship defense, you gotta hold that weight on your back.

“If you wanna be a regular defense, man, it don’t mean much to you. But until you have that championship mentality as a defender, s— gonna happen like that week in and week out when you play good teams.”

The Redskins’ defense allowed 404 yards to the Cowboys and watched receiver Amari Cooper catch eight passes for 180 yards. He scored on touchdowns of 40 and 90 yards, breaking tackles both times and outrunning the defense. Running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 121 yards, becoming the first player to top 100 yards vs. Washington this season.

Through seven games, the Redskins’ defense ranked fourth in yards and fifth in points. Over the past four weeks, they’re 27th in yards and 16th in points. They’ve lost three of those games.

“We can go out there and do whatever on teams that aren’t good — like I said, against Tampa, we can do whatever we want on teams that ain’t good,” Swearinger said. “But when you’ve got teams that can play with you, you gotta prepare. You gotta tackle. You gotta do the simple things right. If you don’t do the simple things right, you gonna get embarrassed on national TV.”

That is exactly what happened — again. The Redskins lost at New Orleans 43-19 in a Monday night game in October. Blowouts such as this on a national stage have tamed any level of excitement about the Redskins, locally or nationally.

“That’s why we don’t get respect as the Redskins — we don’t do the simple s— right,” Swearinger said. “We do the simple s— right, I guarantee you we get respect. So we don’t need no damn respect. I see why we get disrespected, ’cause we don’t win the big game. We gotta win the big game. Only way you win the big game is you prepare for the big game. That’s every day. And that’s gotta be in your heart.”

Swearinger has been an emotional spokesperson for the Redskins after games. He often speaks out after losses, placing the blame more on generalities than specifics. He wants the team to adopt a certain mindset.

“That laughing s—, man, that s— for the birds when you’re losing,” Swearinger said. “If you’re losing, if you ain’t no championship team, it ain’t no reason coming in the building and laughing — unless it don’t mean that much to you. Unless you’re just doing it for the money. But if you’re doing it from the heart, that s— gonna mean something to you when you walk in that building after you lost two games in a row. It’s gonna mean something to you.

“But you know, my mentality is different, so I can only speak for how I feel about it and where we need to go. But it’s disappointing.”