D.J. Swearinger has some suggestions for Greg Manusky

Chris Lingebach
December 10, 2018 - 2:03 pm
D.J. Swearinger has some suggestions for Greg Manusky

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

D.J. Swearinger doesn't have an answer for what happened to the Redskins' defense in a 40-16 drubbing by the Giants on Sunday.

"How do you explain what's happened (to the defense)," the Redskins safety was asked in an interview Monday with Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier. "You guys were so good early in the year, to this point now where nothing seems to be going right."

"Yeah, and that's where I don't have that answer," Swearinger said. "I can't answer that, because all I know is we still have a lot of talent, which is the obvious. We're just not getting the job done for whatever reason. I don't know. We don't know. I gotta look myself in the mirror. Each of us gotta look ourselves in the mirror and we just gotta try to get the job done, because we once got the job done. So, we just gotta get it done the next time we strap it up. That's the only way we know how."

Swearinger was asked what he thinks of Greg Manusky and the job he's done as defensive coordinator this year.

"Manusky, he's a good coordinator, man," he said. "We just gotta stick to what he's calling and do what we need to do. Like I said, we were playing well at once, we just gotta get back to playing well."

Asked what should happen at the next team meeting, Swearinger said, "I don't know what will happen. I'm not the coach, you know. I think we should just come together and try to play football like we once did as little kids, you know. Have fun doing it and beating the man in front of you. Just have fun with it and try to get a win some way, somehow."

"As a defense, I think we should try to send some pressure sometimes from the safety or the nickel position, just to switch it up sometimes. Some way, somehow on the defense, man, we need to try to make it happen. We're just not doing it as a defense. We're not making the plays we need to make, so we just got to get to making those plays."

After Sunday's game, Swearinger waffled between being opinionated and giving no comments. Two things he did say came when asked what's gone wrong for the defense to elicit such a dramatic shift in performance from earlier in the season, and what changes are needed defensively. Swearinger, via NBC Sports Washington:

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."

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."

However tight-lipped Swearinger may have been about the coaching staff Monday morning, twice in his 106.7 The Fan interview the Redskins safety alluded to changes that could be made in play-calling. First, there was his line about sending "some pressure sometimes from the safety or the nickel position."

Asked by Paulsen what specifically has needed to change for two years, Swearinger said, "I don't know, man, whether I was talking about the frustration or whether something needs to change. I mean, I don't know. But I know we have a lot of talent on the defense as players. We've got some defenses that we can call that we can be in that we can show our talents.

"There's a way for it to be done, we just got to get it done. That's just the only way I know to sum it up. There's ways to get it done on the defensive side and we can do it, because we have done it before. At the end of the day, we just got to get the job done. Players got to be in position to make plays and we have the talent to. That's the only way we'll move forward, that's the only way we'll make plays, is if we just make the plays as players, man. Own up, make the plays, I guess, and just do what the coach says, man."

Swearinger was asked if it's unfair of fans to read between the lines of his post-game comments, to assume he's blaming the coaching staff, or if there's real frustration there. This Swearinger comment, via NBC Sports Washington, was cited in the question:

"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."

"That makes people think, well D.J. Swearinger's not high on the coaching staff," Paulsen said. "Whether it's Jay, whether it's Manusky. Is that unfair? Are people reading too much between the lines, or is there frustration there?"

"I believe it's all frustration," Swearinger said. "I believe a lot of it, what's being said has nothing to do with what's going on on the field. At the end of the day, the 53 men that's suited up on the field are the only guys that can win games. The fans can't win games, the coaches can't win games, the media can't win games.

"The only people that can win games is people that's suited up, 53. So, with that being said, nothing else matters but the 53 in the locker room, that's suited up, that's ready to go to war, that's being doing this all their lives, that's putting their lives on the line for it. We have to win the game as players, so that's the only thing that needs to be said about that."

Asked if the team is still playing hard for Jay Gruden, Swearing said, "I don't have an answer for anybody in the locker room. All I know is we need to get the job done."

Paulsen rephrased the question: "Do you still want to see Jay Gruden be the guy for this team the next few years? Are you still of belief that he's the right man for the job?"

"Yeah. I have total confidence in any coach you put me with," said Swearinger. "Like I said, you keep saying the coach. Like I said, it's on the 53 players. We've got to suit up and we've got to play ball. End of the day, the players that's out there on the field gotta make the plays. There's a lot of plays out there to be made."

"If we all watch the film the same, we all get together and see the things the same, we can all make the plays as players," he said. "I really don't want to get into the coaching and all of that. I always speak for myself and speak for the defense, if anything. I don't get into the coaches thing. I just answer for the players. If 53 players play hard, we can beat any team."

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