ASHBURN — Landon Collins has been playing football long enough that the Redskins safety can sense when an opposing offense isn’t on the same page. He can see the warning signs. The missed plays. The breakdowns. He believes a team’s struggles can carry over from week-to-week.
It creates an opportunity for the defense.
“They’re going to be itching to make a play,” Collins said, adding offenses tend to try and force it when that happens.
The “they” in this case would be the Chicago Bears, who will meet the Redskins in prime time on “Monday Night Football” at FedEx Field.
With quarterback Mitch Trubisky, the Bears are averaging just 9.5 points per game — tied for second-to-last in the NFL. They’ve scored 19 points total, leaving Chicago fans panicked that Trubisky could single-handedly derail the team’s Super Bowl aspirations. The 25-year-old hasn’t looked good this season, nor has he lived up to his draft status since being taken second overall in 2017.
In theory, Trubisky is coming to town at exactly the right time for the Redskins. He is not Carson Wentz nor Dak Prescott, and the talent drop-off should help Washington prove its defense isn’t as awful as it looked in the first two games.
But if the Redskins are eager to play Trubisky, they aren’t showing it.
“There’s a lot of things that go along with that,” linebacker Jon Bostic said of the quarterback’s struggles. “I know some people might put it all on him, but it’s not true. It’s everybody. … There’s‘ a lot of things that have to go right.”
The Redskins aren’t in a position to boast. The last two games left defenders shocked and desperate for answers after giving up 63 points combined. Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said Thursday the team has to do a better job of getting after the quarterback.
Washington could be again without defensive lineman Jonathan Allen (knee) and cornerback Quinton Dunbar (knee) this week. Both players missed practice Thursday, and in Allen’s case, coach Jay Gruden called the injury “significant.” Allen has a Grade 1 knee sprain and the Redskins aren’t trying to rush him back.
When analyzing the Bears‘ offense, multiple players singled out the variety and creativity of the team’s formations. Coach Matt Nagy is a disciple of Andy Reid and has brought that innovation to Chicago. The Bears also have talented playmakers like wide receiver Allen Robinson, tight end Trey Burton and running backs Tarik Cohen and David Montgomery.
Cornerback Josh Norman said the Redskins have to be prepared for Chicago’s different looks. Philadelphia and Dallas both took advantage of Washington not being set before the snap, leading to long touchdowns.
Still, coaches can only help a quarterback to a point — and it will be on Trubisky to execute.
After an opening night loss to Green Bay, Packers cornerback Tramon Williams rubbed in the Bears‘ defeat further by telling reporters: “We wanted to make Mitch play quarterback.” Williams later tried to clarify his remark wasn’t meant to be a shot, but that didn’t change the perception.
Trubisky is averaging a measly 4.8 yards per attempt and has completed only 58% of his passes.
“If they come out throwing the ball with Trubisky, hey, power to ‘em,” Collins said. “If they want to come out running — they’ve got a good running game — power to ‘em. We’ve got a good run-stop defense. We’ve got a good secondary, so we’ll see what we can do.”
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