D.J. Swearinger blasts Redskins DC Manusky after loss

The Redskins aren't eliminated, but they really needed a win Saturday and didn't get one.

That seems to have sent at least one Washington defender into a raging inferno of frustration -- and he's bringing his coaching staff into the fire.

"I felt like we should have been more aggressive," safety D.J. Swearinger said after the 25-16 loss. "I feel like on the third down and 6, third down and 7, we're playing a backup quarterback, why would you put us in man-to-man? We are our best on defense when we look at the quarterback. When you go one high on a backup quarterback, that's easy, man. It'll go backside every time.

"I feel like if we look at the quarterback with all this time we've got on the back end, man, we can dominate every team, every week. I'm not the defensive coordinator though, so..."

The backup quarterback Swearinger mentions is Tennessee's Blaine Gabbert, a career journeyman understudy who's seen more time than the average second-stringer this season. Gabbert heard his number called once again Saturday when Marcus Mariota exited with what the team called a stinger.

Gabbert didn't disappoint, completing 7 of 11 passes for 101 yards and the game-winning touchdown, a 2-yard pass to tight end MyCole Pruitt. He wasn't great, but he was good enough -- and Swearinger says a lot of that has to do with Washington's failure.

"We've got a lot of talent on this team, man," Swearinger said. "I look at film of other teams. I always see nickels blitzing, I always see safeties blitzing. When we was down, that's the first time we send a blitz? So it's just frustrating. I don't know what to say about it. With the playmakers we've got on defense, man, there's no way we should've lost this game.

"In that type of situation, you've got a backup quarterback in, I wouldn't call anything to make it easy for him. He hasn't practiced all week. ... Don't put us in man-to-man where it's easy for the quarterback. It's too easy for the quarterback."

It was so easy for Gabbert, Swearinger said, that "a kindergarten quarterback could know" how to beat man coverage. But there's a bit of a catch to what Swearinger was saying: Sure, Gabbert is a backup, but the Redskins were mighty close to losing to a backup quarterback last week (Jacksonville's Cody Kessler), or at least allowing one to take them to overtime. This isn't a one-game issue.

The difference, though, is Gabbert achieved at a respectable degree, while the Jaguars stayed in that game in spite of Kessler, who ran for more yards than he threw.

The fingers, then, point to the decision-makers wearing headsets -- namely, defensive coordinator Greg Manusky -- especially if a player can see these issues through his facemask and they're so blatant, he's resorting to going to reporters to air his grievances. That also means the internal channels of communication between player and coach aren't exactly open for the league's 17th-ranked defense (15th against the pass).

"I express my frustrations every single time I come off the field," Swearinger explained when asked if he went to his defensive coordinator with these issues. "I'm a very smart football player. I probably watch more film than the coaches. ... I'm trying to give my insight but it doesn't work.

"I can only put my heart in this s---, dawg, put my heart in this s--- and give them what I can give them. Whether they take it or not, that's another thing. That's where the frustration comes."

With Washington's season now all but over, this is exactly the type of sentiment you don't want coming out of a locker room filled with players who are most likely spending January at home. For what it's worth, teammate Jonathan Allen had a different view of how things unfolded in Nashville:

Rest assured this likely isn't the last time we'll hear Manusky's name in the next few weeks.