Redskins' Haslett defends all-out blitz that failed vs. Cowboys

ASHBURN, Va. -- Rarely does a third-and-21 play get this much mileage.

A new perspective was added Thursday to one of the most dissected regular-season plays in recent Washington Redskins memory. This time, it was defensive coordinator Jim Haslett stepping to the podium, explaining his decision to call the all-out blitz that backfired during Monday night's loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

"Would you take it back? Of course you would," Haslett said. "Coaches always second-guess themselves. But still it's a great defense. We've run it 10 times in the regular season; we've got nine wins and one loss."

The eight-men-on-the-line blitz produced an interception by Kevin Barnes during the third quarter against the Cowboys, and it also yielded rookie Ryan Kerrigan's interception-and-touchdown in the season opener against the New York Giants.

When Haslett called for it again, the Cowboys were backed up at their own 30 with 2:20 to play. Tony Romo rolled right and found Dez Bryant for a 30-yard gain. A facemask penalty on DeAngelo Hall added another 15 yards, putting Dallas in position to kick the winning field goal for an 18-16 victory.

Haslett said he spoke after the game to some Cowboys coaches who conceded the play was a fluke, singlehandedly pulled off by Romo.

"He started running for his life and threw it up in the air," Haslett said. "They made a play and we didn't."

Haslett also agreed with Hall that there shouldn't have been a penalty on the play.

"He hit the facemask, but he never grabbed," Haslett said. "... I didn't think it was a good call."

Immediately after the game, Hall criticized Haslett's decision to call for the all-out blitz. Hall softened his tone Wednesday, but Haslett said there were no hard feelings.

"He's an emotional guy. He's high-strung," Haslett said. "He felt bad about the play, and I understand. Stuff like that doesn't bother me. I played the game; I was probably worse than that."

Haslett also defended the overall play of his defense, which didn't allow a touchdown against the Cowboys and is ranked 16th in the NFL season after finishing 31st last year. While he's aggressive, Haslett said he's not blitz-happy.

"We don't blitz all the time," he said. "It's not like a blitz-fest. There's a good mixture in what we do, and we mix it up pretty good in those situations."

Finally, Haslett became the latest in the Redskins camp to deny that his defensive line was calling out fake snap counts. Dallas has blamed Washington's defense for several early and wayward shotgun snaps by center Phil Costa.

"My thought was, 'The guy needs to get the snap back better,' " Haslett said with a smile.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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