As the Eagles snuck by the Texans on a last-second field goal, what was spiritually official a month ago became actually official: The Skins can’t make the playoffs. Surely the team will fit a lot of infighting into the season’s final week. It’s already started by the release of a Pro Bowl player on Christmas Eve.
Washington safety D.J. Swearinger has tended to be honest about how he feels. He was mad that his defensive teammate Kendall Fuller was traded to the Chiefs. He was open about how he and his team’s defense “don’t get respect” in November after the Cowboys hung 31 on them. He was also one of many Skins players who publicly groused after a fourth straight loss earlier in December. After Saturday’s loss to the Titans, Swearinger criticized defensive coordinator Greg Manusky’s playcalling for treating Titans QB Blaine Gabbert like a person who demanded respect and not endless blitzes. Here’s what the safety said, via NBC Sports Washington:
On Tennessee’s second-to-last drive, the drive where they eventually took a 19-16 fourth quarter lead, the Redskins had the Titans facing a third-and-7. Backup Blaine Gabbert threw an incomplete pass, but refs whistled Fabian Moreau for defensive holding.
The flag itself was questionable, but that’s not what Swearinger was most upset about.
“I feel like we should’ve been more aggressive,” he said. “Playing a backup quarterback, why would you put us in man-to-man?... I think it was a horrible [penalty] call, but I feel like you don’t put Fabian in that situation with a backup quarterback.”
Swearinger did acknowledge that he and his teammates needed to do more to close out what was a very important contest, but he also continued to second guess Greg Manusky’s choice on that play.
“I feel like if we look at the quarterback with all this talent we got in the back end, we would dominate every team every week,” he said. “But I’m not the D-coordinator. We didn’t make the plays, I guess we didn’t make the plays. There were plenty of plays out there to make, so we didn’t make the plays to win the game.”
At least one teammate didn’t agree, although he wasn’t a defensive back in coverage:
The comments were apparently the final straw. During this morning’s scheduled interview with 106.7 The Fan, Swearinger said he was released after an earlier meeting today with head coach Jay Gruden. The player’s voice sounded more resigned than anything.
“Only thing [Gruden] said was just I’ve been in his meeting room three times and he was going to release me,” Swearinger said. “I asked him why, he didn’t give me an explanation. So I guess it was just because of the media. Only way I know is to keep grinding and keep being myself. You know, just get ready for the next journey, man, the next chapter in my life.”
If no one signs Swearinger for the final week, he could very well be a Pro Bowl player with no team helmet to wear. Assuming he makes it, his best idea is to represent where he played college ball:
Note to Reuben Foster: Do whatever you’d like, but don’t publicly question Greg Manusky’s abilities.