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Big Plays Frustrate Redskins' Pass 'D'

The Redskins' defense continues to be susceptible to the long ball. It has been a recurring theme through the first five games.

On Sunday against the New York Giants, the Redskins yielded pass plays of 46 yards to Plaxico Burress, 44 yards to Amani Toomer and 27 yards to Tim Carter, all in the first half.

All three plays led to points for the Giants' New York's offense, and the Giants went on win the game 19-3 at the Meadowlands.

Assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams was asked recently about the number of big pass plays allowed by the defense so far this season.

"It could be that teams have done a good job of picking the right play at the right time," he said. "We are just going to have to make them pay. There are opportunities for us to make plays in those situations.

"When you are playing tight games the way we are playing, you can't afford defensively to make those kinds of mistakes because we have to try and help the field position battle and shorten the field for the offense."

Despite yielding the three big plays to the Giants, the Redskins' defense clamped down each time and forced New York to settle for field goals.

With the Giants leading 9-3 at halftime, the lead was certainly within reach. But New York went on a 15-play, 69-yard touchdown drive that consumed more than eight minutes off the game clock.

Quarterback Eli Manning finished 23-of-33 for 256 yards and one touchdown, a 2-yard pass to Burress in the third quarter.

Yielding big plays has become a troubling trend for Williams and the Redskins' defense. In Week 4 against Jacksonville at FedExField, the Redskins allowed a 51-yard touchdown pass to running back Maurice Jones-Drew and a 33-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Reggie Williams.

In other games, the defense yielded pass plays of 53 yards to Houston Texans' wide receiver Andre Johnson, 40 yards to Dallas Cowboys' wide receiver Terry Glenn and 46 yards to Minnesota Vikings' wide receiver Troy Williamson.

Of course, the secondary has been shorthanded due to the absence of cornerback Shawn Springs, who missed his fifth game on Sunday as he continues to recover from an abdominal surgery and a groin injury.

Springs' absence has forced Williams to blitz less often. But as the secondary of Carlos Rogers, Kenny Wright and Mike Rumph become more familiar with each other and the defense, Williams has dialed up more blitzes.

On Sunday in New York, Williams sent linebacker Lemar Marshall on a blitz, but quarterback Eli Manning still was able to complete the 44-yard pass to Toomer.

Later, linebacker Warrick Holdman came in untouched on a blitz and forced Manning to throw the ball away. Manning was flagged for intentional grounding on the play.

Despite attempts at pressuring Manning, the Redskins' defense was unable to sack the third-year quarterback, or even fluster him. Manning's development drew praise from Williams.

"As [young quarterbacks] get more games under their belt, it becomes awfully tough to fluster them," Williams said. "The guys who have played a long time--through experience you learn to weather the storm.

"I think that Eli has a real good personality and a good temperament to stay even keel. That is pretty natural about him."

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