Fred Smoot offers some simple solutions for ailing Commanders defense


After a down year last season, the Commanders have shown little to no improvement on defense through two games, which could make for a scary harbinger of what's to come if corrections aren't made.

Washington has the NFL's 27th ranked defense after averaging 404 yards allowed between a win over the Jaguars and a loss to the Lions.

But, what are those corrections that need to be made, exactly?

Enter Fred Smoot, who offered up some solutions during an appearance with Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier of 106.7 The Fan.

Asked to fix the Commanders defense, Smoot gave this advice: "Alright, we'll start by this. Y'all really right now, everybody, it's the second game of the year. No championship is won, no championship is lost in the second game of the year."

"So now everybody has paralysis by over-analysis," Smoot said, "because now you want to look at the eight quarters we've played and say what's going on, what's happening, what needs to be done."

"First of all, we need to do some shuffling of the cards," he continued. "Kendall Fuller needs to either play nickel or free safety. Period. That's where he needs to be. He's the smart one. He's the talker. He's the one. Next, [Benjamin] St-Juste needs to be outside. At 6-3, with his [unintelligible] ability, no fades, no none of that will happen."

"Second, if Jamin Davis can't play in space or can't process stuff when the formation shifts, blitz him," he said. "Play him on the other side of the ball at all times. Give him one job: Blitz! What am I gonna do on third down, Coach? Blitz! What you gonna do on second? Blitz! Alright at the end of the day, make his job simple. Let him chase people. Let him attack."

"We had Gregg Williams at this time," Smoot said of his defensive coordinator in Washington. "We had a theory that plus-one — we're always gonna go plus-one, then you've got to block it up. He'd tell us corners, win early, you ain't gonna have to win late because there ain't no late."

"And this is what I also want you to do," he continued. "Do not put my guys Montez Sweat, Jon Allen out there and just tell them to go get the quarterback because they're talented. I need to see stunts. I need to see all kinds of designs to free certain people up.

"Simple math! Simple math! Let them play fast, get in four or five plays and let them play fast."

"Now, we've got some questions we need to be answered," Smoot added. "What do we have in 'Dollar Bill' Jackson III, William Jackson III? Are we truly doing what we always do with free agents, bring them here and ask them to do something they're not good at? Or is he just not playing well? That's the question I need answered."