NFL

Shanahan needs 'much better' Redskins secondary

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ASHBURN, Va. (AP)

The Washington Redskins are finally scoring. So are their opponents.

An offense that's starting to show promise with rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III is helping Washington average 33 points through the first three games of the season. Keep in mind that last year the Redskins didn't score 30 points in any game all season.

But opponents are putting up 33.7 per game, and the defense is looking ragged. The Redskins are 1-2 because they keep giving up big plays.

''Last year we would argue amongst each other to get 14 points, 10 points. Twenty-one points was a great day (for the offense),'' cornerback DeAngelo Hall said Monday. ''So to see this offense go out there these last three weeks and put up the kind of points they've put up, and the defense just go out there and totally drop the ball, it's definitely frustrating.''

The Redskins yielded touchdown passes of 73, 59 and 48 yards in Sunday's 38-31 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. They've already allowed 16 pass plays of 20-plus yards over three games, second most in the NFL.

''We've got to play much better as a secondary,'' coach Mike Shanahan said. ''Our secondary's got to be much better than we played on Sunday.''

The defense went into the game short-handed up front after linebacker Brian Orakpo and defensive end Adam Carriker were lost for the season with injuries, but their subs were hardly the problem. Rob Jackson intercepted a pass for a touchdown starting in place of Orakpo, and Jarvis Jenkins had a decent outing in Carriker's spot.

But the backside of the defense got toasted. Hall said the defense didn't get set properly to defend the gadget play the Bengals used to score the game's opening touchdown. Josh Wilson lost his footing playing man coverage on a blitz, allowing a long touchdown on a simple out pattern. Richard Crawford, a rookie seventh-round draft pick, was left alone down the middle of the field trailing Andrew Hawkins on another big score. Backups Cedric Griffin and Crezdon Butler left the game with hamstring injuries.

''If we keep giving up big plays, week-in and week-out, we're not going to win football games,'' linebacker London Fletcher said.

Notes: The game added to the Redskins' growing list of injuries, and there's enough uncertainty about them that Shanahan categorized them all as day-to-day. Among the ailing are LT Trent Williams (bone bruise on right knee), RB Evan Royster (strained right patella tendon), RB Roy Helu Jr. (left foot), Griffin (hamstring) and Butler (hamstring). ... Shanahan said it's also uncertain whether WR Pierre Garcon (sore right foot) and S Brandon Meriweather (sprained left knee) will play in this week's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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Follow Joseph White on Twitter: http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP

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Online: http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Tagged: Redskins, Robert Griffin, Bengals, Cedric Griffin, Rob Jackson, Robert Griffin III

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