One of the best performances of Jim Haslett’s successful coaching career occurred, as good things often do, out of necessity. When you’re in charge of a defense best known for giving up long touchdown passes, it’s time to make changes, so Haslett tried a different approach midway through this Washington Redskins season. Haslett’s new move has resulted in surprising improvement from a unit that still isn’t very good — but recently has been good enough.
After a 3-6 start, the surging Redskins (8-6) are two victories from winning their first NFC East title since the second Clinton administration. Haslett’s willingness to scrap his preferred way of doing things in an attempt to overcome the loss of injured starters — during the past month, he has platooned players, played more people and blitzed more frequently than he ever did before this season — is as much a part of the Redskins’ comeback story as Robert Griffin III’s game-changing ability or Kirk Cousins’s stellar relief work.