After Monday’s loss to the Eagles, I started to wonder about how good the Washington Redskins are. Going into that game with the Eagles, the Washington Redskins were in prime position to display dominance. They were playing a good team that manhandled them in week one. If they won, they could show that the first matchup was because of week one jitters. That was not the case and now the Redskins are jumbled up in a heavily populated NFC. No team in the NFC has shown any type of dominance. The Falcons cannot score nor can they defend anyone in the second half. Cam Newton is trying on his Halloween costume as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde because of his inconsistent play. The Seahawks cannot protect Russell Wilson, and the Cowboys cannot beat a competent team. Now, where does this leave the Redskins in the hierarchy of the NFC?
The defense must step up!!!
In the first few games of the season, Washington’s defense looked like it took the leap. Ryan Kerrigan was playing like the first round pick that many thought he would be. Josh Norman was shutting down the opposing teams top receivers. Also, they were not giving up any big plays on the ground or through the air. That changed once Norman left the Kansas City game with an injury in the first half. Once he was injured, Travis Kelce started to break out and the Chiefs started to look like the Chiefs. The Redskins still could have won that game, but a dropped pass from Josh Doctson that would have been a touchdown ended that.
This defense must step up and carry the offense because they are still working through their problems. First-round pick Jonathan Allen‘s injury is devastating to their front seven. Allen helped ease the pressure from guys like Kerrigan and Preston Smith. With injuries across the board, the backups have to fill that void on defense until the offense picks up.
Washington’s offense misses Garcon and Jackson
Washington came into the season believing they could replace the production of Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson with Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson. That was a severe mistake because this offense is not the same as last year’s offense. Kirk Cousins is running the same system, but the players around him are different. Pryor and Doctson cannot provide the same level of protection as the previous guys. The numbers are looking the same, but the production on the field is different.
Washington had 70+ passing plays of 20 yards or more in 2016. The offense was explosive and could strike at any time. This year it is different, through six games, they only have 24+ plays of that variety. The offense is not striking as fast and it takes away from the team. DeSean Jackson also helped free up guys like Jamison Crowder and Garcon from safety coverage, but now that deep threat is not there. They do not have a guy who consistently scares you. Pryor was supposed to be that guy, but he has not lived up to expectations.
The failure of this receiving corps can be seen in their statistics. Three of their four leaders in receiving yards are not wide receivers. Running back Chris Thompson leads the team in yards and tight end Vernon Davis is next. Guys like Crowder and Pryor have to step it up and in a hurry. A running back should not lead this team in receiving yards especially with the talent they have.
Are the Redskins good?
The Redskins are a competent team that can be really dangerous if they figure it out, but that is a huge if. With significant injuries on their defense, it is hard to believe that they can bounce back, but the NFC is weak. No teams truly scare you and they all have significant flaws. The Eagles cannot run the ball nor defend the deep pass. The Redskins will show and prove who they are in the next four weeks. Their next four matchups are vs. Cowboys, @ Seattle, vs. Vikings, and @ New Orleans. How the team fairs after that stretch will show us who they really are. In my opinion, they will wilt away, and cut ties with Kirk Cousins.