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Redskins Early Struggles - Who is to Blame?

What can the Redskins do to keep afloat this sinking ship?

Wesley Hitt

The defeat at the hands of a depleted Dallas team on Sunday evening showed how many issues the Redskins actually have. The Cowboys were able to hand the Redskins their fourth loss of the season, and while doing so, pull into a tie with the Eagles for first place in the NFC East...................THE EAGLES!!!!!

Yes, a team with a college head coach and a Napoleon Dynamite look-a-like at quarterback, and another with a Carrot-top puppet for a coach, and the games biggest choke-artist at quarterback are atop the NFC East standings!

So how did the Redskins manage to lose to these two team, and how did we find ourselves at 1-4, and above just the abysmal Giants for the bottom of the NFC East basement?

DefensIve Woes:

The defensive woes have plagued this team since Mike Shanahan and Jim Haslett took over. Like Chris Collinsworth so eliquently put it last evening, the Redskins have had problems at the safety position for YEARS! It is almost like a black cloud has hung over the head of this franchise since the premature passing of the great Sean Taylor. Well, enough with the excuses - "Taylor's death", "the Laron Landry mistake", and, best of all, "blame it on Mara". Whatever the excuse, we just stink, and have stunk, at safety for years.

Props go out to Haslett, and a great game plan against Dallas on Sunday night, and BIG props go out to DeAngelo Hall, who yet again shut down one of the best receivers in the NFL. Props also go out to Josh Wilson and Perry Riley who played their buts off,  but this isn't about praise; it's about blame!

So take away the Dallas game, in which our defense played well(we all know the BLAME is on special teams, OR, the lack of what makes them special). The rest of the woes this young season have to be pinned partially on the poor play of our defensive line - Yes, I'm looking at you, Mr. Invisible Man Stephen Bowen. What the heck are we paying you $27.5 million to do? At least LOOK like you are attempting to get out of your stance, and engage your blocker. With the exception of Cofield, this unit has been an embarrassment; both on and off the field. Maybe the group should watch the Dallas game - yeah, a team with just one recognizable name, and a bunch of who the _______ are they on the defensive line Sunday night. Here is a hint: It's called heart and determination; something we are severely lacking.

And London Fletcher - how many tackles are you going to miss this season? Can you let tight ends and running backs make you look even more foolish? Well, I guess we can give you a pass. You are playing against guys nearly half your age. Man, I envy Dallas with a young player like Sean Lee!

Should I pile on the secondary?...................Well, they have improved a bit with the return of Meriweather, and Hall may be playing some of the best football in the last six years, but alas, it is certainly a concern when your team is giving up an average of 271 yards per game through the air.

Offensive Woes:

Oh, where do I start?

Let's take a look at the offensive line - yes the same offensive line that was praised for their brilliant play last season. We will exclude Trent Williams, who may be playing the best football of any left tackle in the game today. Kory Lichtensteiger is horrible. He is a penalty waiting to happen, and despite his effort against bigger, stronger more physical defensive linemen, he's just not getting the job done. How about Chris Chester? He played at a Pro Bowl level last season. This season, he's playing at replacement level. Then there is Will Montgomery................oh, where do I begin. One of the rating services(whos name I won't mention) tried to say he was one of the NFL best centers last season. Well, either he was playing out of his mind good, or that service has no clue as to what they are looking at - I think I'll go with option number two. Monty can't seem to get out of his own way this season.

It may be time to give Adam Gettis and yes, even the out-of-shape Josh LeRibeus a chance. Heck, at this point, I'm even willing to look at Tom Compton at guard. He can't be any worse than what we currently have.

As for Tyler Polumbus; I'll just let him go. He is what we thought he was, and his play this season has actually has been a level above(albeit a slight one) what we expected.

So, how about those receiver(s). What?.........we don't have more than one? Wow, now that's a shocking revelation. I guess when teams have stacked the box early on, just daring us to beat them through the air, we should have just thrown a deep fade every time, and hoped for a pass interference; we'd have just as much luck as trying to actually find an open guy besides Garcon.

I do have to give one shout-out here, and that goes to Jordan Reed. The kid is going to be a good one, and although he's had some issues with staying on the field, when he is healthy, you can see the ability this young man has.

So, is it now time to agree that we have a VERY poor wide receiving corps? Leonard Hankerson's stomach will tell you a resounding YES!

Has Robert Griffin been the Robert Griffin of 2012?................absolutely not. Can we pin the four loses on his shoulders?.............absolutely not. He's getting blitzed on almost half his drop backs, and with poor play from the offensive line, and receivers who are playing hide-and-seek, it makes his job that much more difficult. Is he free of all blame?............heck no. He has been erratic with his accuracy, and his mobility is just starting to return to what it was last year.  He is the leader of this offense, and the blame still needs to partially fall on his shoulders. Turnovers, poor decisions, and questionable mechanics are major areas for improvement.

Overall, this 2013 team is a shadow of what it was in 2012. We lack heart, desire and skill where we need it most. Is it possible we can turn this sinking ship around?....................yes, it's possible, but it's more likely that we continue down the road of inconsistency, and vast changes will again be needed this offseason, for a team we thought had finally turned the proverbial corner.

Hey Dallas, thank you for exposing the weaknesses we all knew were haunting this team. Maybe now, we can truly see the error of our own misguided perception.

Five Questions:

1) Should we look to trade away some players and stock as many draft picks as we can before the trade deadline?  The Patriots could surly use a guy like Fred Davis in their offense. The Texans may be able to use Cousins. I'm sure there is some team willing to give SOMETHING/ANYTHING for Hankerson.

2) Should the team look to get the young offensive linemen some experience?

3) Should London Fletcher be permanently replaced in the starting lineup?

4) Should Helu be given more carries/catches out of the backfield?

5) Is there a wide receiver on our practice squad(or on anyone else's in the league)that can come in and improve our offense?