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Playing the Blame Game

Taking a look at how the blame should be dished out after the Redskins 0-2 start.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

This season has started out about as bad as the Redskins could imagined their nightmare scenario. Not only is the team 0-2, but the team has looked just awful in both those games and has failed to score any 1st half offensive points. There is plenty of blame to go around and here is how I see it shaking out for the Redskins.

*Note: the purpose of this post is not to pile on, but rather to address areas of concern so they can hopefully be fixed.

Defense: Amount of blame 40%


-The Redskins are short-handed here as S Phillip Thomas, ILB Keenan Robinson and DE Adam Carriker are out with injury, with DE Jarvis Jenkins and OLB Rob Jackson are out due to suspension. S Brandon Meriweather has also only managed 25 snaps in two games due to injury as well. While that sounds like a lot and hurts from a depth stand point, Jarvis Jenkins is the closest thing to a quality starter in that group. The depth factor is an issue since the Redskins have been short staffed at safety, and are relying on inferior back-ups along the defensive line.

The loss of these players is hardly the biggest reason why the defense has struggled so bad. Perhaps a bigger part of it is the fact they just aren't a talented group to begin with. Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo are considered among the best at their positions and Barry Cofield and Perry Riley are making names for themselves, but beyond that there are few players who would be really fighting for starting jobs on the majority of teams in the league.


The Redskins have faced two tough defenses, but they've also simply been shredded by them. It's not just that they've given up a lot of yards and points, it's that they've given up the most yards and the 2nd most points through two weeks. The defense is currently on pace to give up over 8,000 yards of offense and almost 570 points, by comparison no team gave up more than 7,050 yards or 475 points last year. What's even scarier is the fact that those numbers could even be worse. If not for the fluke fumble to start the Philly game or the ball being knocked out before touching the pylon before half against Green Bay those numbers would be higher.

The Redskins can't defend the pass, either in coverage or with a consistent pass rush (though they do have 7 sacks). Both teams have ran right over the Redskins to the tune over over 400 yards. Most embarrassing is the fact that the Packers hadn't had a 100 yard rusher in 45 games. Missed tackles and missed assignments are plaguing this team.  Right now this defense doesn't appear capable of stopping anyone.


This hasn't been too good of an area either. Both weeks the Redskins made controversial calls with their inactives, leaving just three safeties active. That has led to cornerback E.J. Biggers playing the majority of SS snaps week one, which quickly turned out to be a recipe for a disaster. Coaches also refused to add safeties or defensive linemen to help replace some of the injured/suspended players, helping leave a situation where the Redskins are relying on a number of guys who just don't seem ready.

On top of the personnel issues the game plan hasn't been great. The team had zero answer to the Eagles hurry-up spread option offense. While they early on had a nice game plan in pressuring Aaron Rodgers, they failed to make adjustments when the Packers did and it cost them.

Offense: Amount of blame 35%


The Redskins aren't missing anyone currently from their projected starting group, though TE Fred Davis appears limited. The lack of talent at RT is becoming an issue, but it's only becoming more prominent because RGIII isn't looking like his normal self and making up for the weaknesses. This is effecting the team across the board.


This has been a big problem area for the Redskins. They have gotten off to two slow starts and it cost them dearly. While their numbers don't look horrible, most of it is garbage time stats. Turnovers have been a big problem with three interceptions, a fumble, a turnover on downs and a safety so far. Griffin is dealing with quite a bit of rust and it is allowing opposing defenses exploit weaknesses in the Redskins offense. The Redskins need to find a way to do a better job on 3rd downs and get points on the board early on when the game is still in the balance.


The coaching has been a big issue so far as the playbook seems very bland and unimaginative. Now part of that is due to the lack of execution, since it is tough to get creative if you can't sustain drives, but another part is this team not having a real identity right now. They aren't putting fear in any opposing defenses, and they are being challenged more.

The other issue with the coaching is they should have been more prepared for RGIII to be limited to start the year. They should be anticipating blocking to handle these various blitzes teams are using, both in their assignments and in upgrading the blocking during the offseason. It was a missed opportunity and it's costing the Redskins right now.

Special Teams: Amount of Blame 25%


The Redskins started the year with the same kicker-punter-long snapper combo they ended last year with. Now with kicker Kai Forbath already missing one game and up in the air going forward, the Redskins have a severe need at kicker. The Redskins are going with rookie RB Chris Thompson for return duties currently. He's got nice potential, but he's pretty raw and we've already seen some minor issues that need fixing soon.


Execution has been horrible across the board. Kai Forbath missed his only attempt week one, and his replacement was way off in his only kick against the Packers. Chris Thompson has struggled with his decision making on returns, while our return and coverage units have committed a number  of penalties. Sav Rocca has struggled with a number of short, line drive kicks that have given opposing offenses good field position.


Poor coaching decisions all-around here. The Redskins got rid of Danny Smith as the Special teams coach, and they aren't seeing any improvements. The discipline with penalties has been a major problem. The decision to re-sign a weaker veteran like Sav Rocca as opposed to going for a young guy in the draft or as a UDFA, made little sense in a tight money year. Going with the inexperienced Chris Thompson is also a move that no only effects the return game, but the entire team since they are going thin at another position to have a return guy only on the active roster.

What do you think? How would you assign the blame among the groups and who is most at fault in each unit?