I'm in favor of the Redskins being a run-heavy team, which at times means conservative. If you commit to the run -- as most fans say they wanted them to do -- then you hammer the ball. My problem is that sometimes on first down, they become too predictable. I've seen play-action passes taken away because the linebackers aren't fooled by fakes and I've seen linebackers cheat forward anticipating the run.
The whole Kirk Cousins-Robert Griffin III saga has become quite draining with unreal accusations being hurled. Here's the deal, folks: No quarterback has played well enough in Washington to make anyone confident they'll be the starter next season. Team officials aren't committing to anyone beyond right now -- the word used around here is "consistency". So that's still what the Redskins are trying to find out: Who is their QB of the future? Therefore, playing Cousins is simply about seeing if he can be that guy -- because they clearly lack faith in the other two for that role -- and if there's any improvement over time.
"People have to understand: You brought in a new general manager, who I happen to think is outstanding," said Banner, now an ESPN analyst, referring to Scot McCloughan, who was granted total control of the Redskins' roster when hired in January. "He clearly is on a multiyear plan to gradually improve the team with a certain specific focus: He's trying to improve the two lines on both sides of the ball. So if you think of the Redskins being in the early innings of a baseball game with a clear plan, then the thought of doing something like switching coaches in the middle of the season wouldn't make any sense in the context of that plan."
One of the more confounding issues this season has been the Redskins' struggles coming out of halftime. They've been outscored 46-3 in the third quarter and, if you include drives that started in the third quarter but ended in the fourth, the disparity jumps to a ridiculous 78-3 (h/t Rich Tandler). Gruden met with his coaches on Wednesday to discuss the issue. "We've had the lead five of six times [at halftime]," Gruden said. "The issue is there and it's been talked about. When we get to halftime against Tampa Bay, hopefully it will be with a lead and we'll make some positive adjustments and guys will come out ready to play." One problem has been turnovers. In fact, five of the team's 11 have been committed in the third quarter.
Pierre Garçon has been a steadying presence in an offense that has been missing key players all season long. He has been targeted fewer than eight times this year just once is on pace to catch 85 passes for 785 yards. The receptions would be the second-most of his career. If the Redskins win today he will be a big part of it, perhaps benefitting from the return of TE Jordan Reed as much as anyone.