The Redskins played better than most people expected week 1 vs the Dolphins losing a tough game at home. Washington looked to be in control of this game in the first half, but they struggled at the end of the first half and throughout the 2nd half allowing the Dolphins to pull ahead. So how did the pundits around the league view the Redskins performance? Unfortunately not too well as the Redskins only made marginal gains in most power rankings.
Here's a breakdown of where some of the top sources ranked the Redskins:
Overall it appears the Redskins moved up 2-3 spots across the board, but that doesn't coincide with the jump that most Redskins fans were hoping for. So why are most sites wary about bumping the Redskins up higher after week 1? Well I can't speak for every site's methodology, but I can give my take on why I only moved the Redskins up slightly.
The biggest reason for me that I only bumped up the Redskins two spots to 28th, is mainly due to the 1 week sample size. The majority of my concerns with the Redskins weren't going to be addressed week 1 unless they completely dominated the Dolphins and won by a wide margin. The Redskins being competitive is a nice improvement from last year, but that doesn't make them a considerably better team. The majority of the Buccaneers losses last season were by 7 points or less, yet that didn't prevent them from picking 1st in the draft (is it too soon to ask for a redo Tampa?). So while there were some other disappointing teams (Vikings for example), they came in looking better on paper so one bad game shouldn't wreck their rankings.
The next area of concern I have for the Redskins is that they were at home whereas a number of other disappointing teams were road teams. Whether it was top teams like the Colts and Seahawks who under-performed or mid/lower tier teams like the Saints/Vikings, for the most part it was road teams that struggled. So although the Redskins played better than expected they weren't exactly great, and managed just 10 points at home. What's going to happen when this team goes on the road.
Finally the biggest concern is that there were a lot of negatives from this game and areas of concern moving forward. The special teams remained a major issue as they not only missed a field goal, but they gave up the crucial punt return for a TD that really gave the game to the Dolphins. The pass coverage struggled throughout the game, both with allowing open receivers and not coming up with the big plays that were gifted to them. Penalties became a major issue and stalled multiple offensive drives, while turnovers remain a serious concern. Now the Dolphins weren't able to capitalize on all the Redskins miscues, but the problems were there which is troubling. Going forward the Redskins might not be so lucky.
One additional thing that I definitely considered, but maybe wasn't as big of a factor for other sites was the loss of WR DeSean Jackson for the next 3-4 weeks. The first 5 weeks of the season are a key area for the Redskins if they want to be even a .500 team, and it's possible that DeSean Jackson has all of one target in that time. That is going to be a tough loss to overcome as the Redskins face some upcoming teams who can definitely move the football and put up points.
Now everything isn't gloom and doom for the Redskins. Kirk Cousins was able to move the ball on drives where penalties didn't put them in a bad situation. The rushing game had one of it's best weeks (vs a good defense mind you) since 2012. Defensively the Redskins showed more of a bend but don't break approach. They missed some opportunities for turnovers, but they did stifle the Dolphins rushing attack.
If the Redskins can build on their positives and start limiting some of the negatives they could string together some wins in a row coming up and not only improve their position in the various Power Rankings, but in the division standings as well.