- We’ve had quite a little run of Victory Mondays. I am not used to those kinds of winning streaks in the first half of the season. For a minute or two, I thought we would get five in a row, but it wasn’t to be. For the second week in a row, I had the privilege of watching a good portion of the game with an all-time great receiver. Last week, it was Harold Carmichael, and though I despise the Eagles, I give him his due. This week, it was one of our greats, Santana Moss (third all-time in receptions for the Skins, and fourth all-time in receiving yards I believe). A common theme I noticed: both of these guys still care...a lot. As the final whistle sounded, Santana Moss wondered aloud if the losses hurt more when he was a player or if he was in more pain having been a powerless viewer.
- On Redskins Talk after the game (on CSN and hosted by our good friend Sebastian Salazar), I suggested we embrace the pain. What I meant by this is that at 4-3, this Redskins team is very much in the thick of things. A loss like the one we took yesterday hurts a little bit more because we are already fighting for postseason consideration, as opposed to fighting just to gather a few wins amidst whatever circus happens to be in town. So many times before, we have found ourselves in week six or seven already numb to the pain of such losses. There’s a part of me that is excited it actually does hurt this bad. (The rest of me hates that part.) UPDATE: I have added the video to the bottom of the page.
- Listen, this was not a dismantling in the same vein as the Pittsburgh loss. It was an ugly affair, but a winnable one. The mistakes made that ultimately cost the Redskins the game are correctable. Of course, it remains to be seen if the team can correct these errors, but the situation is still preferable to one in which massive, unfixable flaws are revealed. There are a lot of things that went right for the Redskins yesterday. In fact, you might say we lost in spite of those things (you might because it would be the right thing to say). Our offense still controlled the ball and moved it up and down the field. Our defense played well enough to be on the winning side. At the end of the day, we ran into a quarterback that is capable of putting his team on his back and carrying them across the goal line...and we STILL had a chance. I understand today isn’t the day to pump sunshine, but for all of our warts, this Redskins squad has the look of a team capable of staying alive into December. Keep in mind, when we have made postseason noise in recent seasons, it has been because of strong December play.
- Instead of focusing only on the loss, I wanted to focus on something I have been saying on The Audible that has become more and more of a thing. The Washington Redskins offense goes through Chris Thompson right now. This has been true for at least a few weeks, and is not necessarily due to anything other than the fact that Thompson has a unique skill set and Jay Gruden’s offense is positioned to utilize it. Chris is slightly smaller than the running back Gruden had in Cincinnati—Gio Bernard—but he seems to be filling a similar role. He has led the team in touches in multiple games now, and he is doing it in a variety of ways (inside runs, sweeps, screens, outside passes, etc.). You could see the Lions keying on him on that last drive, which allowed Kirk Cousins to pull the ball back and run for 19 yards and what should have been the decisive score.
- The emergence of Thompson comes at an opportune time, given the fumbling issues Matt Jones continues to have. As I alluded to above, Thompson’s role in this offense is not due to Matt Jones’ shortcomings (I think Gruden would be using Chris no matter what), but you can reasonably predict an even increased role for #25 going forward. I asked Santana how many coaches in the league did he think would bench a guy like Jones for at least a game for the kinds of errors he has made, and he indicated there were definitely a few. In fact, he suggested that a certain hoodie-wearing coach would probably cut him. I don’t think that’s where we are with our franchise. As much as those fumbles cost us yesterday, I don’t think the Redskins can afford to cut a guy with the overall physical skill set that Jones possesses. He is a big, fast, athletic running back on a rookie deal. His affordability may still outweigh his liability...but I will readily admit this is a fluid calculation. (Insert your Alfred Morris comment here.)
- We are coming off a loss for the first time in about a month, and I like the way we are being forced to look in the mirror here. I do expect a change or two in our lineup when we take the field in London this Sunday. Maybe that means Robert Kelley (or Chris Thompson) is out there with the starters. Maybe it means Rashad Ross is going to see reps that Ryan Grant would have otherwise received (his illegal formation penalty was and is inexcusable). I love that the Redskins are leaving the country this week. In addition to watering down the home field advantage the Bengals would otherwise hold, it is a perfect time to adopt the “us vs. the world” mentality. Across the pond, the Redskins can very easily close their ranks and use the sting of a heart-breaking loss to catapult them to victory over a Cincy team that is coming off of a ho-hum win against Cleveland. Make no mistake about it: the Bengals can win this game (they are already favored), but they would be ill-served if they looked past Washington.
Sebastian Salazar will be joining us on The Audible this week, so please send in your questions and comments for us to chew on in the basement studio tomorrow night. Shoot them over to @ItsRainingKen, and as always, thank you!