I don’t like writing off a Redskins season before the month of September ends. The season is a mere fortnight old, and a lot will change between now and December.
Kirk Cousins probably isn’t a $20 million player, but he’s also not John Beck. The defense isn’t a Haslett job, circa 2013, but it’s also not the 2000 Ravens.
The Redskins have the talent both on offense and defense to get back into the mix for the NFC East, but how?
Let’s start with the obvious. They won’t give me the headset and let me call plays, so I’ll offer up the next best thing.
As James Dorsett pointed out, Matt Jones is averaging 4.3 yards per carry this season, 11th in the NFL. The Redskins are in last place in number of running plays called. Nearly 80% of the offensive plays are Kirk Cousins chucking it up. Even teams with quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers don’t do that. Why? It’s stupid. Having a defense know EXACTLY what you’re going to do on 3 out of every 4 plays is like trying to rob a bank with a Super Soaker and calling the cops 20 minutes before you get there.
Matt Jones looks markedly improved this year, and with Kirk not looking sharp, it’s time to change it up.
This should bring the linebackers down around the line and clear out more passing lanes for Kirk. Anything to make him more comfortable. And if the play-action game gets going with DeSean, then the offense can hang with anyone.
The defense will be a little trickier to figure out, since they don’t have the talent that the offensive side of the ball does. But fear not, my many years of watching football from my couch has basically made me an expert. So here’s what you do...
FIRE JOE BARRY!
Okay, that probably won’t happen until January, but until then...
Run a 4-3 front. I think the Shanahan-installed 3-4 defense is in its death throes, and we all see it. We’ve never had the nose tackle or the linebackers to properly run it.
Preston Smith, Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy can all play with their hand in the dirt as defensive ends. Chris Baker, Cullen Jenkins, Ziggy Hood and (insert player from practice squad) don’t inspire a ton of confidence, but they can be effective.
Su’a Cravens should be a full-time starter. He’s clearly the best linebacker on the team already, and it’s not close. Will Compton and Mason Foster are nice stories, but there is a reason one was a promoted practice squad player and the other was available on the street mid-season. I don’t care how “small” he is. Good is good.
Bench Bruton, insert Ihenacho. Bruton is this year’s Jeron Johnson. The savior at safety from a good defense who obviously just didn’t play because he was behind Pro Bowlers.
Activate Kendall Fuller. Why not? He has a 1st round pedigree, and he can’t actually be worse than Phillips.
That’s it. Those are the keys to success for this season. How I’m yet to be hired by the Redskins as the head coach is beyond me, but there is always 2017.