The Redskins are going downhill fast following their 5-2 start to the season. In a year that was big for head coach Jay Gruden and the Redskins, his team’s three-game slide is a significant, possibly tenure-defining synopsis of his time in Washington. Since 2014, in November through January, the Redskins have a record of 16-24. That is a 40 percent win percentage, including a 1-4 start to this year’s two-month stretch. Back to the Eagles 28-13 defeat, it marks another inept performance by Washington on both sides of the football and also marks another year where Washington loses its grip on a very attainable playoff seed. Here is what we learned from the Monday Night Loss.
Regression is the keyword during the Redskins slide, and key players are experiencing it.
It has been evident for some time now; a five-week sample, in the middle of the season, has provided enough to confirm there is a regression from players and coaches. The Redskins defense is averaging 430 yards per game allowed since their home loss against the Atlanta Falcons. In comparison, The Cincinnati Bengals are ranked 32nd in the NFL in yards per game defensively, with 430 yards per game. The most significant loss to the Redskins defense this year has been Quinton Dunbar, but to what extent did he improve the defense when he was healthy? Did he make this much of a difference? The answer is no. The Redskins across the board have struggled mightily over the past few weeks. This struggle includes leaders like D.J. Swearinger, who has had a lot to say about the fan base, his coaches, and his teammates too.
Swearinger is not the only one struggling though, Mason Foster continues to be exploited by opposing coaches, and that is where coaching comes into the equation. The Redskins coaching staff has struggled to adjust and counter-attack opposing coaches on both sides of the football. Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky has seemingly made the hiding of Mason Foster impossible to do, which it should not be hard at all through sub packages. On offense, Jay Gruden has struggled to adapt to the personnel he has at the skill positions, which is hindering any type of production on that side of the ball. The most damning stat of the loss against the Eagles was Adrian Peterson’s performance. This was only the second time in NFL history that a running back had a 90-yard run and finished with less than 100 yards in the football game. Peterson finished with 98 yards on the night, and the Redskins only scored 13 points. A team that was barely averaging 20 points per game before quarterback Alex Smith’s injury is now averaging only 17 points per game in the past five games. Now, down to their third quarterback on the season, the word “playoffs” seems like a fantasy more than a reality. With the team struggling in all phases of the game, coaches to players, where can anyone see the turnaround start?
Adrian Peterson’s production continues to impress, and at this point, is probably the only thing fans look forward to week-to-week
The Redskins offense has lost just so, so many key players due to injury. These injuries have been extremely unfortunate for the team to continue to experience such a drastic hit to their players vital to any championship hopes over the past two seasons. The 33-year old running back Adrian Peterson has been the lone consistent bright spot of the offense this year. He has proven a lot of people wrong about him not being able to play at a high level at his age and has possibly earned himself a year extension if he wants to be here. Peterson, with four games left, has 856 yards on the year and seven touchdowns. What a great comeback season for Peterson, who struggled last year trying to find his way on the field.
Regardless of how it happened, the quarterback carousel found its way back to D.C., and with the way it occurred may result in it lingering well into the 2019 off-season.
Look, I am not one to believe in “curses”, but how unfortunate is it to lose two of the quarterbacks believed to stabilize the position to broken legs in the same season, two weeks apart from each other. As free agent quarterback Mark Sanchez takes over for the rest of the season, the off-season will come with hours upon hours of quarterback possibilities. Alex Smith’s recovery will take time, and even with Colt McCoy expected to return sooner than Smith, a young quarterback that can be developed or even possibly ready for the start of 2019 needs to be in play. Since 2010, there has been four different occasions in which those invested in the Redskins thought the quarterback issues have stopped in Washington. Donovan McNabb, Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, and Alex Smith (by no particular fault of their own) failed to change the direction of this franchise. So, here we are again, discussing the 2019 quarterback prospects.