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Looks Like Someone Has a Sixpack of the Mondays

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A win over the Green Bay Packers is nothing to downplay, as the Redskins hit their bye week on a high note.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Happy Victory Monday, y’all! After the last week, I was at least a little bit concerned about being able to write those words again. From the atrocious performance of the team against the Indianapolis Colts to the aftermath associated with low turnout at FedEx Field, it was a long week. In this space last week, we called it the way we saw it. Turd-polishing can and will take place here, but the taste in all of our mouths after that loss was too terrible to go that route. What we did say though, was that the Redskins were not as good as they looked against Arizona, but not as bad as they looked against Indy. With three games under our belt—and with a win over a very respected opponent—it is fair to say that was and is true. In fact, I think we could be inching closer to calling the Indy game a bit of an anomaly, though just thinking about inching closer to that is all I’m prepare to do today.
  2. Anytime you emerge victorious from a game against Aaron Rodgers, you have to call that a big win. I understand the guy is hurt—it is the easiest thing to see and recognize when watching the Packers. If he was unable to help his team win, he wouldn’t have been on the field. Despite the banged up wheel, Rodgers still hurt the Redskins...with his legs. His throws were still accurate, and his decision-making, vision and toughness were all pretty much as you would expect out of a player like that. I won’t belabor this point: we aren’t chalking this win up to a weak opponent, as has been the raging discussion leading into week three. A win over the Green Bay Packers is a big deal for this Redskins team. Period.
  3. I have been standing on my chair since the summer talking about the fun prospect of getting to watch this Redskins defense. Healthy, we knew they would be talented and mean. They have been healthy, and they have been mean. This defense has played well enough for the Redskins to be 3-0, and that is saying something that we haven’t been able to say for a long time. Though we are talking about just a three-game sample size (almost a fifth of a season), the Skins are giving up a hair over 14 points per game, and a hair under 280 yards per game. We’ll see where they go from here, but at this point, it puts the Redskins at or near the top of the league when you want to talk about top defenses right now. What isn’t a surprise is that things are starting up front. Jonathan Allen and Da’Ron Payne are playing as advertised at the point of attack. Allen had two sacks yesterday and Payne added one. Matt Ioannidis had one of the studliest sacks you can get—where you bring down the quarterback while being completely blocked. He took down Rodgers and his blocker, and it was glorious. Many people will note that the Packers were able to get off some runs, and try to pin that on the line, but Greg Manusky told reporters he wasn’t using his secondary to help against the run much (which makes sense when you are playing Aaron Rodgers). A few missed tackles—some of which definitely had to do with the rainy weather—gave the Packers a chance, but overall, the front seven stood extremely tall. In my humble opinion, this team is currently defined by the defense, and I would be shocked if that opinion wasn’t shared by most of you reading this today. Think about that...an offensive-minded guru like Jay Gruden at the helm of a team that through three weeks has taken on the persona of a defensive-minded team.
  4. I will say that I was perplexed by the manner in which Green Bay seemed to commit mistakes at the exact wrong moments. Not upset, mind you, but perplexed. If I’m being completely honest, some of the drops I saw (especially from Randall Cobb and Lance Hendricks) are the kinds of drops I have seen the Redskins make in the past. Doing exactly what it takes to lose was our calling card for a...while. This is another great development for the burgundy and gold. Against a good opponent, it was the opponent and not the Redskins committing the kinds of mistakes that prevent you from winning. I think the Green Bay offense knew its margin of error was slim, and I think they played a little bit tight and scared as a result. There is almost no other explanation for the frequency with which the Packers committed their most costly errors, since I am not currently entertaining any narrative that suggests the Packers and the Cardinals are in the same kind of sinking boat. #QuietCompetence
  5. Welcome to the party, Paul Richardson! For those of us who both called for and celebrated his signing, the long ball touchdown to get the day started was amazing. Without trying to compare him to other players that have similar roles, Richardson showed speed, control and playmaking ability on that play. He adjusted to the ball in the air and had the good sense to find the end zone. He drew some pass interference and he drew the attention of the safeties, both of which set up the offense for success all day long. We know that Alex Smith can and will throw the deep ball, and we have seen what that looks like with Tyreek Hill running go routes. Richardson appears to be capable of stretching the field, but I fully expect to see Jay Gruden begin to use Richardson in even more ways than just a lid-remover. There are some cool ways this offense can evolve if and when defenses start to really take Richardson seriously. We saw a little of that with Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder yesterday. Once the targets start getting distributed far and wide, perhaps...perhaps...perhaps even Josh Doctson will get in on the action. (I am going to hold out on this one, guys. I am not ready to use the “b” word yet, though yesterday’s goose egg looks pretty bad for Doc. Since the Redskins won, and the passing game was efficient, I don’t feel compelled to pile on Josh today, but we are going to need more than broken up fade patterns from #18 before this season can truly take off.)
  6. The bye week comes early this year, though it feels like this season is already two months long. Does anyone else feel that way? I mean, the first three weeks of the 2018 campaign have absolutely drained me. As far as things to process with the week off, we have plenty: a road conference win, a home conference win, an ugly out-of-conference loss, a response to embarrassment/adversity, a return on a first-round pick investment and the discovery of life left in a 33-year old Hall of Fame-bound running back. That maybe just scratches the surface. On the bye week, I know I will paying attention to the Colts, Packers and Cardinals to try and glean further insight into what exactly our first three weeks truly means on the field. I will be hoping Trent Williams, Morgan Moses and Josh Norman—to name but a few guys—use the down time to heal up for week five and beyond. I’ll be rooting for the Saints, the Titans and the Lions as they face our divisional brethren. Most of us prefer a later bye week, but it wouldn’t be hard to argue for the positives of this early bye for the Washington Redskins and its fans. I think we have seen just enough to shelve the negativity that so easily flowed after the Colts loss. This group of players can compete. They can win. We get thirteen more chances to prove it. Take a deep breath, y’all. The home stretch is going to be quite a ride!