- Anyone read any good books lately? Thinking about turning this column into a book club...
- The Washington Post’s Thomas Boswell is reporting today that the Redskins have officially lost the city of Washington. Welcome to the party, Tom. As I often say—and will continue saying—I tune in on Sundays and root for my team to win. I entered the game yesterday (from my couch) with the thought that the Redskins had a real chance to leave FedEx Field with a victory over the New York Jets. In the end, all that only left FedEx Field was the
throngdozen or so fans who found the exits early in the third quarter. People are calling it a low point. It is easy for me to argue against that—I have been among the last dozen or so fans inside FedEx during a game multiple times over the last decade. No, I think people need to really understand that low points are being redefined by the second.
- I suppose Tom Boswell had to wait to be sure before he wrote that, but it has been a thing for quite some time now. Instead of running through that argument again today, I did want to point out a few things happening on the field that are keeping portions of the fanbase on life support in terms of their ability and willingness to continue to watch this team play.
- The Dwayne Haskins Era is in full swing. In terms of physical ability, I continue to like what I see from the rookie. He is a big, strong athlete who can stand in the pocket and deal with some contact. His arm strength is as advertised, as evidenced by throws we have seen him make on the run. He can get the ball to just about any spot on the field, which is great because we have young receivers that can get to those spots. I stay with the positive angle on Haskins’ physical ability because it is really going to matter down the stretch. He is going to take contact. He is going to absorb some hits. What we will find out about is if his mental game is as sturdy as his physical frame. There were pictures and reports yesterday of Haskins engaging with his offensive line on the sideline, which can be portrayed a variety of ways. If he is asking what he can do to help them, that is fine—assuming that the big guys in front of the rookie hear those words as sincere requests for advice. In the middle of a shellacking like the one the Redskins were taking, sometimes tempers flare, and sometimes—SOMETIMES—veteran offensive linemen don’t want to hear from rookie quarterbacks. I didn’t see any of that so we’ll assume Haskins is getting the benefit of the doubt at this point. Between the whistles, Dwayne looked like a rookie. He made some good throws, he made some bad decisions. If you love this team, you are riding the weekly ebbs and flows of learning what this rookie is all about.
- Terry McLaurin continues to demonstrate that a lot of teams made a colossal error by letting him fall to the third round. He beats defenders with speed. He beats defenders with crisp route-running. Best of all, he beats defenders at the finish with great hands and a catch ferocity. He believes the ball belongs to him, and he does so with catch ferocity. I am going to hang onto that term for him. In this pass-happy world we live in, the Redskins have simply not had a young receiver with the chops of Scary Terry. He is fun to root for and he is a source of pride for Redskins fans. No matter the score of these games, if you are giving up your Sunday afternoon to watch this team, Terry McLaurin shows up for you. Staying with the receivers a bit, Kelvin Harmon has also shown some positive signs for the future of our passing game. He is a big target and he looked in rhythm with Haskins on a few routes that the Redskins have struggled at—namely, the quick shots on third down. Now, if he can get just a little better at running that route an additional yard, we will all be a lot happier.
- I can’t come away from the game yesterday and not be happy about getting to see Derrius Guice suited up and performing. The team let Adrian Peterson bang into the Jets defensive line the majority of the game, which we should all be thankful for as Guice doesn’t need to be used as an every down back at this point. I want him to get touches in a variety of ways and just get him back into the flow of things so that he can hit next year, well...running. His 45-yard screen pass touchdown was a glimpse of what we have in #29, and is absolutely reason to be hopeful for 2020, though we need him to stay healthy. That is Guice’s biggest test over the next month and a half. Should he survive the season, my guess is he will have laid down some highlight plays that will become the focus of our offseason discussion in terms of this offense. A healthy Derrius Guice lining up behind a mentally sturdy Dwayne Haskins with a pair of young receivers in Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon makes the Redskins offensive future at least interesting to talk about. It may even allow the front office (whomever that might be) to spend a ton of resources on the line of scrimmage to lead the way next year. At this point, the Redskins add up to WAY LESS than the sum of their parts. Between now and January, I think we can all agree that the Redskins could build up some of those parts. If they are successful in that—and if they don’t lose these players the way they have lost so many fans—the 2020 Redskins could be a vastly different viewing experience. (The irony isn’t lost on me that the Redskins have really not done well on the “building up of their parts” endeavors in recent years.)
The Redskins played...a few...very good...downs of football against the New York Jets.